RESOURCE The Seven Basic Plots

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Arcadia, May 15, 2016.

  1. Within writing, you're bound to have come across the same seven different types of plots within novels. Books like Lord of the Rings, the Illiad, Wuthering Heights, A Christmas Carol, these books all conformed to these seven plot types. And to help you be able to figure out which basic plot you'd like best, I thought I'd compile them into an easy list with examples!


    For this plot, the protagonist of the story sets out to conquer an antagonistic force, which can often fall under the umbrella term of "evil". There is a force that needs to be defeated, and the protagonist is the person tasked to defeat it.

    Examples; The Hunger Games, Star Wars, War of the Worlds


    The protagonist is devoid of something, material or immaterial, but attains and then loses it through the progress of the story, only to achieve what they had lost and become better than they had at the beginning.

    Examples; Aladdin, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Cinderella.


    Through the course of the plot, the protagonist acquires companions and sets out on a plot to find an important object, person or location, facing many temptations and threats along the way.

    Examples; Wizard of Oz, Indiana Jones, One Piece, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


    The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him or her, returns with nothing but experience.

    Examples; Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland, Finding Nemo, Spirited Away, Chronicle of Narnia.


    Comedy is often a happy and joyous plot type, full of lightheartedness and a lack of overall disturbance to the protagonist. However, on the other hand, Comedy can refer to making the conflict within the plot more and more confusing for the players, but is at last made plain in a single event of clarification.

    Examples; Mr Bean, Four Weddings and a Funeral, A Midsummer's Night's Dream.


    The protagonist is a hero with one major character flaw or great mistake which is ultimately their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly and the fall of a fundamentally 'good' character.

    Examples; Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Picture of Dorian Grey.


    During the course of the story, an important event forces the main character to change their ways, often making them a better person.

    Examples; Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince, Despicable Me, Megamind, A Christmas Carol.
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