Story plots and how to get the most from yours.

Time and time again I hear writers saying that some plot idea has been ‘done to death’. This attitude bothers me. Sure, it may seem like that, but if a writer can bring some new twist to an old idea; something that makes it fresh, does that still mean the idea is old or over-done?

Several years back, I stumbled across and article from author Ronald Tobias. He has a book called 20 Master Plots, and how to build them. It describes 20 common story plots and gives detail on how to construct complete stories. Some may say that this is a more elaborate list of seven plots, but I think he makes a good point for each.

I want to take a look at the first four this week.

1. Quest

The hero is searching for something, someone, or somewhere. It may be disguised as a spiritual journey; searching for something within themselves, with the journey mirroring some kind of  internal conflict. Many high fantasy stories fall into this category.

2. Adventure

The hero goes on an adventure, much like the quest plot, but with less focus on the end goal or the personal development of the hero. In the adventure plot, it is the action and suspense that propels the story forward.

3. Pursuit

In this plot, the focus is on a chase. The pursued person may be cornered and somehow escape, ensuing multiple chases so that the plot can continue. Depending on the story, the pursued person may be caught or may escape. If he escapes, it becomes a series. 😛

4. Rescue

In the rescue, somebody is captured and must be saved/rescued by the hero or the heroic party.  This sounds boring at first glance, but if you add a triangle of sorts, perhaps in the form of romance between the protagonist, the antagonist and the victim, you have a story ripe with conflict. The endings for these stories are generally the same; a fight between the protagonist and antagonist which leaves the antagonist dead or severely maimed. Either way, this plot doesn’t go past one book.


Many of my plots fall into the second category. With me, it’s always about action. What about you? See anything in these first four that you write, or would like to write?


About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

One Response to Story plots and how to get the most from yours.

  1. Pingback: Story plots and how to get the most from yours; Part Two « Darke Conteur

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