A Simple Way of Looking at Storytelling

Here’s a simple way of looking at the four basic kinds of stories.

Epic Stories (90% of fiction)

The protagonist digs a hole, but fills it up at the end.

Tragic Stories

The protagonist digs a hole, but is buried in it as we move on.

Ironic Stories

The protagonist digs a hole, ends up stranded at the bottom.

Comic or Romance Stories

The protagonist digs a hole, but gets rescued out of it at the end.

Obviously, much more can be said about these diagrams, and much of it is said on my book How Stories Really Work. But it’s nice to just lay it out in as simple a form as possible.

What you might not have guessed is that the same four pictures apply to marketing a book after it has been written.

Stay tuned.

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