Category: narrative theory

Stories Teach Us How to Be Human

Stories Teach Us How to Be Human

There are stories that have a moral and leave us with a lesson. There are others that engage us because of what they tell. Stories teach us how to be human, in general. It’s a bit like the narrative of the hero’s journey, which captures the growth of the human being throughout his life.

What characteristics of stories strike readers so much that they remain in their memories?

Why Stories Teach Us How to Be Human?

It is difficult to forget a story that has given us an emotion. That emotion is stored inside our brains and returns when needed. When we find ourselves in the same situation or experience a particular moment that reminds us of a particular reading. It is a kind of handhold that helps readers to act similarly to the character whose adventures they have read about.

Stories prepare us for life, and enable us to discover dangers and opportunities. They allow us to safely explore worlds, and present us with fantasized or real worlds. They do it at a distance, while the emotions we experience during the story and even the sensations can be real. We can feel fear, anger, pain, joy, pleasure, trust, courage, love, and many other emotions. Then the story ends, but it lives on within us. It constitutes an experience that, even if fantasized, is part of us.

Psychology in narration

For this, we call psychology to the rescue. Psychologists, in fact, tell us that the need for stories is linked to specific biological entities: neurons. It seems that there are a hundred billion neurons in the adult brain. Each neuron possesses a thousand to ten thousand connections. So, the combination of brain activity is so stratospheric that it exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.

Then there is a particular species of neurons, discovered between the 1980s and 1990s, which are called mirror neurons. These neurons are activated when subjects perform an action and when they see another perform the same or another action. They are frequently used by children who, seeing us, learn by imitation and imitate our gestures and our behavior.
Imitating is a complex action, however, and requires the brain to adopt the person’s point of view in front of us.
And even if we never think about it, emulation is a fundamental activity for evolution.
That’s why stories teach us how to be human. Because they allow us to evolve, grow and learn with them.

Stories During the Centuries

In short, stories, first and foremost those of the great literary novels, but also simpler and more recent stories, really help us live. They make reality sustainable for us because they can be better observed and interpreted in their existential details.

In fact, in order to understand the society of an era, it is very useful for us to read its stories, novels, legends, fairy tales, or whatever.

Some Examples of Stories That Teach Us How to Be Human

A prime example of this narrative theory is ‘The Little Prince‘ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
This is a book that is also offered to children in kindergartens. But read at another time in life, it takes on a different meaning. It is a narrative that leaves readers with a different message depending on the moment in which they read the book.

A second example is the Harry Potter saga by J.K. Rowling. This fantasy tale, divided into seven volumes, has the characteristic of growing together with the reader. The first book has more childlike, disenchanted, joyful traits. As the reading progresses, the narrative becomes more and more complex, dealing with themes that go beyond simple magic, until it becomes almost dark, suitable for a more adult audience.
It is a tale, however, that teaches how to live and deal with various situations in one’s life.

“Story is not the passive experience we perceive it to be. Instead, it is as essential an activator of our internal development as any experience we have in real life. […] Stories teach us through symbolic experiences how to be human.”

Inside Story- Dara Marks

Create a Story That Teaches Something With bibisco

With bibisco and its novel writing software, you can write a story while keeping track of any element. You can start with the plot, make notes on important items to be included in the narrative, focus on the style of the dialogue, and create character sheets for each character.
Any detail relating to the narrative will not be left to chance, but you will have everything under control.

Stories teach us how to be human- bibisco's timeline - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s timeline


Stories tell us how to succeed in realizing a dream, a goal, an experience. They are like promises of change. Every tale has within it the seed of change.
You can discover something about yourself from the stories that attract you.
Once you are more aware of the stories that attract you, you can explore what and how many types of stories there are, and then discover how to use the stories to grow and change.

What are the 12 Jungian archetypes?

What are the 12 Jungian archetypes?

In one of our previous series, we dealt with Campbell’s archetypes. In this article on Narrative Theory, we discuss the 12 Jungian archetypes and facets of the personality that reside within each of us and that show up at different times in our lives.

What are the 12 Jungian archetypes?

Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. While in his studies on personality and the individual, he defined several theories.
According to one of these, each of us is born with a primitive model linked to the unconscious. This model, which derives from thousands of years of experience with mankind, is only a starting point on which to build our personality and character.

What does it mean, ‘archetype‘? In Greek, the word ‘arché‘ means original, while ‘típos‘ means model.

In other words, the archetype is therefore the model on which we interpret the surrounding things, the events, and situations in our lives. It is, in simple terms, the basis of our behavior.

12 Jungian archetypes in narrative theory: why?

What do psychoanalysis and Jungian archetypes have to do with writing a story?
These archetypes can be the basis for defining the characters in a narrative.

Jung defined a total of twelve. Each archetype captures a facet of the personality and includes different strengths and weaknesses. These are equally important for emerging goals (more related to the merits) and fears (directly related to the flaws).

The 12 Jungian archetypes

The Innocent

This is our trusting part that comes from the sense of love that parents pass on to each other. It is characterized by happiness and light-heartedness. A character with this archetype often lives in their own world. Among their faults, however, is that of denying problems to avoid confrontation.

The Explorer

This archetype represents abandonment. The Explorer has developed a strong practical sense and is very independent. However, the Explorer is cynical and distrustful of those around them and fears betrayal.

The Hero

The hero is the archetype of the character who acts as a leader, leads the secondary characters, and often is the story’s protagonist. This part of the personality is strong and courageous. On the other hand, their defect is the desire to appear invincible. This archetype takes any situation as a challenge.

The Caregiver

This model contrasts with that of the Innocent. Its characteristic is generosity and compassion. It is represented by the character who acts as a sidekick to the protagonist. Therefore, without the Caregiver, the main character would not be able to complete their mission. Their defect? It is precisely this excessive altruism that also leads to exploiting others.

