Basic Plots: Vonnegut’s Cinderella

Have you ever written a Cinderella story? Join Staci Troilo for her post today on Story Empire, continuing her “Basic Plots” series. It’s most excellent, and I’m saving this entire series for future reference. Hope you’ll check it out, and will remember to pass it along so others can ponder these basic plots, themselves. Thanks, and thanks to Staci for showing me another way to look at plots. Excellent post! 🙂

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. I’ve been talking about Vonnegut’s five basic plots. So far, I’ve discussed Man in Hole and Boy Meets Girl, which you can find by clicking the links. Today, I’m going to talk about the third plot type, Cinderella.

As I’ve described before, Vonnegut plotted all stories on a grid. The vertical axis was the GI-Axis, and it ran from good fortune to ill fortune. The horizontal axis was the BE-Axis, and it ran from the beginning to the end of the story.


The Cinderella story type is one that should be familiar to you, maybe not as a plot-type, but by the story itself. First, let’s consider the structure. Vonnegut taught us that readers like to follow heroes who start the story above the midpoint of the GI-Axis. But in this case, we break this trend. This particular hero starts below the midpoint. This is someone…

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