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Body swap

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Body swap

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In body-swap stories people find themselves in the bodies of others, either with two characters swapping bodies or a single person acquiring a different form.

Typical body swaps include adult-child, man-woman, inter-racial and even inter-species. This process typically is facilitated through wish fulfillment, supported by some mystical device, and may include time travel as the person becomes their older self or goes back to a former life.

The first stage after transformation is shock and confusion as the person discovers they are now different. Comedy ensues as they trip over their unfamiliar bodies and try to explain the transformation to disbelieving friends.
Subsequently they settle into the new life and discover the problems and joys of being someone different. Eventually they learn to care and discover deeply about what being that other person is really like.

Having fulfilled the mission, usually of learning and empathy, they eventually return to their own bodies, perhaps relieved and certainly wiser.

Example

Big
Freaky Friday

Vice Versa

Discussion

Body-swap is a literally vicarious experience when a person *becomes someone else. In their learning about that other person the audience also learns (and perhaps also appreciates their own position).

The shock of becoming someone else triggers a change response similar to the Kübler-Ross cycle and sets the stage for emotional ripples as others also find the person strangely different and we find out who are real friends, who take advantage and who back away when a person behaves out of character.

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