Stages apply to tales, sagas, and even lives (see “Body”), but they make more sense if we explain the stages of a tale first.
A tale has four stages:
In a tale, we advance from one stage to the next with the ritual phrase “So the story goes.” Each stage brings with it a different cyclic principle which shapes the direction of the story during that stage. The movement from stage to stage offers the general shape and structure to the tale as a whole.
#Stages of a saga
In the ongoing saga of a community, you can form an extended arc with these same stages. Come up with a looming question for the community that will introduce our saga. Don’t try to plan out everything that will happen, but do think of things big and broad enough to occupy us across many tales. So long as this looming question remains, we remain in the introduction stage of the saga. This means that even as the tales within it progress to the development stage, the contrast stage, and the resolution stage, the saga remains in the introduction stage, meaning that the introduction stage’s cyclic principle, “Draw lines,” remains in play throughout the entirety of each tale. This can mean having more than one cyclic principle in play at once.
Only when you’ve completed one stage of the saga should you start coming up with the looming question that will define the next. These looming questions will define a stage of the saga, so make sure they reinforce the cyclic principle for the stage they represent. For example, all of the possible answers to a looming question used for the introduction stage should result in some set of lines drawn, some sort of divisions emerging.
#Stages of life
Your age also puts you in a particular stage of life, which uses the same stages as tales and sagas.
This means that a child always has “Draw lines” in play, able to make distinctions and cause trouble at any time. An elder, on the other hand, always has “Weave a wide web of relationships,” giving hen the ability to connect things at any time — as well as the notable power to answer a looming question at any time.
Use these cyclic principles narrowly. For example, don’t draw lines simply because a child appears in the scene. Use it only as the direct consequence of a child’s words or actions.