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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crafting Corner—What is my type? Part 1


We’ve all heard it…There are no new stories. I guess that is only partially true. There are basic story structures that have stood the test of time. But what we do with these structures is our own.

Like I said on Monday, I just finished reading Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Amazing book! Purchase worthy. He wrote about 10 story types, and knowing what is expected in these types can improve your story.

I wanted to blog about this, but I don’t want to plagiarize Mr. Snyder. So I’m going to give you the story types, but give it my own Angie spin :)

After I started writing this post I realized it would be super long, so I’m going to break it in two and post the second half next Wednesday.

1. The Quest Story: This story type is as old as Greek mythology. Have you read Odysseus? The quest story follows a hero (sometimes with a group of friends or sidekicks). The hero needs something and must go out on a quest to find it.
The Purpose: What you need to remember about a quest story is that the real story is not about what the hero is searching for, but about how the journey changes him and what he learns. If all you focus on is the end result you miss the point.
Examples: Lord of the Rings, Fablehaven, Wizard of Oz

2. The Family Saga: This story type is about groups of people and how they interact with each other. Family can be a bit misleading it can mean: traditional families, military, offices, political groups, religious groups, girlfriends, etc.
The Purpose: Stories of this type tend to explore what is good about “families” and what is dysfunctional. When is it honorable to sacrifice for the group and when is it foolish? Often told from the POV of the new comer, the question is usually, “Who is crazier? Them or me?”
Examples: Little Women, Animal Farm, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

3. The Mystery: Yep, this is pretty self explanatory :) Readers are the detectives. If you are writing a mystery making your MC relatable is important, because the reader mush be able to see themselves in the character.
The Purpose: The mystery is less about “who” did it, but “why?”  It is about readers discovering something about human nature that they didn’t know before.
Examples: Agatha Christy, Dan Brown, Mary Higgins Clark

4. The Underdog: Don’t we all love an underdog? We do! We can see ourselves in them, because haven’t we all felt like we can’t win against the big bad world?
The Purpose: You need a MC to fight against the institution, but you also need some kind of insider to help your MC navigate this uncomfortable world. You don’t need to make things impossible for your MC, but in the end David must beat Goliath.
Examples: The Hunger Games, Flowers of Algernon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

5. The Superhero: Extraordinary guy thrown into an ordinary world. There is a little special in all of us, which is why we love these stories so much.
The Purpose: This story explores the idea that even being special is hard. The hero must deal with the small minds around him that just don’t get it.
Examples: Artemis Fowl, Frankenstein, all Comic Books J

Here is a quick peek at the next five: Monster in the House, Regular Guy Huge Problem, The Love Story, Coming of Age, and Wish Fulfillment. Want to read the post? Click here!

So what type of story have you written? Does your story fall into one of these categories?

-Angie

18 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

I'm a love story kind of girl! :D

Kelley said...

Fraction is a quest, that's for sure :)

The one I'm currently writing is probably more 'coming of age'. No, probably more 'underdog.'

Love this post Angie. Very well done! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love STC. This is a great summary of the different story types. I actually like your explanation better. :D

Theresa said...

I'm with Kyra I'm a love story type of girl :)

Great post, looking forward to the second one.

Gwen said...

I guess my main one is a mix of quest and family.

Jeff Hargett said...

Mix and Match? Multiple Choice? Geez... Mine is primarily a Quest, with dashes of Superhero, Coming of Age and Regular Guy with Huge Problem. I'll get back to work and see if I can't mix in a few more just to make things a little more clear. LOL

Clare said...

These are excellent examples of story types. I would say mine is a mixture of quest and superhero, with perhaps a little love thrown in too.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Um, I guess TGT is superhero, quest, underdog. LOL. This is great, can't wait until next Wednesday.

Cassie Mae said...

Oh I've written all different sorts, lol. Quest for sure, love story... which you'll go over later, and coming of age... again, later, lol.

I'd love to try a mystery, but I'm afraid of scaring myself, lol.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I KNOW I need to read this book. It's been on my TBR list for a year now. Now to actually R it!

Jack said...

Mine is a contemporary love story. Could be a Family Saga, too!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oooo . . . Elana's teaching from his book for Storymaker.

Jessie Humphries said...

I think mine's a mystery. I should know for sure, right? Well, I don't...cuz what are the other ones? I will tell you for sure after Part 2.

Danielle B. said...

Mine is underdog and quest... I think. lol. Great post! I need this book!

Stacy Henrie said...

Love Save the Cat! Being that I write romance, I'd say mine is more like the family saga.

Sarah Pearson said...

Mystery for one - I think my other will come up in your next post :-)

Leigh Covington said...

I think mine is more of a quest story, with possibly a little underdog too it. I also love mystery, although I couldn't write it to save my life!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like stories about families, which is why A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorite books. I don't usually read books with multiple narrators because they can be too confusing, but Betty Smith was able to do it in a way that was very engaging. I also loved that Francie was a bookworm, because that made it easier to relate to her.

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