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How Many Stories Can We Write?

Some Thoughts On Creating

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 9 days ago 3 min read
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I have a fear of repeating myself unnecessarily on Vocal, but sometimes feel that my writing is directed down narrow paths which is at odds with the way that my mind works, which is more tangentially.

In many books and articles I read I see it posited that there are only a limited number of scenarios for stories.

I always want to write something positive, but every story needs some element of jeopardy to make it interesting.

I found this article related to an author I respect as a person as well as loving his books (Stephen King and Terry Pratchett I like as people but don't like much of their writing, though I am in a tiny minority with that)

This is a paragraph taken from it:

Researchers found there are “six core trajectories which form the building blocks of complex narratives”. These are: “rags to riches” (a story that follows a rise in happiness), “tragedy”, or “riches to rags” (one that follows a fall in happiness), “man in a hole” (fall–rise), “Icarus” (rise–fall), “Cinderella” (rise–fall–rise), and “Oedipus” (fall–rise–fall). The most successful – here defined as the most downloaded – types of story, they find, are Cinderella, Oedipus, two sequential man in a hole arcs, and Cinderella with a tragic ending.

So How Many Different Stories Can We Write?

Somebody once said that Bruce Springsteen wrote a novel in the first two lines of his song "Hungry Heart" from "The River"

"Got A Wife And Kids In Baltimore Jack,

I Went Out For A Ride And I Never Came Back"

I am not sure how I can categorise this using the scenarios above. Is leaving his family a Fall-Rise scenario or a Rise-Fall scenario? From those lines, you can extrapolate so much. Was is abusive to his family? Were they abusive to him? Or was it a perfect family but he has met someone else and then leaves his family devastated?

I like the simple idea of the story shape by Vonnegut although the more you look at it , the more complex it becomes.

I would love to have a Rise-Rise scenario though I know many would prefer a Fall-Fall scenario.

Poetry and Children's stories do allow the Rise-Rise in certain instances but when writing for adults it does become more difficult.

A lot of my stories are end-of-days, end-of-things, and complete dystopia scenarios often leaving no hope for those involved. Personally, that is not me, but I find them far easier to write than the Rise scenarios.

Almost all my recent fictions are Rise-Fall or Fall-Fall which shows me to be either lazy or not very original. To paraphrase Vonnegut maybe I am full of it.

I will keep trying to create original and different stories but often I will coincide with other creators.

I tend to write very quickly as planning stories and complete novels seem beyond me. My Sandman and Seagirl series caused me problems because as it develops I have to go back to earlier stories and amend them to ensure that everything flows together.

Overall that is a Fall-Rise followed by Rise-Rise, or that is how I see it, and you can check it out here:


I see a future with a lot of Falls in my stories, but that is because readers do want jeopardy to give them some excitement. Every so often they will want something uplifting, so Fall-Rise and positive poetry are great reads for that.

I would love to be able to write an adult Rise-Rise story that was good enough for my audience and friends and possibly a Vocal Top Story, but that is a Holy Grail that I must keep searching for.

Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope it gives you food for thought.


About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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Comments (10)

  • Canuck Scriber L.Lachapelle Author4 days ago

    Excellent story 👌

  • The Dani Writer8 days ago

    Very interesting piece Mikedred! Even though story plots fall easily within the realm of fiction, there is some applicability throughout genres and it's healthy to ruminate on that. I'm currently 'fictioned-out' at the moment, but will take a deep breath and see where it goes 😉 Great piece of writing!

  • In terms of that rise fall thingy, how would the stories I write be classified? Because I'm not too sure about it

  • L.C. Schäfer9 days ago

    Definitely has given me food for thought, thank you!

  • Christy Munson9 days ago

    I've never thought about my work in these terms. Thanks for the brain food.

  • Ameer Bibi9 days ago

    It is a rise- fall- rise path, man At different times we have different mind to create stories but its ok, this is how you create multiple creations

  • Babs Iverson9 days ago

    Lots to think about and pondwr!!! Love it!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Denelsia Walker9 days ago

    Thank you, Mike, for sharing your insightful article. Your reflections on storytelling trajectories and the challenges of balancing positivity with jeopardy provided valuable insights. We learned about the allure of jeopardy-driven narratives and the desire to create original and uplifting stories, despite the inherent challenges. Your article prompted us to reflect on the complexities of storytelling and the power of narrative to evoke emotions and provoke thought. It was a thought-provoking and enlightening read that left us with a deeper appreciation for the art of storytelling.

  • Gerard DiLeo9 days ago

    Great piece. Should be Top Story.

  • Michelle Liew9 days ago

    Rise-Fall is much what happens to all of us in reality. But you've given us something to think about today!

Mike Singleton - MikeydredWritten by Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

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