Six Emotional Arcs?

An academic study in 2016 used computers to assess 1737 fictional works and concluded that they all fell into one of six emotional arcs. These were:

Rags to riches (rise)

Tragedy or riches to rags (fall).

Man in a hole (fall-rise)

Icarus, (rise-fall)

Cinderella (rise-fall-rise)

Oedipus, (fall-rise-fall)

Of these Cinderella, Oedipus and the Man in a hole were the most popular.

When I first read this, I was dubious about its accuracy and doubted that it applied to my own fiction writing. Then I reviewed my work, unpublished and published, and realised that it did. Every story is about conflict which invariably is generated by a character dealing with a rise or a fall. Most of mine are in the Oedipus category. How about yours?

Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction best known for his Jack the Ripper Suspects: The Definitive Guide and Encyclopedia.

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