The fundamental idea is that stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper, and that the shape of a given society’s stories is at least as interesting as the shape of its pots or spearheads,
Kurt Vonnegut published fourteen novels over a period of fifty years as well as numerous short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. He is best remembered, however, for his three great novels Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions.
What many people don’t know about Kurt Vonnegut is that he was also granted a master’s degree in anthropology by the University of Chicago after he submitted his novel Cat’s Cradle as a thesis.
Kurt Vonnegut was fascinated by the stories societies told, believing unforgettable stories followed a certain ‘shape’.
Below is an infographic showing his take on the ‘shape of stories’.
Do you agree with Kurt Vonnegut? Or do you think he was a better writer than anthropologist? If you’re writing a story, do you recognise Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘shape’? Let me know in the comments below.