The Coming Age of Story
by James Bonnet
The interest in story is greater now than it has ever been, and -- putting aside the entertainment industry, book publishing, and other major producers of story and their consumers -- people everywhere have begun to realize just how important story is and the key role it was meant to play in our lives.
Heavily funded research projects probing the inner workings of story now exist throughout the world -- in governments, the sciences, universities and the corporate world. And everywhere that interest is growing -- from lawyers trying to convince a jury, psychologists trying to heal their patients, corporations trying to improve their communication skills and sales pitches, preachers trying to save our souls, and secret Pentagon projects that hire top screenwriters to help second-guess terrorist plots. They are all using story to help better understand ourselves and the world we live in. In addition to that, people everywhere, in every walk of life, would like to be able to effectively tell their own story -- who they are, what they do, and why they are destined for a great success.
We are, in fact, entering the age of story, and the time is not far off when knowing what stories actually are and how to create them may well be the most valuable knowledge a person can possess. And in such a world, unbounded opportunities will exist for skilled storymakers and others with a profound knowledge of story and the storymaking art.
The purpose of this and subsequent articles that I will post on Storycon will give professional and beginning writers and filmmakers, novelists, lawyers, psychologists, and corporate executives a complete overview of everything it will be useful to know about story to master the craft and succeed in the coming age of story.
This overview will include the new, higher levels of understanding that are emerging in the world of story concerning the deep, hidden story structures which all great stories have in common. These hidden structures are intimately linked to the source of our creativity, to our evolutionary path, the structures of our psyches, and the underlying psychology of the groups that we form. And these hidden structures are extremely powerful. They are the reason some great stories defy time and remain active and relevant for thousands of years and why others become so charismatic that religions, which attract millions of followers, are formed around them. These new deeper structures make clear where these extraordinary stories get their enormous power and why these hidden structures are the key to understanding some of the great mysteries that are surrounding our lives.