Sociological vs Psychological Storytelling - Deepstash
The Power of Storytelling

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The Power of Storytelling

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Psychological Storytelling

Psychological Storytelling

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.


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Sociological Storytelling

Sociological Storytelling

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.


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How to Write a Sociological Story

How to Write a Sociological Story

  • First, you must start with the system that you can critique(have a strong opinion about).
  • Once you decide on the system and what you want to say about it, create characters who will test the system.
  • Finally, pick a character who will primarily deliver the thesis statement of your story, at least in the beginning.


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Movies And Series That Have Sociological Storytelling

Movies And Series That Have Sociological Storytelling

  • Contagion: The world is not prepared for a pandemic. (system being critiqued: health care/emergency services).
  • Game of Thrones: There’s no such thing as a benevolent dictator. (system being critiqued: government).
  • The Big Short: Capitalism makes people do bad things. (system being critiqued: capitalism).
  • Star Trek: Humanity can accomplish great things if we work together. (system being critiqued: space exploration, as a metaphor for cultural integration).
  • Wall-E: Humanity can overcome the scourge of capitalism if we work together. (system being critiqued: capitalism/consumerism).


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The Bottom Line

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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An alternate way to tell a story.


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