Driving on the interstate yesterday I heard on the radio that a
new TV show, premiering in October, has quite the creative
plot line. Called “Grimm,” it’s a “fantasy/mystery/crime drama”
set in Portland, Oregon. Now.
The series kicker is that the main character, Nick, a homicide
detective, has a direct link to the ogres, monsters and worse in Grimm’s fairy tales who are alive and masquerading in present day. And committing crimes in Portland.
He can literally see them for what they are. He’s the last of a line of hunters called “Grimms,” who have a kind of fairy-tale second sight.
I’m sure lots of people will tune in.
To see how present day Grimm’s monsters and other scary beings hold up in the 21st century.
An Index of Tales of All Sorts
Funny they should mention that TV show because the topic of today’s post is something called “The Motif-Index of Folk-Literature.”
Compiled into 6 volumes by folklorist Stith Thompson in the 1930s (I love that name, Stith), the index literally classifies the motifs (or symbolic elements) of 2500 folk tales known at that point in time from around the world.
So why should that be of interest to you? Today?
Why should you care that there are classifications of Animal Tales, Fairy Tales, Religious Tales, Tales of the Stupid Ogre (and more) with sub-classifications ranging from The Clever Fox or Other Animal (number 220.127.116.11) to Partnership Between Man and Ogre (number 4.5.2)?
And that there are literally hundreds more classifications with examples of stories and where each was found?
I wanted to let you in on that for a couple reasons.
First, so you know that Story is a viable topic, of interest to grown men (and women). A topic much-studied.
Second, so you know there are no new stories in the world—so to speak. Stith and his predecessor, folklorist Antti Aarne from Finland(!) who began the project, catalogued these stories from everywhere because they realized that the same motifs were cropping up in them over and over.
How does that relate to you?
Just know you’re lucky
In Story Marketing there are nowhere near 2500 different tales. The truth is, there are as many different tales as there are people and businesses. But they can be classified into just a few main topic areas.
The Founder Story, The Location Story, The Customer Story, The Employee Story, The History of the Business Story.
So you should NOT be daunted when it comes to finding your story and telling the world about it.
Go for it. Commit to it. In upcoming blog posts and interviews (like the one I did last week with Nick Usborne), I’ll fill you in on topics of Story Marketing.
One more thing
Do you think the creators of “Grimm” knew that Stith Thompson taught high school English in Portland before he became a college professor?
I don’t think so. Oooooo. Creepy.
Tell Us . . .
What do you think? Will YOU watch “Grimm?” Why or why not? Write your answer in the comments below. And forward this link on to your friends!