6 types of stories

by Story Man on April 16, 2017

Here’s the TLDR of a recent article in The Atlantic:
AI identified six kinds of story archetypes (narrative arcs of popular storylines / mapping the emotional trajectory of a story):

1. Rags to Riches (rise)

2. Riches to Rags (fall)

3. Man in a Hole (fall then rise)

4. Icarus (rise then fall)

5. Cinderella (rise then fall then rise)

6. Oedipus (fall then rise then fall)

How they came up with these categories:

Based on an idea from Kurt Vonnegut. They mapped “the narrative arc of popular storylines along a simple graph. The X-axis represents the chronology of the story, from beginning to end, while the Y-axis represents the experience of the protagonist, on a spectrum of ill fortune to good fortune.”

He’s discussed the idea in this video:

Here’s an example of what the Cinderella story arc looks like when mapped out this way:


Some of the best storytelling in the world is done by the team at Pixar – and now they’ve released a free online course that you can join to learn the fundamentals of storytelling.

Pixar directors, storytellers and animators are sharing insights on how to craft enchanting stories, how to develop characters and much more.

New modules will be released over the course of the coming weeks and months, but the first module titled “We are storytellers” is already available now.

Check it out here


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