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Disaster stories

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Disaster stories

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Disaster stories tell of terrible events and how people cope with them. A typical format is as follows:

  • Life is normal. Everyday events occur.
  • There are hints of bad things ahead.
  • The hero tries to warn people, but to no avail.
  • Disaster strikes! People panic! People die!!
  • The hero takes charge and saves the day.
  • Things are never the same again.

The disaster in these stories is usually a natural phenomenon such as fire, flood, storms and so on.

Example

Volcano
Twister
Towering Inferno
The Day After Tomorrow

Discussion

Disasters create excitement by playing out our fears of uncontrollable events causing massive disruption. They also create awe as we marvel at the enormous power of nature.

The enormity of the disaster is typically highlighted by contrasting with personal stories of how individual characters handle events. Children often appear, symbolizing the helplessness that adults feel.

Villains in disaster stories are typically either the authorities, who refuse to accept the impending doom, or real criminals who try to take advantage of it. Often, though, the 'villain' is the event itself.

Change stories around disaster can tell of leaders and heroes helping individuals and organizations cope with unexpected and significant events.

See also

 

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