Interesting Fact - Books

According to Matthew Jockers, a University of Nebraska English professor, there are about 6 archetypal plot shapes in fiction.

(Using an algorithm that abstracts the structure of plot by looking at how sentiment changes in a story, resulting in a sort of plot graph, from what he calls the man on a hill story - a mainly positive story in which there is a mid-way peak - to the 'man in a hole' story, which tends to follow a character as they get into trouble and crawl back out again.

People have been looking at this for a long time, probably in an attempt to get computers to write best sellers. In 2004, Christopher Booker published The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, in which he suggested there were 7 types of tales: rags to riches; overcoming the monster; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy, and rebirth.

Way back in the 18th Century, Italian playwright Carlos Gozzi said there were 36 dramatic situations, which included the revolt; the enigma; madness; involuntary crimes of love; self sacrifice, and ambition.

Now we have Mr Jockers saying that 46 per cent of novels are made up of 'man in a hole' style story lines, the most prominent of which is A Potrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, to the 'man on a hill' format, as epitomised in Intensity by Dean Koontz.

What about women?)

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