Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's In A Plot ?

How many stories can be told, how many plots are novels made from? According to Christopher Booker’s 2004, The Seven Basic Plots, there are, well seven.

·        The Quest

·        Voyage and Return

·        Rebirth

·        Comedy

·        Tragedy

·        Overcoming the Monster

·        Rags to Riches

Looks good to me, if placing books in large enough categories it looks like everything would fit within Booker’s list.

Ronald B. Tobias identified 20 plots in his 1993 book,

20 Master Plots.

·        Quest

·        Adventure

·        Pursuit

·        Rescue

·        Escape

·        Revenge

·        The Riddle

·        Rivalry

·        Underdog

·        Temptation

·        Metamorphosis

·        Transformation

·        Maturation

·        Love

·        Forbidden Love

·        Sacrifice

·        Discovery

·        Wretched Excess

·        Ascension

·        Dissension.

With this list of 20 seems like most any book should fit, not bad.

This topic, plot, has been talked about and rehashed since the times of the ancient Greek writers. Looks to me like most agree there are only so many plots a novel can follow. The difference then, in a good book from a bad, is story, and how well it is told. Two books may follow the voyage and return plot, but how the story is told makes all the difference.

Seems to me that in the western genre the most used plot lines seem to be, quest, voyage and return, revenge and underdog.

You know what? Doesn’t matter to me, I just like to read a great story, with the possible exception of tragedy. I like to escape in reading not feel depressed. Sorry Shakespeare!
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