We Don't Know What the Good News Is and What the Bad News Is

In Shape of Stories, Kurt Vonnegut discusses story arcs as peaks and valleys from good to bad. It reveals that we don’t know enough about real life to judge whether something that happens is a good thing or a bad thing. He uses Hamlet to illustrate—throughout the story each event is neither good nor bad, despite the tragedy (and murder) Hamlet and the world appear no better and no worse.

  • Shape of Stories

    A lecture from Kurt Vonnegut about how to analyze and critique fictional stories. By graphing the plot along two axes, Good to Bad and Beginning to Entropy, you can visualize the story and compare their shapes to other stories. It also shows that stories seldom tell the truth that we don’t know what the good news is and what the bad news is.

  • Type I, Type II Fun

    There are two different kinds of fun. Type I fun is when you are having fun and know you are having fun while doing it. Type II fun is when you are miserable doing it, but in hindsight it was fun.