1. debra
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    debra New Member

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    Basic Plots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by debra, Aug 11, 2008.

    How can I find out about "the nine basic plots"? I'm trying to write a story and I don't know how to start. :confused:
    Thanks
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    go back and delete the content of the dupe, so no one will post replies...

    as for the basic plots, there are only 3... and they were painted on their authors' cave walls long ago;)... they are:

    man vs man
    man vs god
    man vs self
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The number of basic plotlines/storylines depends on who is doing the counting. But you could start by looking at this thread, What is Plot Creation and Development?.
     
  4. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is only one basic plot. It was discovered through the process of "oversimplification'. Any other number results from work where the supporter did not take his idea to its logical conclusion.


    Mamamaia: Aren't those conflicts rather than plots?
     
  5. Rawiya
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    Rawiya Member

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    I think they are, because that's how I remember being taught them in high school. Plots are more the types of stories, like: monster is terrorizing village, hero saves the day, that sort of thing.

    To answer the OPs question, like Cog said, it depends on who's doing the counting. I did a Google search and came up with this:

    http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html

    This link has the different ideas varying from 1 to 36. Though seven does seem to be a listing of conflicts.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Conflicts are the basis of plot. A plot is not merely a storyline. Conflict drives the events to a climax and a resolution.

    Whenever you think plot you should also think conflict, and vice versa. Identifying the conflict is key to understanding the plot.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i couldn't have said it better, cog... or as well, probably!
     
  8. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but there can be two plots for the same conflict, or two conflicts for the same plot. That's all I was saying.

    As a note, there are more(modifying "conflicts", not "generally") generally accepted conflicts as well.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would propose that plots and conflicts are 1:1. However plots can overlap and complement one another. You might have an external and an internal confict, for example that climax at the same tome, and resolve at nearlythe same time as well. Chances are that the conflicts do not appear simultaneously, though.

    Although the plots interact, for analysis and planning they should be considered separately. One might be stagnating while the other is building rapidly, so you might decide to throw a wrench (complication) into the works for the one that is languishing.
     
  10. fantasywriter
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    fantasywriter Contributing Member

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    In English class last year, I learned that the five basic conflicts were:

    man vs man
    man vs self
    man vs supernatural (or God)
    man vs society
    man vs nature
     
  11. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    don't forget the often added "man vs technology"


    Cogito- I see your reasoning, but I would like to disagree in a friendly manner.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's ok. I could be wrong, or it may be that both viewpoints are equally valid. Can you give me an example? I'm always happy to learn something new.
     
  13. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure it's something that would fit in a short example. To use your point about internal and external conflicts, I would agree that simultaeous resolution does not necessarily mean a single plot, but the line between "two" plots can be quite blurred depeding on how the writer chooses to have the conflicts interact before resolution, especially if a plot involves more than a single character(this last comment only opening me up to points about how two characters might mean just two parallel plots).

    I'll also offer that I may be arguing a surface issue that doesn't affect the pratical analysis or end result. I think both perspectives have merit.
     
  14. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    A lot of answers which don't directly answer the original question... :/

    To the original poster, Google can help you find almost anything. I tried "nine basic plots" but it seems that seven is the number more popularly used, because of a book written on the subject. Rather than direct you to a book you have to buy, I'll direct you to a site on "36 basic plots" which I found long ago.

    http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article255.asp

    See also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Six_Dramatic_Situations (There are more links to the seven and twenty plots here.)

    I just learned that this, too, is based on a book, but it seems more comprehensive. A lot of these, yes, can probably be boiled down to something more basic to result in fewer plots. But that's not what the original post was asking about. I think the writer just wants some plot ideas to build off of for themselves, not a discussion of what makes a real plot. No need to complicate things, a writer will find out soon enough for themselves whether they can build an entire story out of one of these or not.
     
  15. debra
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    debra New Member

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    On one of the sites about plots they have,
    1.Quest
    2.Aventure
    3.Pursuit
    they list 20 of them, I would like to know if I can mix them up and still have the story be coherent?
    Can I move 17. Discovery to # 5 ? and so on?
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    man vs man
    man vs self
    man vs supernatural (or God)
    man vs society [= man vs man]
    man vs nature [= man vs 'god']

    don't forget the often added "man vs technology" [= man vs man (or man vs self, depending on who invents it)]

    so, there are still just 3!
     
  17. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I thought it was something like the 3 basic plots:

    1. Man rides into town, conflict, man rides out of town
    2. Boy mets girl
    3. The quest - Man triumphs over enormous odds
     
  18. Sekken
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    Sekken Member

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    That sounds right....But you should add man vs Alian!:D
     
  19. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Alian"? Is that like... a race of aliases?
     
  20. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    I am going to have to disagree with you mammamaia

    Nature is not "God" in any sense of the word.

    Nature is "Natural" while God is "Supernatural".

    The Odyssey would not be considered Man vs Nature. But Man Vs God and Man vs Man.

    Also technology is it's "own thing" if it becomes self aware. Like for example "Skynet" from Terminator was not following the direction of man or it's creator. It was it's own thing with it's own plan and agenda.

    Thus the category of Man vs Technology. is not the same as Man vs Man. or Man vs God (As technology is not Supernatural).

    Now, if Suppose if you are just looking to crush things down to keep the "Conflicts" to a bare minimal.

    We can do a bit better then 3, I think we can drop it down to 1.

    Since Gods, Aliens, and self aware technology are in foundation is Man.

    While man vs Nature, because there really is not actual opponent, Man is left to their own devices to overcome what is naturally before them, or deal with what they have gotten themselves into. Or more to the point, what someone else put them into.

    As such All things are boiled down to two.

    Man vs Man
    Man vs Self

    Of which every story contains both. But the underlying truth is.

    This All stores are at their root are

    Man vs Man

    As any history, issues and problems, even where the MC is at this moment is caused by society IE:"Man".

    This every problem or conflict was caused by another "man" like abuse and things like that, any other conflict you put in beyond is just a trigger by which man needs to face the effects Man has had upon their life.

    I suppose any writer could use this idea and say.

    There is, and only shall ever be, one plot and one conflict.

    Man vs Man.

    I think that does an injustice to the truth behind plot and story writing.

    Don't you?
     

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