The Shape of Stories

So in storytelling, all stories can be described into about eight different journeys or, a mix of them.

This is a theory by Kurt Vonnegut. He outlines his idea here. And an infographic on the idea is here.

Applying these to movies, TV shows, and books can be easy. The video of Kurt Vonnegut reminded me of a scene in Back to The Future so I will apply his theory to that particular film Trilogy.

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The first movie fits into the first ‘Man in Hole’ story shape. Marty the main character, gets himself stuck in 1955 and 1955 Doc Brown helps Marty get back to 1985.

The second movie fits into the ‘From Bad to Worse’ story shape, Marty with the help of Doc goes to the future to stop his son going to jail. Marty stops this from happening but triggers old 2015 Biff, going back in time to himself in 1955, creates an alternate worse 1985. Everything gets worse and worse until Marty manages to get back to the original 1985 but loses Doc to 1885 at the end of the second movie.

In the final movie is pretty much mimics “Man in hHole’ but it also has a boy meets girl element when Clara Clayton, Doc’s love interest is introduced. They end up getting the De Lorean pushed by a steam train and then when Marty gets sent back to his own time, the Do Lorean gets run over by a train in 1985. The final scene, we see Doc and Clara return in a steam train time machine.

They are my quick recaps of these stories in relation to Kurt Vonnegut’s ideas.