The Four Part Story

This idea came from Sunday morning’s sermon.  The preacher was talking about God’s story in terms of the Creation, the Fall,  Redemption and Restoration, which we all know as the gospel:

God created, the creation fell, our relationship with the creator was broken; we are redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus and we’re restored to the relationship through belief.

Pastor Stewart then went on to say, we each have a creation, fall, redemption and restoration story of our own.  We have a story of our origin, of a time we realised we had fallen or sinned, when we realised we needed a saviour and when our lives were restored, even though each of our testimonies is different.

This got me thinking.

In his essay, ‘ The Religious Meaning of Comedy,’  Nelvin Vos argues that it is comedy that most accurately embodies the Christian message.  He goes on to say the Comic Plot is U- shaped:  descending in to tragedy and rising again to end happily.  He says the upward movement from misery to happiness is essential to the plot.  The Comic hero assimilates into his society, while in Tragedy, the hero is isolated.   (The Christian Imagination, Essays on Literature and the Arts – Leland Ryken, 1981, Baker Book House.  p.241)


I have been involved with the characters of my fantasy novel for five years now, and I thought  What if each of the character had that same four part story also?

It might just work.   Here are some examples:

 

Try them with your own characters and let me know if you think it worked.

Happy Writing,

Raelene

9 comments

  1. Thanks for those examples Raelene. That’s an interesting way of thinking of it. And now I don’t have to watch all the Star Wars movies -LOL I’ll have a go at applying it to Anne of Green Gables. (Spoiler alert for those who haven’t read it).

    Creation – Her parents die when she’s a baby and she is raised by people who treat her like a servant and don’t show her any love (before Marilla and Matthew that is).

    Fall – Gilbert Blythe likes her, but she hits him over the head with her slate because he called her ‘carrots’. She refuses to forgive him in spite of his apologies.

    Redemption – When she hears he’s dying, she realises she’s loved him all along but it might be too late.

    Restoration – After he finds out how much she cares for him, he makes a rapid recovery and they live happily ever ever … eventually.

    Thanks for the analogy.

    • raelene says:

      Thanks Nola. Interesting you chose Anne of Green Gables. I’ve just finished watching ‘Anne with an E’ on Netflix. And must keep in mind that my table is an analogy and that it could break down at any point!

  2. Hi Raelene
    Some interesting thoughts. In many ways the Heroes Journey has this arc. I was recently musing on how many of the biblical characters follow the heroes journey (especially the positive arc), but it also has tragic arcs as well (Saul, Judas).

    My first thought on the Pride and Prejudice arc is that it is really Elizabeth who give Darcy a second chance. Of course both of them have their own arc where they have to deal with their flaws – pride on Darcy’s part, prejudice on Elizabeth’s. And my second thought was that so much occurs between point 2 (Anakim kills the Sand people in rage and revenge) to point 3 (Luke inspires his father to return to the light side). The prequels in fact are a tragic arc of Anakim’s gradual, inexorable pull to the dark side.

    Certainly, worth thinking about 🙂

    • raelene says:

      I’m always interested that Elizabeth decides she likes Darcy AFTER she’s seen his house! There’s a cool video of Ben Kenobi talking with Luke after they first meet, intercut with scenes from the prequels which raises the credibility of those forgotten stories. Downfalls of characters are always interesting, but I prefer redemption.

  3. Jeanette Grant-Thomson says:

    That’s a great idea, Raelene. I think I do that with mine , specially in linger pieces like novels. Must keep it in mind. Thanks for the post.

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