Friday, August 3, 2012

64 ~on writing


Photo Credit: Virtual-History
KING ARTHUR: “I have no pride left in me. What I do, now I do for my people and for Camelot. And may they forgive me. This is my last act as your king. Do not be afraid. All things change. I am Arthur of Camelot, and I command you now… all… To fight! Fight like you’ve never fought before! Never surrender! Never surrender! Fight as you never….”
[Arthur is shot by several crossbow bolts]
KING ARTHUR: “Camelot lives!”

Magic Tip: Number 16: Struggle.

                                                      —First Knight, 1995, Jerry Zucker.


Have you ever read the wonderful Russian Folktales? Or Ian Fleming's novels (James Bond)? What about Indiana Jones?

They all have something in common: the same storyline.

Vladimir Propp in his Morphology of the Folktale analyzed the plot components of Russian folktales to identify the narrative elements (functions). Function is therefore the action of a character which defines the meaning of the climax.

The 31-character functions:

1. Absentation: A member of a family leaves the security of the home environment.
2.     Interdiction: An interdiction is addressed to the hero.
3.     Violation of Interdiction: The interdiction is violated.
4.     Reconnaissance. The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance.
5.     Delivery: The villain gains information about the victim.
6.  Trickery: The villain attempts to deceive the victim to take possession of victim or victim’s belongings.
7.     Complicity: Victim taken in by deception, unwittingly helping the enemy.
8.     Villainy or Lack: Villain causes harm/injury to family member.
9.     Mediation: Misfortune or lack is made known.
10. Beginning counter-action: Seeker agrees to, or decides upon counter-action.
11. Departure: Hero leaves home.
12. First function of the donor: Hero is tested, preparing the way for his/her receiving magical agent or helper.
13. Hero’s reaction: Hero reacts to actions of future donor.
14. Receipt of a magical agent: Hero acquires use of a magical agent.
15. Guidance: Hero is transferred, delivered or led to whereabouts of an object of the search.
16. Struggle: Hero and villain join in direct combat.
17. Branding: Hero is branded.
18. Victory: Villain is defeated.
19. Liquidation: Initial misfortune or lack is resolved.
20. Return: Hero returns.
21. Pursuit: Hero is pursued.
22. Rescue: Hero is rescued from pursuit.
23. Unrecognized arrival: Hero unrecognized, arrives home or in another country.
24. Unfounded claims: False hero presents unfounded claims.
25. Difficult task: Difficult task proposed to the hero.
26. Solution: Task is resolved.
27. Recognition: Hero is recognized.
28. Exposure: False hero or villain is exposed.
29. Transfiguration: Hero is given a new appearance.
30. Punishment: Villain is punished.
31. Wedding: Hero marries and ascends the throne.

Magic Tip: Write down the above functions on cards. Shuffle them, pick five, and tell me a folktale!

Enjoy your writing!

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Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

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