Psychological storytelling is the story of a person’s internal and external journey to get something they want. They are the centre of the story’s universe, and without them, the story wouldn’t exist. You could say these stories look inward.
The vast majority of modern stories are psychological in nature. Hollywood in particular tells almost exclusively psychological stories, mainly because by focusing on one person the story is easier to tell, easier for audiences to get invested in, and has a clear narrative path to follow with a beginning, middle, and end.
Sociological storytelling is the story of a system; specifically, how the system affects the people within it. Systems can be formal or informal. For instance, a family is a system; capitalism is a system; your workplace is a system; the law is a system, etc. Characters existing within the system still have internal motivations, as they do in a psychological story, but external factors are just as important as internal ones, if not more so. You could say these stories look outward.
Sociological stories have many complex characters, deep themes, and extremely detailed worldbuilding, no matter the genre. You need to think A LOT about what you’re writing and why you’re writing it. They’re “hard-mode” storytelling. Nail the basics of psychological storytelling, and then try sociological if you have something to say about the world.
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