All good stories have one (or more) plots. A plot is the basic structure or the skeleton of the story and since the beginning of time, different plots have been categorized in order to tell the difference between the types of stories. Most of these stories have a main character (hero, anti-hero, villain, etc.) and describing the plot often relates to this main character.
Are you familiar with “the 7 original stories” ?
Read this post in Danish here >>
I will explain the 7 original stories here, and hopefully, this will give you some insight into the story you’re working on right now or maybe even what kind of plot you think is the most exciting to read or work with. It can be a great place to start, just to have something to guide you, when you’re all caught up in writing.
Winning over the monster
The protagonist (often the main character) needs to win over something antagonistic, which is threatening to destroy something that belongs to the protagonist (main character). Maybe they need to kill an epidemic, fight an enemy or a whole army, or maybe they need to fight the monsters inside themselves, for the plot to reach its final release.
You might not think it, but the cheerleading movies of “Bring it on” could easily be categorized as a “winning over the monster” type story, because the cheerleaders often have to win over someone else and at the same time, win against something in themselves, like prejudice, in order to reach the happy ending (winning a cheerleading competition) with their team.
From rags to riches
Like a classical Cinderella story, this type of plot is about the protagonist developing and going from a little to a lot, from poor to rich, unlucky to lucky etc. The main character will go from having nothing, to suddenly having power, love, wealth, knowledge or something else, until they maybe lose it all again, just to win it back at the last second (or not, it can really go back and forth). Typically, the protagonist needs to ‘learn a lesson’ from this, before they again can be rewarded with what they gained, and lost.
There are different ways of doing this but Cinderella is definitely a great example.
The protagonist (and maybe some friends, ‘teammates’ or strangers with the same goal) set out to get something or find something. During their travels, they meet some obstacles (human, nature, other) to be overcome either individually or together, with and without plot twists.
An obvious example here is Lord of the Rings, where the hobbits set out to find/bring home a magical ring.
Home, out, home – the journey and the return
One of the classics here is the protagonist who leaves the safe (or not so safe) home, to go out into the world and experience a lot (or nothing) and then they return home, changes and with a fresh new look on the things and the life they left behind. They have grown and learnt something, while traveling.
Examples here could be Alice in Wonderland or Pinocchio.
7 different plot types can be a lot to take in, so I’ve made a Part 2 for you (coming soon!) so you can read it, when you’re more familiar with the first few types of stories!
There are a lot of different sources explaining this phenomenon with a limited amount of ‘original plots’ or original stories’ and I’ve collected the most well-known and relevant ones here for you, but I encourage you to do some more research into it, if it has your interest.