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Seek patterns and connections

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Telling stories > Campbell's Commandments > Seek patterns and connections

Commandment | Discussion | See also

 

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Commandment

Look for patterns; don't get lost in the details. What is needed is not more specialized scholarship, but more interdisciplinary vision. Make connections; break old patterns of parochial thought.

Discussion

Stories are based on the repeating patterns of living that recur and create echoes and ripples as history repeats itself time and again. As we hear or see the stories, we feel the thrill of the familiar, a déja vu that resonates with our own experiences. This familiarity hooks us in and hence carries us into the depths and detail of the individual story.

You can help this process with little hooks such as 'I don't know if you've noticed how...' and then carrying them inwards. Repeating elements of the story creates pattern, even using the same words or hinting at pattern by using repetition words like 'again' and 'likewise'.

When you have drawn your audience into the pattern, you can then break the pattern, creating new realization that things can be different, both shocking and exciting them with possibility.

'Seek patterns and connections' is one of the 'Ten Commandments for Reading Myth' as defined by Joseph Campbell.

See also

Campbell, J. (1972). Myths to Live By, New York: Bantam Books

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