The Sage

According to Jung, this archetype has an ancestral value linked to the time when in the tribes, the elders suggested to the young people to listen to the older ones.
The Sage is the character who helps the protagonist by making them aware of what awaits them in the near future. The Sage is a wise figure. Their characteristic is wisdom. Too much caution, however, risks creating immobility and preventing the character from acting. This is their defect.

The Jester

The Jester is a funny character who lightens the narrative and the events that the protagonist has to face. All stories have a character with this archetype. The Jester brings a smile to the reader’s face and is who people usually fall in love with because they are likable. Their strengths are sympathy and joy. Their defect, however, is their inability to take things seriously.

The Magician

This particular archetype is very similar to the Mentor in some ways. Thanks to their inquisitive nature, they know many things and can help the protagonist in the same way as the Mentor.
Unlike the Mentor, however, the Magician tries to convince everyone of their theories. Their defect is the tendency to manipulate people and their dishonesty.

The Ruler

This is the archetype of the leader. The Ruler is a character with charisma, a desire to excel over others, and loves maintaining order and precision. However, this archetype is also very suspicious and incapable of delegating precisely because they like to keep control directly.

The Outlaw

Often, the Outlaw is represented by the main character of the story. They are characterized by strong initiative, independence, and perseverance. This is the one who loves to fight to change things. Likewise, their will to change, if not restrained, can turn into an excessive force that leads to significant consequences for all characters.

The Lover

This is the character who believes in love and fights for love. Love is precisely the force that motivates them and drives them forward in the narrative. The strong point is Lover’s devotion toward the people they care about. However, the Lover loves so much and sometimes is melodramatic, even willing to sacrifice their own life or freedom.

The Creator

The archetype of the Creator is present in the one who creates, who sees a world different from what others see. The Creator is an inventor, someone who creates the narrative. The archetype of the Creator is a non-conformist, motivated by trying to express themself. Creativity is their strength but without great practical skills.

The Everyman

The Everyman is a good character who likes to relate to and be in the company of others. Empathy, support, and realism are the characteristics. However, the Everyman doesn’t believe in themself and, in some extreme situations, prefers to isolate themself rather than feel like a burden.

“Archetypes are typical modes of apperception, and whenever we observe constant and regularly recurring modes of apperception, it means that we are dealing with an archetype, regardless of whether its mythological character is recognised or not.”

Carl Gustav Jung

bibisco can define your character’s archetypes

Defining the archetypes and thus the characters’ personalities in a narrative are far from a simple task. The writing software of bibisco helps you to define your characters and their archetype to create their character. To sum up, their actions will thus be linked to the archetype that is theirs.

bibisco's main character section - What are the 12 Jungian archetypes?
bibisco’s main character section


In conclusion, according to Jung, every personality is conditioned by a primordial pattern of behavior, the archetype. This pattern conditions the behavior of the characters in a narrative.
Each archetype has strengths and weaknesses that lead the character to act differently.

4 Ways to Maintain Story Tension

4 Ways to Maintain Story Tension

When you write a story, the real difficulty is to capture the readers’ attention and keep going with it. In this article on the Narrative Theory, we explain how to maintain the story tension.

What is the story tension?

The story tension is helpful to keep the reader glued to the pages. It is that feeling of involvement that leads the reader to continue reading. When a narration is thrilling and captivating, the reader can’t wait to know how the story ends and is encouraged to go to the last pages. It also has to do with the climax, a tension that builds to a climax.

According to the American writer Jerry B.Jenkins, There are four main ways to maintain the story tension.

1) Create a conflict in which characters are involved

This is the first way to keep up the tension in a narration.

Before you start writing, you should already have an idea of the story, the characters, and what’s going to happen. Creating an event, a conflict, that your characters must overcome is a trick to capture the reader’s attention and keep them engaged.
Over the course of the story, the reader becomes attached to the characters and needs to know how they will overcome and deal with the conflict.
Therefore, the conflict can be an internal difficulty for the character, a breakup with another character in the story, or finally, an external situation. The key thing is that the conflict threatens the main purpose your protagonists are fighting for or someone they care about.

2) Create a various flows of tension

However, creating tension does not mean writing about an event that one after the other causes endless twists and turns. This would have a counterproductive effect on the reader’s attention. It would confuse them and risk boring them with exaggerated suspense.
Instead, the best way is to create a varied flow of tension, with quieter moments and moments of high tension. In this way, there will be moments in the narrative where the readers will hold their breath and others where they can relax.

3) Raise the expectations and the risk

If the character, or characters, managed to deal with all the difficulties right away, it would be hardly believable. Also, the tension would be gone in a very short time. Instead, what keeps it high is seeing the protagonist’s many attempts to get to their goal.
In the narrative, it is also nice that there is a moral: keep trying, even failing, until you reach your goal. So the third way to keep the tension going is to show the path that the characters follow, with victories and failures, until the story’s conclusion.

4) Create some curiosity

The fourth and final way, perhaps the most important way, is to maintain the reader’s curiosity. When you create an event that triggers the feeling of tension, you also need to talk about something that interests the reader and piques their curiosity.

Use bibisco to sort out your ideas

There are four effective ways to maintain tension in a narrative as we’ve listed. However, it is essential to have certain elements in mind, such as the characters, the relationships between them, and the story’s purpose.
bibisco and its innovative book writing software allow you to rearrange the ideas to start writing the story. You can then create the proper focus and maintain the necessary tension to glue your reader to the story.

4 Ways to Maintain Story Tension - bibisco's timeline- bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s timeline


Creating tension in a narrative can be simple once you’ve thought of a story. Maintaining that tension, however, is less straightforward. There are four ways you can use it to do just that and make your story a best seller!