BLOG: The Story Is The Same. The Narration Changes.

“There is no new story.” 

This may sound like a big statement. The same idea over and over? Why would people want to read books and comics if they all told the same story? Any comic enthusiast knows that every creator has a unique style and a unique view of the world. 

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But academics, including author Christopher Booker who wrote “The Seven Basic Plots”, believe that all stories revolve around seven plot structures. While the framework is continuously recycled, the plots are the same. 

  • Overcoming the Monster: Dracula, Beowulf, etc. 
  • Rags to Riches: such as CInderella, for example. 
  • The Quest: as per Lord of the Rings.
  • Voyage and Return: Back to the Future, Odyssey, etc. 
  • Rebirth: Beauty and the Beast
  • Comedy: The Big Lebowski
  • Tragedy: Romeo and Juliet

There is no new idea. So when you’re trying to find a new comic book idea, you may find that most have been told, said, used, touched, read, drawn before. How can you make a known story feel new? 

The Story Is The Same
Photo by Mahdiar Mahmoodi on Unsplash

Consider variant and how they change the meaning of your plot

Booker works on his theory of the seven plots for over 30 years. While it doesn’t mean he is absolutely right, we have to assume that he’s been doing his homework carefully. Therefore, if there is no new plot, how can you make a known story sound exciting again? Introducing a new perspective to the same story can transform its meaning. Take the Wonder Woman variant shared by DC Nation. The illustration depicts a strong body-positive Wonder Woman who looks nothing like the iconic Lynda Carter. But at the same time, the superheroine’s origin implies she comes from an athletic tribe and probably has a tanned body type. Would Wonder Woman’s story feel different if she looked more like Venus Williams than Lynda Carter? There is only one way to know, and that’s to tell her story from a new angle. 

Call interactive storytelling tools to the rescue

Can comics create an interactive narrative? They can allow the reader to take the driving seat and guide the story, introducing gaming choices and preferences. Do you remember the way classic games used to expose their plots? If you’re unsure, why not refresh your memory with a ROM that lets you play PSP games on pc and laptop? A game such as Kingdom Hearts BBS brings the cinematic scenes and action RPG that players wanted. At a comic level, the cinematic aspect can take priority until the reader gets to choose what happens next. You can provide a choice of different paths that deliver the action they choose. Alternatively, you can also use the gaming perceptions of 1st and 3rd person to bring the action RPG sensation into the comic. 

Everyone has an opinion

You can hear the same story told by different people, and it would sound like a wholly different narrative. Storytellers let their beliefs and personalities transform their perception of the story. It could be an exciting exercise of style to explore the complexity of human nature. You can use the comic book to tell the same story, varying illustration styles and scenery to match your characters. 

Stories are the same, yet they are different. We can reduce stories to a limited number of plot structures. However, you can bring new perspectives, narrative tools, or introspective processes to the storytelling. The bottom line: Yes, it’s the same story, but you can tell it differently! 


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