Basic Plots

What are they?

A basic plot is a common plot structure that has been used countless times before. It may also be called a standard plot.

Although not universally accepted, a theory exists that says the majority of stories follow one of a limited number of plots.

Overcoming the Monster The protagonist faces an enemy or evil force that threatens the protagonist or his/her way of life.
 Rags to Riches A poor protagonist finds wealth, power and/or a partner. The protagonist risks them all due to poor decisions or bad luck, before growing as an individual and cementing the new rich lifestyle.
 The Quest The protagonist (possibly with companions) goes on a journey to reach a destination or acquire an object. As they travel they must pass through a series of challenges and obstacles.
 Voyage and Return The protagonist goes on a journey to a new location, experiences it, overcomes challenges, and then returns home with greater knowledge.
 Comedy A U-shaped catenary curve: a pleasant beginning, followed by some confusion or trouble, and then a happy ending (note: traditionally comedy does not need to be humorous).
 Tragedy The inverse of comedy, tragedy sees a good character’s story travel downwards until it reaches an unfortunate end. This downward journey is usually catalysed by one character flaw or piece of misfortune.
 Rebirth An event forces the protagonist to change their personality or habits, essentially recreating themselves. This change usually involves the character realising he/she has to become a better person.