20 Basic Plots


1. QUEST – the plot involves the Protagonist’s search for a
person, place or thing, tangible or intangible (but must be
quantifiable, so think of this as a noun; i.e., immortality).

2. ADVENTURE – this plot involves the Protagonist going in search
of their fortune, and since fortune is never found at home, the
Protagonist goes to search for it somewhere over the rainbow.

3. PURSUIT – this plot literally involves hide-and-seek, one person chasing another.

4. RESCUE – this plot involves the Protagonist searching for
someone or something, usually consisting of three main characters – the
Protagonist, the Victim & the Antagonist.

5. ESCAPE – plot involves a Protagonist confined against their
will who wants to escape (does not include some one trying to escape
their personal demons).

6. REVENGE – retaliation by Protagonist or Antagonist against the other for real or imagined injury.

7. THE RIDDLE – plot involves the Protagonist’s search for clues
to find the hidden meaning of something in question that is deliberately
enigmatic or ambiguous.

8. RIVALRY – plot involves Protagonist competing for same object or goal as another person (their rival).

9. UNDERDOG – plot involves a Protagonist competing for an object
or goal that is at a great disadvantage and is faced with overwhelming

10. TEMPTATION – plot involves a Protagonist that for one reason
or another is induced or persuaded to do something that is unwise, wrong
or immoral.

11. METAMORPHOSIS – this plot involves the physical
characteristics of the Protagonist actually changing from one form to
another (reflecting their inner psychological identity).

12. TRANSFORMATION – plot involves the process of change in the
Protagonist as they journey through a stage of life that moves them from
one significant character state to another.

13. MATURATION – plot involves the Protagonist facing a problem
that is part of growing up, and from dealing with it, emerging into a
state of adulthood (going from innocence to experience).

14. LOVE – plot involves the Protagonist overcoming the obstacles to love that keeps them from consummating (engaging in) true love.

15. FORBIDDEN LOVE – plot involves Protagonist(s) overcoming
obstacles created by social mores and taboos to consummate their
relationship (and sometimes finding it at too high a price to live

16. SACRIFICE – plot involves the Protagonist taking action(s)
that is motivated by a higher purpose (concept) such as love, honor,
charity or for the sake of humanity.

17. DISCOVERY – plot that is the most character-centered of all,
involves the Protagonist having to overcome an upheavel(s) in their
life, and thereby discovering something important (and buried) within
them a better understanding of life (i.e., better appreciation of their
life, a clearer purpose in their life, etc.)

18. WRETCHED EXCESS – plot involves a Protagonist who, either by
choice or by accident, pushes the limits of acceptable behavior to the
extreme and is forced to deal with the consequences (generally deals
with the psychological decline of the character).

19. ASCENSION – rags-to-riches plot deals with the rise (success)
of Protagonist due to a dominating character trait that helps them to

20. DECISION – riches-to-rags plot deals with the fall
(destruction) of Protagonist due to dominating character trait that
eventually destroys their success.

by Pavel Simakov

from Tumblr https://rennemichaels.tumblr.com/post/148998186523


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