Fictional stories… basic points.

Foster Harris identifies the three basic patterns of a plot.

1: Happy ending:- The Hero makes a sacrifice for the greater good.

2: Unhappy ending:- The Hero shies away from the opportunity of sacrifice and inadvertently causes suffering.

3: Literary plot:- A plot that doesn’t hinge upon decision, but Fate. The Hero follows along a predetermined path and arrives at end, where tragedy usually awaits.

All of these have a different effect on the reader, happy, unhappy and strangely empty as the realisation that control is a mere illusion of life sets in. I agree, that most plot points follow these paths, I suppose that is just the bare basics however, as any number of subplots can take place within a story, each with their own different ending/resolution.

Christopher Booker, a Jungian style analysts wrote a book titled The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories. The book goes into detail about the seven basic plots that almost every story follows.

Overcoming the Monster:- A protagonist is tasked with defeating/overcoming an entity.

Rags to Riches:- The protagonist gains great wealth/power, loses it briefly then regains it once more after acquiring some wisdom

The Quest:- The protagonist learns of a task that only they can complete usually with a band of companions.

Voyage and Return:- Protagonist ends up in a crazy/mad world with it’s own set of rules and ultimately triumphs, returning a different and more maturer individual.

Comedy:- Often involves a romantic plot fraught with funny pitfalls and evident dangers, usually ends with the romance blossoming happily.

Tragedy:- The protagonist is a villain and we watch them spiral into defeat.

Rebirth:- The protagonist is a villain, and is able to redeem his nature with an act of honour that saves the day.

Fictional stories… basic points.

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