Sundry Story Structures

Today I fell into a Wikipedia-hole. You know how it goes, two wrong clicks and suddenly you’ve spent six hours learning the biographical histories of characters from Super Mario. Thankfully, today was somewhat more productive than that, and I found myself reading about story structure and narrative study. After seeing waaaay too much about ‘acts’ and ‘arcs’ and ‘tension’ and ‘cycles’ I felt like it was time to widen my horizons from Wikipedia and googled ‘story structure’. However, instead of hitting web search I accidentally clicked image search. The results were immediately kinda… enchanting.

As it happens, there are approximately as many ways of diagramming out story structure as there are stories to tell: From the cycles of Joesph Campbell’s monomyth, through spastic looking Venn diagrams and arcs with sub (sub (sub (sub))) cycles, I was left knowing only that I know nothing.

Anyway, In the absence of any real understanding I made a collage to show what I’m talking about. Pictures of stories:

story

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