About this project
Fabula is a tool of 43 cards that you can dispose wherever you want and which helps you analyse, organise and build your stories.
We are Matteo and Andrea, a designer and a narratology expert, and we decided to design a practical instrument for writers and screenwriters based on the theory of the Hero's Journey and the Three Act Structure.
You can place Fabula on walls, tables, floors or any other available surface, with the help of adhesive putty or tape. Each card is like a box to fill, so you can just arm yourself with post-its and a pen, and start inventing!
In each deck you'll find:
- 12 ASSETS cards;
- 19 HERO'S JOURNEY cards;
- 12 EDITING cards:
- a booklet with instructions.
The ASSETS cards are the blue cards in your deck and they help you organise the main ingredients of your story.
They give you the right questions, for example:
- Who's the hero?
- Who are the allies?
- And the enemies?
- What's the concept of the story?
Place the ASSETS cards and build the universe of the story, sticking around them notes, maps, images and whatever comes to your mind!
THE HERO'S JOURNEY CARDS
The Hero's Journey is a pattern that can be found in many different stories. It could be considered as an archetypical path that underlies every story told, first studied by Joseph Campbell ("The hero with a thousand faces") and then applied by Vogler ("The Writer's Journey") to the art of writing screenplays.
There are 15 cards which represent the HERO’S STEPS, the typical steps of the characters. If you think about it you can find them in most movies and books:
- ORDINARY WORLD: the hero is still in his familiar environment – Neo is an unsatisfied hacker looking for an answer;
- CALL TO ACTION: something happens to change the balance – He follows the "white rabbit";
- REFUSAL OF THE CALL: the hero is hesitant – He should climb the roof but he's afraid;
- MEETING THE MENTOR: he meets a mentor who guides him – He sees Morpheus and he's offered the two pills;
- CROSSING THE FIRST THRESHOLD: he finally decides to enter the new world – He chooses the right pill and the real action begins!
Then we have the meeting with ALLIES and ENEMIES, we have TRIALS, the FULFILLMENT of the hero, the ORDEAL in which he gets what he is looking for and the story develops until the RESOLUTION, good or bad.
Although most stories do have just one hero, you will have three CHARACTERS cards. By disposing them on the left you will be able to manage the Hero’s Journey of three different characters.
THE EDITING CARDS
And what If you have lots of characters or you want to play with the time of your story? Think about the movies by Christopher Nolan, for example, or the complexity of novels like Game of Thrones.
The EDITING cards are based on the Three Act Structure and with them you can act like a director who orders the events of your story. It's like a recap focused on the audience:
- Which part of the story should I tell at the beginning?
- Which part of which character is the event that catalyses the whole plot?
- When do I want the audience to reach its most emotional moment?
With Fabula you can basically build every kind of story. From the simplest tales to the most complex movies, from the most profound literature to the episodes of a TV serie.
These are our bibles for Fabula:
- Gérard Genette, Figures of literary discourse, New York: Columbia University Press, 1981
- Joseph Campbell, The hero with a thousand faces, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1972
- Christopher Vogler, The writer’s journey : mythic structure for storytellers and screenwriter’s, Studio City, CA: Wiese, 2008.
- V. Propp, Morphology of the folktale, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1968
It took over six months to study the theory of the Hero's Journey. The books are good but sometimes tricky to apply to an everyday use.
We wanted to translate them into an efficient and practical tool. So we decided to clean up the theory to make it faster and easy to use for everybody.
We chose to develop it in the form of cards because they can be transported easily and they are modular, so you can use them according to the needs of your story. All the Fabula's icons were professionally designed with a simple and effective style to make them modern and recognisable.
We have done user testing for months with writers and screenwriters to make sure our product was really working. The version you see know is the results of several iterations thanks to the great feedbacks we received from our first enthusiastic beta testers.
THE FUTURE DREAMS
If people like Fabula, we'd love to bring the project further developing specific decks:
Andrea Binasco is an expert of narratology and a great lover of literature. After winning several poetry prizes, he decided to devote himself to the teaching of Italian language.
Matteo di Pascale is a writer and designer. He published the novel “La lezione di Milano” and he created “Intùiti Creative Cards”. He is currently working on several projects between Turin and China.