Friday, February 8, 2019

DIY MFA 19 02 08

8. Prompt: What's your favorite story type, and why?

According to The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories by Christopher Booker there are seven story types that have been carried down through the long history of storytelling.

Story Archetypes:
Overcoming the Monster
Rags to Riches
The Quest
Voyage and Return

Booker Also includes:
Rebellion Against 'The One'

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, Bell uses the term Plot Patterns and says that over the years the number has been as high as 36 and as simple as three.

Plot Patterns:
The Quest
The Chase
One Against
One Apart

In DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira, she mentions John Gardner who said there are only two plots in all of literature.

You go on a journey
A stranger comes to town, aka A fish out of water

Pereira goes on to suggest that instead of fitting your story into one of the above categories, concentrate on the power struggle at the heart of your story, "This will force you to put the conflict front and center".

To answer the question, what is my favorite story type?

From the lists above, I would say Rags to Riches, ('Riches' can mean things other  besides money.) I don't think every story can be slotted in to one type, I think many are mash-ups of two or more story types.

Most of my reading is contemporary romance; some historical romance and memoirs. I read some history and literary fiction. These are genres, not story types or plot patterns. A romance is not a Love plot pattern because, according to Bell, a Love plot pattern can end happily, sadly, or tragically. Any of the types and patterns above can contain a love story, but in a Romance the ending is always HEA (happily ever after). A HEA leaves the reader with a feeling of completeness and hope. We can all use hope.

I write in the sub genre of Clean Contemporary Romance and I like to work in a bit of the underdog as either the hero or heroine has to overcome a weakness or deficiency to achieve a goal. The protagonist may or may not have the support of the love interest at the beginning of their journey, but will gain or earn it by the end. I explore how people are attracted to each other, how they realize and adjust to the attraction, how they act on it and how they choose to adjust their life to fit the dynamic of letting another person close.

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