So, I assume all of us have heard someone say that there are only 7 main plots in all of literature. I've certainly hear it many times. However, I always wondered what those 7 plots were. I did some research and came up with this...
The 7 main plots in all of literature:
1) [wo]man vs. nature
2) [wo]man vs. man
3) [wo]man vs. the environment
4) [wo]man vs. machines/technology
5) [wo]man vs. the supernatural
6) [wo]man vs. self
7) [wo]man vs. god/religion
In addition to the 7 main plots of literature, I also discovered articles that mention the 7 basic needs of any plot...
The 7 basic needs of any plot:
1) A hero: the person through whose eyes we see the story unfold, set
against a larger background.
2) The hero’s character flaw: a weakness or defense mechanism that
hinders the hero in such a way as to render him/her incomplete.
3) Enabling circumstances: the surroundings the hero is in at the
beginning of the story, which allow the hero to maintain his/her
4) An opponent: someone who opposes the hero in getting or doing what
he/she wants. Not always a villain. For example, in a romantic comedy,
the opponent could be the man or woman whom the hero seeks romance
with. The opponent is the person who instigates the life-changing
5) The hero’s ally: the person who spends the most time with the hero
and who helps the hero overcome his/her character flaw.
6) The life changing event: a challenge, threat or opportunity
usually instigated by the opponent, which forces the hero to respond
in some way that’s related to the hero’s flaw.
7) Jeopardy: the high stakes that the hero must risk to overcome
his/her flaw. These are the dramatic events that lend excitement and
challenge to the quest.
Link to further information: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=210539
I guess the question that begs to be asked is, does this actually apply to all literature? Does this apply to any story you have ever written?
As an exercise, I am going to take my novel "Unclaimed Darkness" and see if I can't identify a main plot and an example of every element from these lists:
"Unclaimed Darkness" by Aubrie Anne
Summary: When solar flares knock out Chicago's electrical grid, Talis Dodson's world falls into darkness. Chaos ensues in the streets as her and her family try to flee the city. But when her mother is murdered, her father goes missing and her brother is kidnapped, Talis is left alone and surrounded by strangers. And when a misfitted organization of thieves offers her a place to stay, she finds herself struggling to not only save her brother, but also differentiate between her enemies and her allies.
Woman vs. The Environment and Man
7 Basic Needs:
1) A hero: Talis Dodson
2) The hero’s character flaw: She won't allow anyone to become close to her. She's deathly stubborn, set on accomplishing her only mission: to find her brother, Jensen.
3) Enabling circumstances: She feels that everyone she is close to is taken from her. The world has literally fallen into darkness and the notrious Border Gang has kidnapped her brother.
4) An opponent: Phineas, the old man who uses children to do his thieving for him, or Valin, the leader of the Border Gang.
5) The hero’s ally: Brenner, her best friend at Phineas' warehouse. Reif, the only person who knows where her brother is.
6) The life-changing event: After arriving late at the warehouse too many times, Phineas eventually kicks Talis out, forcing to her to survive on her own once again.
7) Jeopardy: In order to get her brother back, she must drop her walls, allowing Reif to trust her and vice versa. She also must cut ties to the warehouse, no longer depending on it or its inhabitants to keep her safe.
Wow! Everything does end up fitting pretty nicely into this list of basic plots and elements. I'm curious to see you guys do the same. Tell me how your stories fit the map. This will also be a great way for me to get to know more about what you are writing, if anything.