Do Stories Have a Universal Shape? – by J.D. Lasica…

on Jane Friedman site:

Do most novels share certain storytelling patterns? More than three decades ago, Kurt Vonnegut toyed with the idea that stories have universal shapes. He suggested that, with few exceptions, the stories of classic and modern literature can be grouped into a handful of archetypes.

And now, a new artificial intelligence that analyzes long-form fiction has validated Vonnegut’s theory.

The idea of universal story archetypes is not a new one—but its corroboration by an A.I. brings a new dimension to the debate. Can most popular fiction really be grouped into these rough frameworks or buckets?

As authors, we have a natural tendency to rebel at the idea that our stories can be pigeonholed or typecast. We resist the notion that our heartbreaking works of staggering genius can be considered anything but wholly original.

But that misses the point of archetypes.

Continue reading HERE


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