The 7 Basic Plots

K.A. Lugo

To understand what the Seven Basic Plots are in fiction, we must first understand what a plot is. For the sake of this discussion, For the sake of this discussion, I'll focus on movies, as I think most of us have seen many of the same ones, but we may not have read the same books.
Consider your favorite movie. Now, strip down everything and ask yourself, in the simplest of terms, what is it about? Let's take a little quiz (answers at the end). Can you guess the movie title by the essence of the story?
Teenagers from feuding families defy family and fate and fall in love.
A cranky San Francisco police inspector, with a big gun, must take down a killer.
Protect the Spice at all costs.
A young man's quest to become a Jedi.
Kill the shark.
Save the hostages in Nakatomi Tower.
A boy wonders what it's like to be a grownup.
Two women seek revenge with Samurai swords.
An alien must find his way home.
Struggling southpaw boxer takes on the world champion.
A plot is the very essence of what a story is about… effectively, a storyline. It will tell you what you can look forward to reading or watching. Now that we understand plots, there are Seven Basic Plots in fiction, but do you know how to spot them?
The Quest/The Journey, aka The Search — In "The Lord of the Rings", Frodo Baggins goes on a quest that takes him through countryside and forest, valleys and mountains, every step battling good and evil, bringing him closer to the possibility of losing his life, and those of his companions. He perseveres to save the world.
Consider the movie "Taken". Ex-Green Beret and CIA operative, Bryan Mills, is forced to come out of retirement when his daughter and her friend are kidnapped while on vacation in France. He slips back into his former life to save them. His training has prepared him to achieve the goal, whatever it takes, and he eliminates anything, and anyone, standing in his way.

Read the entire article in the November 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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