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Basic Creative Writing: Story Structure
Transcript of Basic Creative Writing: Story Structure
Conflicts might include:
Human vs. self
Human vs. human
Human vs. nature
Human vs. environment
Human vs. technology (machine)
Human vs. supernatural
Human vs. god
Usually there’s a human involved, but conflict can certainly be animal vs. animal, god vs. god, etc.
The 7 Basic Plots
1) Overcoming the Monster
2) Rags to Riches
3) The Quest
4) Voyage and Return
Overcoming the Monster
The hero/heroes must overcome a dark evil creature/person/entity that has exerted an evil destructive force over a place, persons or people.
Examples: The Silence of the Lambs, Dracula, and Hansel and Gretel.
What is a Story?
It is an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
A defining characteristic of stories is that these usually begin with a conflict.
The central character is seemingly plucked from nothing to greatness where he/she is very often rich and of immense status.
Examples: Aladdin, Cinderella, and Great Expectations
Rags to Riches
The story model revolves around a central protagonist striving to meet an all important, often far-off goal. The hero cannot rest until this task has been completed. Along this journey, the hero will be met with obstacles and forces trying to stop him from achieving his goal.
Examples: The Lord of the Rings and Raiders of the Lost Ark
Voyage and Return
Much like The Quest, this story type is based around a journey. In this plot type, the hero is transported to another world and then back again. On this journey, the protagonist learns things that give him a deeper understanding of himself and the world around him.
Examples: Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver's Travels, Back to the Future, and The Wizard of Oz
In the classic definition of Comedy plots, the characters are thrown into a state of confusion, darkness and bewilderment where resolution can only come when these constricting factors have been played out to their extremes.
Examples: When Harry Met Sally, The Apartment, and Some Like It Hot
The central character is an individual (usually of great status) who goes through a series of actions and decisions that unwittingly brings about their own downfall. This downfall is supposed to provoke feelings of pity and fear in the audience and end in a catharsis or what is sometimes called a “purging” of emotion.
Examples: Hamlet and Oedipus the King
The protagonist is often cast under some dark spell either instigated by himself or an outside force. The hero's liberation can only be achieved through the actions of other good forces. In these story types, the redemptive power of love can be a liberating force. What is striking about the Rebirth story type is that the protagonist's imprisonment is derived from something from within his own psyche.
Examples: A Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast.
Challenge: Combine three of the elements listed below within one basic plot.
- A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
- A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
- Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
- A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
- Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
- An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
- An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
- The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
- A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
- A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.