The Shape of Stories

I watched a video by Kurt Vonnegut where he describes the shapes of stories. He talks about relativity;the shapes of the curves of what matters and there origins.   He describes storytelling in terms of a graph, a vertical axis with good and ill fortune, and a horizontal axis of beginning and end, starting in the middle of the G/I axis. He then takes a classic storyline, for example boy gets girl, and uses the axis to tell the story. Boy finds something wonderful, curve travels up above G/I axis, something happens curve travels down below G/I axis, evens out, travels up again above G/I axis.

After watching the video it really got me thinking about different books and films I’ve read and watched and seeing if I could find what the classic storyline was within the story. It also got me reflecting back on my previous blog about storytelling, with the introduction of a basic storyline that most stories follow, does this give storytelling a completely different meaning?

I decided to draw my own relativity graph for the film Mean Girls, seeing if it complies with the basic storyline boy meets girl. This is what I thought the story lines follows in terms of the graph; on the left is Kurts graph, on the right is my interpretation.


I also looked online at different stories that I felt were considered a digital story. On Facebook there’s a guy called Brandon who travels around New York City and interviews the inhabitants, taking photos of them as well and then posting their stories on his Facebook page ‘Humans of New York.’ I felt like this is a brilliant example of digital storytelling, using the medium of social networking to share peoples intimate life stories with the world.

I’ve inserted the link below so you can check it out, its definitely worth a read, it takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from sad stories to happy to tragic to inspiring. 

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