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TV Tropes Monday: Myth Arc


 

Tweet of the Day: Site of Salem Witch Hangings Found 

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The Myth Arc is a story arc that spans several installments in a series if not the entire series.  These types of arcs are common in speculative fiction books as well as anime (Japanese animation) and the manga (Japanese comic books) they are based on. But outside of these, they are rare for several reasons.

The first is that arcs end. Most media companies want open ended IP that they can milk for all their worth. You can’t keep publishing, posting or showing your product after it ends. The second reason is canon. Keeping all the details straight, setting up proper foreshadowing, maintaining pacing and setting up a proper payoff involves a lot of work with no guarantee of reward. The third reason lies with the audience. Audiences tend to want more of the same, the plots, characters and situations. Any change in a series formula risks alienating the core audience and dooming the project.

It is for all these reasons that Status Quo is God. Better give the audience the illusion of change rather than the real change required to move the arc along to a satisfactory conclusion. Better to rehash old plot lines to maintain the formula the audience is familiar with rather than risk them leaving in droves. Better focus on the events of any given installment rather than trying to tie in dozens of events, characters and plot lines.

But if you do manage to create an effective arc, the payoff is priceless.

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