7 types of stories

A forest landscape

In literature and cinema, it's often said that there are only seven basic plot types that all stories fall into. No matter how unique a narrative may seem, the core conflict and structure typically align with one of these classic categories. Here's an overview of the seven types of stories: Overcoming The Monster, Rags To Riches, The Quest, Voyage & Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth.

Overcoming The Monster

The "Overcoming The Monster" plot is all about a protagonist facing an evil force or antagonist, often depicted as a monster in a literal or figurative sense. The protagonist must confront and defeat this enemy to restore balance and safety. This plot type is prevalent in horror, action, and fantasy genres. Classic examples include "Beowulf," "Jaws," and "Godzilla."

Rags To Riches

In "Rags to Riches" stories, the protagonist begins in a lowly state and achieves a significant transformation through a series of events, often involving wealth, status, or power. This plot type is common in drama and romance genres. Some well-known examples include "Cinderella," "Slumdog Millionaire," and "The Pursuit of Happyness."

The Quest

"The Quest" plot type is about a protagonist's journey towards a specific goal. This journey often involves overcoming obstacles, usually leading the protagonist to personal growth and self-discovery. This plot is prevalent in fantasy and adventure genres. Classic examples include "The Lord of the Rings," "The Odyssey," and "Indiana Jones" films.

Voyage & Return

"Voyage and Return" stories involve the protagonist embarking on a journey to an unfamiliar world. They face trials and tribulations throughout their journey before ultimately returning home, often changed or enlightened by their experiences. This type of story can be found across many genres. Examples include "Alice in Wonderland," "The Chronicles of Narnia," and "Back to the Future."

Comedy

"Comedy" plots centre around misunderstandings, mistaken identities, or confusing situations that create humorous scenarios. In these stories, the confusion or conflict is eventually resolved, leading to a happy ending. This plot type is most common in the comedy genre. Examples include "Much Ado About Nothing," "Bridget Jones's Diary," and "Superbad."

Tragedy

"Tragedy" stories focus on the protagonist's downfall due to their fatal flaw or a series of unfortunate events. These narratives often inspire sympathy and contemplation in the audience. This plot type is common in drama and romance genres. Classic examples include "Romeo and Juliet," "Death of a Salesman," and "Titanic."

Rebirth

In "Rebirth" narratives, the protagonist experiences a massive transformation, often spurred by a realization or event that changes their perspective or lifestyle. This plot type often appears in drama and fantasy genres. Examples include "A Christmas Carol," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Groundhog Day."

Crafting your narrative tapestry

Understanding these seven basic plot types can serve as a foundation for creating your narratives. However, it's important to note that these categories are not rigid boxes but flexible templates. Many stories blend elements from multiple types, crafting unique narrative experiences. So while these seven categories provide a starting point, the key to compelling storytelling is how you adapt and interweave these plot types to create your unique narrative tapestry.