Mapping Popular Story Plot Lines
Finally! The secret ingredient to writing a good book has been revealed. Plot Lines, the infographic from Delayed Gratification, the slow journalism magazine, shows the dominant themes in last year’s books nominated for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. An interactive, zooming viewer available on the original landing page.
What makes a prize-winning novel? As Julian Barnes wins the Booker Prize, Johanna Kamradt charts the themes of this year’s longlisters. (Illustration by Christian Tate)
If you want to write a hit novel, it pays to stick with the tried-and-true plot lines. DEATH of your characters is clearly the overall winning theme, with every one of the novels listed from 2011 including death as a theme. Other classics like WAR, LOVE, BETRAYAL and CORRUPTION followed closely. Obscure plot points like AN ESCAPED TIGER and HOMICIDAL COWBOY BROTHERS are certainly much more of a risk.
I love this design, and how it takes the multiple, complex story plots from the complicated mix on the left, and converts the chaos into order on the right. Even with all of the crossover lines, you can still pretty easily follow a line across the diagram. It’s fun and engaging for readers to follow the connections, and draws the readers in to look more closely.
Found on visualnews.com