shape of stories

We all love a good story. And one that we seem to like a lot goes like this:

4

If the higher you go up the vertical axis, the better off you are (happier, more money etc), and the horizontal axis represents the passage of time, then a lot of stories in books and movies go a lot like:

  1. main character starts off ok
  2. main character faces bad thing (e.g. monster)
  3. main character defeats it eventually, maybe with some help from friends
  4. main character ends up better than the beginning, having learned some lessons along the way

This is a bit formulaic to me. The story that suits more my style is when a character goes through a steady decline. This is more realistic and close to my heart. Also somewhat more romantic.

4a

What usually happens is that the main character finds out he or she has some illness and it never gets better. Or something like that.

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