More about stories (and how they are shaped)

Some posts ago I talked about my impression on storytelling, making references and resuming a lesson I attended in my master.

I would like to go back to Kurt Vonnegut theorization of a the Shapes of stories.

In this video Kurt Vonnegut explains through simple examples that all stories have a specific structure that can be drawn in a curve that alternate ups and down that create empathy and engage the spectator.

Vonnegut explains his theory thanks to the help of one of the most famous stories of western culture: Cinderella.

Anyway it is funny to apply the shape to other stories. An extremely interesting exercise is the one reported an illustrated by the graphic designer Maya Eilam, that shapes some different stories starting from Vonnegut’ spark.

Far from having Eilam’ graphic skills, I also decided to shape a story, choosing the Sleeping beauty’ tale.


Sleeping beauty story starts with the enormous happiness of a king and queen for the birth of a daughter.

The baby-princess receives a lot of gifts from people and fairies but also a curse from a not-invited wicked fairy. The curse says that before her 16th birthday, the princess will bite herself with a spindle and die.

Anyway one of the good fairy succeeds in mellow the curse and changing it: if the princess bites herself before her 16th birthday she will fall asleep for the next 100 years but could be saved thanks to the kiss of a brave king.

Princess’ life proceeds normally in a kingdom without spindles but one day, the princess meets an old woman showing her a spindle and, since she never saw one before, she tries to touch it and she immediately  falls asleep.

Having great powers of foresight, the good fairy sees that the Princess will awaken when she finds herself alone, so the fairy puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The fairy also summons a forest of trees around the castle, preventing anyone from disturbing the Princess.

A hundred years passes and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the castle until an old man recounts his father’s words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years until a king’s son comes and awakens her. The Prince decides to go and save the princess. He braves the tall trees and enters the castle, he crosses the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the Princess lies asleep on a bed. Struck by the radiant beauty in front of her, he falls on his knees before her and kisses her.

The enchantment comes to an end, the Princess awakens and after few days the two get married.


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