According to this article:
There are just SIX plots in every film, book and TV show ever made: Researchers reveal the 'building blocks' of storytelling
...there are only six emotional story arcs used in every film and book. An emotional story arc is like a plot building block that tells the story through emotions. They scanned over 1700 stories and used data-mining to find words that convey positive or negative emotions, indicating story arcs.
I kind of find that hard to believe, but assuming there are only six arcs, let's look into this.
They go on to say that the story arcs are as follows:
They give examples of each, but if you don't know the stories, it won't make sense. 'Rise' means something good is happening, and 'fall' something bad, emotionally. For example, 'steady fall' would be like 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare. It starts out tough and goes down hill the rest of the way until they die in the end. Pretty sad.
The most popular stories follow the 'fall-rise-fall' and 'rise-fall' arcs, according to the article. That means no 'happily ever after,' which leaves out most romances. Why then, are romances selling very well?
According to RWA (Romance Writers of America), 13% of adult fiction sales are romances, yielding about 1.08 billion dollars in sales in 2013. If you go to their source (Nielsen Books and Consumer Tracker), romance and thrillers were the biggest sellers of ebooks. And, according to GalleyCat, 50% of Smashwords Sales Are Romance Titles. Romance is a huge seller. But if it's a HEA (happily ever after), that doesn't fit the '--fall' categories. It should be considered a rise-fall-rise arc for that industry of books.
I'm surprised that rise-fall-rise stories aren't considered to be the most popular. I wonder if they even looked at those books, considering the titles they used seemed to be more of the classics?
Read a romance and bring up the stats. LOL!
Have a great day!