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 mappedĀ “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:

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