Basic Plots: Vonnegut’s Man in Hole

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. I’m back again to talk about story structure (admittedly an obsession of mine).

Love him or hate him, one of the twentieth centuries most influential and prolific authors was Kurt Vonnegut. Though he studied at some of our nation’s finest institutions (including my alma mater), he never studied writing. And when he wrote his thesis for his master’s degree in anthropology at the University of Chicago, it was initially rejected.

Why am I telling you this?

One, to tell you to keep at it. Because years later, his thesis was accepted. Eventually, hard work pays off.

And two, because even though Vonnegut didn’t study writing, he was a master of the craft because he studied people. And you can’t write good fiction without knowing people.

Vonnegut posited there are five basic types of story structures: Man in Hole, Boy Meets Girl, Cinderella, From Bad to Worse…

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