Thursday, December 20, 2012

7 Basic Plots

"Everything worth writing has already been written." This is an old saying that will undoubtedly turn out to be only partially true. Many scholars agree that there are only so many plots that can be written. Although the number varies greatly, depending on who you ask, perhaps the most well-known list of plots are the seven types of conflicts.

  • Man vs. Nature
  • Man vs. Man
  • Man vs. Environment
  • Man vs. Machines/Technology
  • Man vs. The Supernatural
  • Man vs. Self
  • Man vs. God/Religion

If this is it, then where do we fit in? Why do we write? Because the beauty lies in the details. The number of different characters that can be written is infinite. And each character will handle the same conflict in an entirely different way.

Each setting that a writer creates challenges these characters in different ways. Unless you go about to consciously copy a novel, it won't be the same as the one before it.

We have to remember that when we write, it's not an exact science. There is the thrill of deciding how to tell the story we want to tell. That's half the fun!

If you truly believe in your story, then it's worth writing. What do you think?


  1. The details are the selling point. I've heard many times are there are only so many plots and all novels follow one of them. I'll keep trying to make my details interesting enough.

    1. Susan: That's right, the details are important to any plot. And as we develop them into how our characters think and feel, they become unique to the story. Good luck!

  2. A flawed imperfect character can make for an interesting read.