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?