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The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: Stinkberryfairy (
Date: May 24, 2005 03:46AM

What are they? My husband and I have come up with only 5. Journey of Discovery, Bitter Rivalry/Revenge, Triumph of the Underdog, Forbidden Love, and Temptation. Any clues out there?

Re: The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: Anonymous User (165.95.45.---)
Date: May 27, 2005 12:06AM

It seems like the other folks on the fforum are tongue tied.
I am sure someone will be around the the other three.

Wasn't this mentioned in one of Jasper's books?

Lets Google it
Hope this helps:

Persecutor, Suppliant, a Power in Authority

Unfortunates, Threatener, Rescuer

Avenger, Criminal
Vengeance by Family upon Family
Avenging Kinsman, Guilty Kinsman, Relative

Fugitive from Punishment, Pursuer
Victim of Cruelty or Misfortune
Unfortunates, Master or Unlucky Person

Vanquished Power, Victorious Power or Messenger
Tyrant, Conspirator(s)
Daring Enterprise
Bold Leader, Goal, Adversary
Abductor, Abducted, Guardian
Interrogator, Seeker, Problem
Two or more Opposing Parties, Object, maybe an Arbitrator
Familial Hatred
Two Family Members who hate each other
Familial Rivalry
Preferred Kinsman, Rejected Kinsman, Object
Murderous Adultery
Two Adulterers, the Betrayed
Madman, Victim
Fatal Imprudence
Imprudent person, Victim or lost object
Involuntary Crimes of Love
Lover, Beloved, Revealer
Kinsman Kills Unrecognised Kinsman
Killer, Unrecognised Victim, Revealer
Self Sacrifice for an Ideal
Hero, Ideal, Person or Thing Sacrificed
Self Sacrifice for Kindred
Hero, Kinsman, Person or Thing Sacrificed
All Sacrificed for Passion
Lover, Object of Passion, Person or Thing Sacrificed
Sacrifice of Loved Ones
Hero, Beloved Victim, Need for Sacrifice
Rivalry Between Superior and Inferior
Superior, Inferior, Object
Deceived Spouse, Two Adulterers
Crimes of Love
Lover, Beloved, theme of Dissolution
Discovery of Dishonor of a Loved One
Discoverer, Guilty One
Obstacles to Love
Two Lovers, Obstacle
An Enemy Loved
Beloved Enemy, Lover, Hater
An Ambitious Person, Coveted Thing, Adversary
Conflict with a God
Mortal, Immortal
Mistaken Jealousy
Jealous One, Object of Jealousy, Supposed Accomplice, Author of Mistake
Faulty Judgement
Mistaken One, Victim of Mistake, Author of Mistake, Guilty Person
Culprit, Victim, Interrogator
Recovery of a Lost One
Seeker, One Found
Loss of Loved Ones
Kinsman Slain, Kinsman Witness, Executioner

But, I beieve, there are really 7

Every story utilizes one of seven basic plots. They are:

1. Man v (Wo)man

2. Man v Nature

3. Man v Environment

4. Man v Machine

5. Man v The Supernatural

6. Man v Self

7. Man v God

Post Edited (05-27-05 01:15)

Re: The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: WhisperingOpal (
Date: June 23, 2005 01:09AM

Ok, when studying Creative Writing Drama I was taught these basic plots - quest (voyage of discovery), investigation, siege, temptation, revenge, victim and coming of age. Which is... *counts* seven. I spose there's also stream of consciousness. Rare though.

Re: The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: Barefoot Andy (195.188.86.---)
Date: June 23, 2005 11:42AM

Perhaps there are traditionally 7 taught in writing (what Jasper might have picked up on), and then there's another one added, without saying what it is.

Maybe it's "time-travelling literature-journeying detective with none-existant husband vs Oppressive malevolent corporation and family of evil mass murderers with unnatural powers"

But it's quite a rare one, that they don't use much

Turn the silliness to eleven!

Re: The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: June 26, 2005 09:04PM

I was actually taught both of those plot lists in school, but since the second ones (quest etc.) were referred to in Honours English in university I tend to believe it's that one. Not sure about the 7 vs 8 thing though - it was 3 years ago. Since I am actually an English teacher I could check it out were I so inclined. But it's June and I'm not.

Re: The 8 Basic Plots
Posted by: Unbound Element (
Date: February 11, 2006 03:53AM

I do believe the Man v etc are the themes for realism works.
And I think time-travelling literature etc etc etc is more commonly spelled "Voyage of Discovery with elements of revenge"

"You think every book is Voyage of Discovery!"
"It is."

Not to say that I have any better ideas on more plots out there. Rather sobering thought, isn't it? How long until we truly do run out of ideas?

Um? Game?

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