This week I watched a youtube presentation by Kurt Vonnegut where he discusses The Shape of Stories and how there is no reason stories can’t be fed into computers. His point is that stories have common elements such as a scale that has good fortune at the top of the scale and ill fortune at the bottom of the scale. At the center exists most people who’s stories will take us up for tales of good fortune and down for tales of ill fortune. The dramatic events in life that move us beyond that center point are the stories we tell. People want to hear the rags to riches stories reminiscent of Walt Disney’s Cinderella Story.
Last week I posted a blog story about Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s story is not unlike the Cinderella tale. They start out as happy little girls, they suffer the loss of a parent, and then the only parent they have left also becomes absent from their lives. They spend their days trying to be happy and then something happens that changes everything. Cinderella is visited by a fairy Godmother and Elizabeth finds a book of spells that might bring her father back from the grave. Cinderella marries the Prince and lives happily ever after. Elizabeth’s spell works, but instead of him coming back from the grave, Elizabeth joins her beloved father in the grave for all of eternity. Okay so Cinderella’s story is a fairytale and Elizabeth’s is a horror story, but they both have the elements Mr. Vonnegut discusses as The Shape of Stories.