INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

Sometimes a Story is Plural: Use Vonnegut’s Axis to Develop Character Storylines

In case you’re not familiar with Vonnegut’s Axis, it’s a brilliant tool for analyzing stories that have already been written (see Vonnegut’s brilliant exegesis here), but I’ve just found a great way to use it to develop characters during the writing process.

Essentially, the Axis works like this:

G-I Axis (vertical) – Good fortune (wealth, boisterous good health) is up and Ill fortune (sickness, poverty) is down.
B-E (horizontal, left to right) is Beginning to End.

I was using it as a way of mapping out a story I’m developing and I realized that my two protagonists have two different story models! One is living a (Boy) gets (Girl) story – in this case ‘Doctor finds Cure’ – and the other is a Cinderella story (Things are bad and getting worse and he needs saving!).

article-VONNEGUTS AXISbA good reminder that each of your characters might be living a different story – and a great way of mapping when they’re in similar or different frames of mind.

One comment on “Sometimes a Story is Plural: Use Vonnegut’s Axis to Develop Character Storylines

  1. nwayne2014
    May 2, 2015

    Just like real life. I’m living a different story than both of my children. And they’re living a different story from each other.

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2015 by in Creative Process, Story Structure and tagged , , .
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