Writing is many things: a job, a hobby, a personal imperative, an act, an art, a gigantic pain in the arse. But is it a science? The Periodic Table of Storytelling breaks down narrative elements into a familiar form — though one that liberal artsy folks probably haven’t thought about since high school.
Here’s how it works. Each of the elements features a common trope — but these aren’t just your standard stops on the Monomyth journey. I mean, it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure Joseph Campbell never covered Arse (Arse Pulls) — “less than graceful narrative developments” — and Vam (Viewers are Morons), “a common belief among TV executives is that everyone who watches TV has the intellect of Beavis and Butt-Head.”
The table is accompanied by a series of 10 story molecules that highlight popular plots from modern classics. Ghostbusters, for example, is made up of the ol’ Iac (Sealed Evil in a Can), Mad (Mad Scientist), Hil (Hilarity Ensues), and 5ma (Five-Man Band).
Think of it like prompt-bingo, and see if these building blocks can shake your writers’ block. [Periodic Table of Storytelling]