Understanding Genre

Understanding genre is understanding storytelling. Use the resources below to deepen your genre understanding.

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How Stories Save Lives

Moving on to the fourth leaf of our Five Leaf Genre Clover, let’s begin with Archplot, the classic Story structure, sometimes referred to as the “quest” narrative. In summary, it has the following qualities: In a consistent and cause/effect reality like the one we all inhabit in our everyday lives, Archplots feature a single active... Read more »

The Inner War

While the Archplot is the stuff of tent pole action movies and master detective murder mysteries, Miniplot is most often associated with the literary Story culture. See The Autodidact’s Dilemma for more about the literary and commercial cultures in book publishing. The content genres most associated with Miniplot are the Internal ones—Status, Worldview, and Morality.... Read more »

How Stories Claim Lives

If Archplot is the structural backbone of the External Content Genres and Miniplot serves the Internal Content Genres (see Genre’s Five Leaf Clover), what’s the deal with the third structural genre, Antiplot? This is the kind of question a Story nerd like myself loves to noodle. It’s like asking a Pittsburgh Steeler fan to compare... Read more »

Secrets of the Status Genre: Stories About Admiration and Pity

Welcome to the rich world where self-esteem meets external validation, where characters rise gloriously on their own merits or fall ignominiously by their own weaknesses. A world of admiration, joy, catharsis, and pity that you can harness and deliver to your readers. This is the Status Genre. We write better Status stories when we have a... Read more »

Secrets of the Worldview Genre

What if I told you that Worldview stories are crucial to human evolution, vital to our basic survival, part of what makes us human? What if I said there is an invisible mesh-like structure holding almost every story together? And what if I could help you decipher that mesh and unlock your readers’ understanding of... Read more »

Access our free 5-part Story Grid Course. In these lessons, Shawn will walk you step-by-step through the basics of Story Grid and how to get started.