The Nine Basic Plot Types

  1. Overcoming the Monster: in which the hero must venture to the lair of a monster which is threatening the community, destroy it, and escape (often with a treasure).
  2. Rags to Riches: in which someone who seems quite commonplace or downtrodden but has the potential for greatness manages to fulfill that potential.
  3. The Quest: in which the hero embarks on a journey to obtain a great prize that is located far away.
  4. Voyage and Return: in which the hero journeys to a strange world that at first is enchanting and then so threatening the hero finds he must escape and return home to safety.
  5. Comedy: in which a community divided by frustration, selfishness, bitterness, confusion, lack of self-knowledge, lies, etc. must be reunited in love and harmony (often symbolized by marriage).
  6. Tragedy: in which a character falls from prosperity to destruction because of a fatal mistake.
  7. Rebirth: in which a dark power or villain traps the hero in a living death until he/she is freed by another character’s loving act.
  8. Rebellion Against ‘The One’: in which the hero rebels against the all-powerful entity that controls the world until he is forced to surrender to that power.
  9. Mystery: In which an outsider to some horrendous event (such as a murder) tries to discover the truth of what happened.
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