Posted on

Three types of story arcs

Three arc types | Harry Potter

Story arcs are the overarching structures that define the progression of a narrative. There are several ways to categorize them, but one common classification involves three main types of story arcs: the “Three-Act Structure,” the “Hero’s Journey,” and the “In Media Res” or “Mid-action” story arc. These arcs offer different approaches to creating engaging and satisfying narratives.

  1. Three-Act Structure:
    • Act 1 (Setup): This is where the characters, setting, and central conflict are introduced. It establishes the status quo and introduces the story’s main characters and their goals or desires.
    • Act 2 (Confrontation): The story’s main conflict intensifies, and characters face obstacles and challenges. Subplots may be introduced, and the characters’ development and growth become evident.
    • Act 3 (Resolution): This is the climax and resolution of the story. The main conflict is addressed, and loose ends are tied up. It often concludes with a satisfying resolution for the characters.

How to use it: The Three-Act Structure provides a clear and easily digestible narrative framework, making it a popular choice for many stories. It helps build tension and allows for character development as the plot unfolds.

Three Act Structure
  1. Hero’s Journey:
    • The Call to Adventure: The hero receives a call to action, often leaving their ordinary world behind.
    • Initiation: The hero faces trials, meets mentors and allies, and ultimately confronts a major challenge or enemy.
    • Return and Transformation: After overcoming the central conflict, the hero returns to their ordinary world, transformed by their experiences.

How to use it: The Hero’s Journey is a powerful and timeless structure that resonates with audiences because it reflects the universal theme of personal growth and transformation. It’s especially useful for epic and fantasy narratives.

Hero’s Journey
  1. In Media Res (Mid-action) Story Arc:
    • Begin in the Middle of the Action: The story starts in the midst of a crucial event or conflict, often without extensive setup or exposition.
    • Flashbacks and Exposition: As the story progresses, it includes flashbacks or exposition to provide context and background information.
    • Resolution: The narrative eventually reaches a satisfying conclusion, often tying back to the initial action.

How to use it: Starting in media res can immediately engage the audience and raise questions, which can drive the narrative forward. It’s particularly effective for stories that benefit from a sense of mystery and intrigue.

All Purpose Guide

In addition to the three main story arcs, other groupings in threes you can explore in storytelling include:

  1. Character Archetypes:
    • The Hero
    • The Mentor
    • The Villain
  2. Narrative Points of View:
    • First Person
    • Second Person
    • Third Person
  3. Conflict Types:
    • Man vs. Self
    • Man vs. Nature
    • Man vs. Society

Video – Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

These storytelling elements can be mixed and matched to create unique and engaging narratives, depending on the type of story you want to tell and the impact you want to have on your audience.

Admin | Bookofthrees
Posted on Leave a comment

Three Is a Magic Number: The Trinity Archetype in Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Christopher Bell
University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Harry Potter
Harry Potter

The significance of the trinity archetype and the number three is recurrent in religions and myths around the world.

Within the trinity archetype, each element is both distinct from and symbiotic with the other elements—that is to say, each stands apart from the others, but none can truly function alone. This can be seen throughout Greek mythology, for example, The Moirae and The Musai, and of course, through the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While the archetype of the trinity appears numerous times throughout the Potter series, at its very heart, the series is centrally focused on a triad of trinities: the Trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermione), the three  Unforgivable Curses, and the three Deathly Hallows. It is the intersection of this triad of trinities—this “supertrinity”—that not only drive the Potter narrative, but connect the work so readily to the psyche of readers and fans; it is how we are harmonically programmed, in terms of understanding stories.