The Adversity Cycle: The Origins of Story – by Stefan Edmunds…

on Anne R. Allen:

I imagine that in the earliest days of storytelling, people took real-life adventures, like raiding a village, surviving a storm, or abducting a woman of another clan, and told the tale at the campfire. Over time, storytellers gilded real-life adventures with dramatic devices and storytelling became an art.

Joseph Campbell analyzed hundreds of stories, extracted dramatic devices, categorized them, and put them in a sequence. That became the Hero’s Journey. But since the Hero’s Journey looks at stories through the lens of art, it does not explain what a story really is, neither does it reveal story dynamics.

If we want to understand what makes stories tick, we need to take a wide step back and examine the origin of storytelling, which is rooted in real life.

Life is a continuous stream of experiences – the experience of good and bad times. Stories are virtual experiences presented in a string of scenes. Not all experiences can turn into stories, stories need adversity. Stories without adversity are just anecdotes. Stories need to be adventures — inspiring struggles with adversity. With this, we arrived at a fresh definition of story:

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