Sunday 29 October 2017

Fiction Workshops 14 The Universal Story

Three people have analysed stories and found a template. Vladimir Propp 1895-1970 analysed folk, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) in his Hero with a Thousand Faces discusses the journey of the archetypal hero in world mythologies. (1949 - ) adapts Campbell's work for use with the film industry. What Vogler suggest is also very helpful for novelists. An important note from Vogler: this works best when it is slightly skewed.
I have found much overlap between the three templates and have produced an amalgamated template:

Campbell, Propp, Vogler amalgamated theory

a. The Ordinary World (V)
b. Call to adventure (V) Hero leaves society (P) 
c. Refusal of the Call (C,V)
d. Meeting with the Mentor (V) Supernatural Aid (C) Meets a stranger (P)
e. Crossing the First Threshold (V)
f. The Belly of the Whale (V), Trials, Allies, Enemies (V), The Road of Trials, Arduous Journey (P) Capture by Strange Warriors (P)
g. The Meeting with the Goddess (C) Protection by ugly girl (P)
h. Woman as temptress (C) Appearance of the Queen, the beloved one (P)
i. The Approach to the Innermost Cave (V) Lovemaking (P)
j. Ordeal (V) 
k. Atonement with the Father
l. Apotheosis ( C )
m. The Ultimate Boon (C), Reward (V), Resolution (P)
n. Refusal of the Return (C)
o. The Magical Flight (V)
p. Rescue from without (C)
q. The Road Back (V)
r. Master of Two Worlds (C) Resurrection (V)
s. Freedom to Live (C) Return with the Elixir (V)
Possibly one does not need not to include each element every time. Also, we may need to skew it a little as Vogler suggests, so that our stories remain fresh. Nevertheless, this can make a useful planning tool

Exercise 1

Find a novel you love and see how well it pins itself to this template

Exercise 2 (for those writing a novel)

Check your plan to see if you have all of these elements.  You may not have, and that may be fine but would it hurt to add the missing ones in? You will probably realise after completing exercise 1 that you can interpret these themes very broadly.  And don't forget to skew them. If you don't plan, skip this exercise and go on to exercise 3.

Exercise 3 (for those writing a novel)

Check your novel against the template. Are there any elements missing? Would your novel benefit from including them? Is there something about your novel that is not working? Is there anything in this template that can help?      


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