Monday, 28 March 2011

Writing and Well Being (Part 1)

In the world of narratives there lies the potential to tell millions of stories with hosts of different characters right? Unfortunately not, variation can only do so much to a concept and in base terms there are only really seven basic plots with interchanable characters roles. This is not to say that all stories are the same but to more point out that if you as a creative feel like your stories has already been written it probably has but it's what you as a creative can bring to it that makes it unique. Below I'm going to outline these story achetypes along with examples of character achetypes.

First there's:

The Quest
This story type revolves around the central protagonist striving to meet and over come various obstacles to reach an all important goal, often these obstacles are either to test the protagonist's worthiness of the goal or are set up by an antagonist in order to stop the protagonist from reaching the goal. Classic Example: Lord of The Rings.

Voyage and return
Similar to The Quest, this plot has the protagonist either travel or transported (against their will) to another world/land etc and find their way back home. Along the way the character will learn new skills that they would never have learned in their home environment ultimately resulting in a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. Classic Example: Wizard of Oz.

This story type is often used for classic stories about redemption. Perhaps a hero has been sullied or let down those he was meant to protect, the rebirth is the story of him regaining the trust and love he once had or learning something new altogether resulting in development of the character. More often it's revealed that the character is being held back by something in their own psyche. Classic Example: A Christmas Carol

Often this story type is used in conjuction with others in modern day terms to add good feeling effect to a story. Previously it was used where in a comedy revolves around characters being thrown into confusion and bewilderment where the only resolution comes once these two aspects reach their maximium level. Much of the plot comes from escalated lie for the sake of hilarity and the true moment of comedy is actually tradgey when it all falls apart. Classic Example: Fraiser.

A tragedy often focuses around a character whom seemingly has everything but through their actions ultimately causes their own downfall. This is done to create a connection to the audience in which they should feel empathy for the character. Like comedy, tragedy is often used as a sub plot or part of a story of rebirth in where the character can only learn something once he's lost everything. Classic Example: MacBeth.

Over Coming the Monster
This plot is pretty much self explanetory, in which the hero must over come and defeat and evil be it a creature or person due to it causing destruction or spreading fear across the land. Often this is used with the quest plot where in a hero must over come tests or prepare themselves for the final confrontation with the evil, often there will be atleast 1 confrontation that the hero must face before finally defeating it. Classic Example: Jaws.

Rags to Riches
Again this is fairly straight forward in that the protagonist starts of in a position of nothingness and suddenly attains greatness either by fame or wealth. Often this is taken away so that the hero may show the viewers that he is worthy of this greatness, sometime this involves vanquishing a foe. Classic Example: Aladdin.

When looking over these several plot types you can easily think of any film, book or videogame that utilises one or more of these plots. Oftewn the variation comes from using a mix of subplots and dowing minor variations on the situations but the base concept is often the same.

In the next post I'll be looking at character archetypes!

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