Friday, 27 January 2017

The Seven Basic Plots To Every Story

Are you worried that your story is so totally awesome and unique you don't even want to breathe a word about your query because someone will take your idea it's just that amazing?

Cool your heels, sister! Chances are your completely original, never-been-seen-before-idea, has already been written.


It's a common belief that every novel is basically a remake and that each story falls into one of seven categories.

1. Tragedy. Where the hero with a fatal flaw meets a tragic end.

2. Comedy. Not necessary a thigh slapping, laugh fest, but always a happy ending, usually of the romantic persuasion.

3. Overcoming the Monster. The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist's homeland.

4. Voyage and Return. The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him or her, returns with experience.

5. Quest. Ah yes, it is the journey and not the destination that propels the plot forward.

6. Rags to Riches. The poor protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all and gaining it back upon growing as a person.

7. Rebirth. This is where the main character has an epiphany and discovers a new meaning of living.

But why do we keep writing the same stories over again?

Probably for the same reason musicians keep writing songs with the same notes that Bach and Beethoven used. And the same reason fashion designers come out with new ways to wear pants and jackets each season.

The theme may be the same, but the characters, settings, and dialogue are different. Every story like is a window display, but it's how you dress up the mannequin makes all the difference.

Let's look at the list again. I've put a classic and contemporary novel beside each one to demonstrate how wonderfully different two of the same story can be.

1. Tragedy. Macbeth by Shakespeare. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

2. Comedy. Emma by Jane Austen. When It Happens by Susane Colassanti

3. Overcoming the Monster. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

4. Voyage and Return. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. Reckless by Cornelia Funke

5. Quest. Lord of The Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

6. Rags to Riches. Cinderella by Brothers Grimm. The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

7. Rebirth. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

What theme does your story fall into?
Get any new ideas for your MC?
Will they meet a tragic end or have a happy romantic ending?

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