7 Basic Plots (more or less).
Commonly recognized are: person faces nature; person faces person; person faces the environment; person faces machines/technology; person faces self; and person faces a deity/religion/philosophy. Some authorities say there may be as many as 40 basic plots, while others insist only three. Almost all stories fit within these 7 basic forms.
PLOT THEMES. A theme is the guiding idea of a story. Try this: review some favorite movies, books, or stories and identify the theme. Some popular and well-known themes include “love conquers all” (AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER); “family is important” (RV); “the quest” (STAR WARS); “to have friends be a friend”; etc. List your favorite books, movies, & stories. What do they have in common? Why do you like them?
Speaking the Lingo of Literature
• GENRE= a style of writing (i.e., Mystery, Western, Adventure);
• SETTING= Past, present, future; mountains, desert; empty house;
• POINT OF VIEW= How the reader or listener gets their view of the story;
• PLOT = action of a story;
• MYSTERY = story where action is hidden and must be revealed or discovered.