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The Magic of Story-Telling p2

The three types of story. Accomplishment, decision and theme…

The third type is the theme story: a person struggles to realize a truth of vital importance to his living. King Midas wishes that everything he touches would turn to gold. He gets his wish. Then he kisses his little daughter and takes a mouthful of hot food. A sad, sorry king learns that gold isn’t everything.

Mr Warne wrote that anytime a character realises that you must look before you leap; or they find that beauty is only skin deep; or they learn that he who hesitates is lost, “there’s a theme story”.

He writes: When you write a theme story make sure that the truth the main character realizes is of vital importance to him. If the lesson is obvious, the audience yawns and says, “So what?”.

There you have the three story types: accomplishment, decision and theme.

Mr Warne wrote that sometimes these story types combine or overlap in a long story. He writes: The musical play My Fair Lady has an accomplishment story and a theme story. In the first story Professor Higgins struggles to present the cockney flower-seller, Eliza Doolittle, as a princess at a society ball. He achieves his purpose. Then the plot focuses on a theme story. Professor Higgins struggles to realise that he can’t live without Eliza. He learns this as he sings ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’. So the play has two stories. The main character struggles to achieve a purpose. Then he struggles to realise a truth of vital importance to his living. The stage show allows him a couple of hours to do all this.  

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