Inspiration: Kurt Vonnegut's "Shapes of Stories."

"Somebody gets into trouble, gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get sick of it." Kurt Vonnegut || Inspiration: Kurt Vonnegut's "Shapes of Stories" from the Ellen Smith Writes blog http://www.ellensmithwrites.com/blog/2016/4/27/plotting-inspiration-kurt-vonneguts-shapes-of-stories

Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse-Five, said in his autobiography that his "prettiest contribution to culture" was his rejected master's thesis on the shapes of stories.

Maybe it's because I've always struggled a bit with plotting (or maybe it's because Vonnegut's dry wit is so on point), but "On The Shapes of Stories" seems spot on to me. You can watch it here:

Don't you love that? Since I'm currently knee-deep in writing a trilogy, I thought it would be fun to draw the shapes of the three stories I'm working on:

Shapes of Stories in The Time Wrecker Trilogy by Ellen Smith [graph] || Inspiration: Kurt Vonnegut's "Shapes of Stories" from the Ellen Smith Writes blog http://www.ellensmithwrites.com/blog/2016/4/27/plotting-inspiration-kurt-vonneguts-shapes-of-stories

I like that the story shapes for the first and third books are roughly the same. The second book, as I was hoping it would, has a distinctly different shape from the other two. One of the hard parts about planning this series has been ensuring that the overall story arc for the trilogy has a nice flow to it. After this little exercise, I feel like I'm on the right track!

What do you think of Vonnegut's theory? Have you ever drawn out the "shape" of a story you're working on?