The Review: Strategies toEliminate the “to be” verb1. Substitute a new word.2. Rearrange the sentence.3. Change another word in the sentence into a verb.4. Combine sentences.
Lecture: Basic Plots According to the British journalist andauthor Christopher Booker, there are only seven „storylines‟ in the world.
Booker’s Seven Basic Plots1.Overcoming the Monster2.Rags to Riches3.The Quest4.Voyage and Return5.Comedy6.Tragedy7.Rebirth
The basic premise: Christopher Booker argues that all storytelling is woven around basic plots and archetypes that are inescapable and help to define the human condition. We are psychologically programmed to tell stories in a way that reflects our most basic physiological needs.
#1: Overcoming the Monster
Overcoming the Monster Epic of Gilgamesh James Bond novels and films Many tales in Greek mythology (Perseus, Theseus) Dragon slayer stories Gothic novels: Frankenstein, Dracula
Overcoming the Monster: plotoutline The Call: The monster is introduced as a threat to a community, country, kingdom, or mankind in general. The hero is called to confront it. Dream Stage: The hero makes preparations for battle; he and the monster are brought closer together. Things are going reasonably well, and there is a comfortable remoteness from danger.
Overcoming the Monster: plotoutline Frustration Stage: Hero comes face to face with the monster in all its awesome power. The hero seems inferior by comparison and may even fall into the monster‟s clutches. Nightmare Stage: final ordeal begins, a nightmare battle in which the odds seem stacked against the hero. But, just when all seems lost…
Overcoming the Monster: plotoutline Thrilling Escape from Death/ Death of the Monster: in a miraculous reversal, the hero gains the upper hand and delivers a final fatal blow to the monster. Its dark power is overthrown. The community under its shadow is liberated. The hero wins his prize, his princess, and/or his kingdom.
#2: Rags to Riches
Rags to Riches Legend of King Arthur Pygmalion/My Fair Lady The Ugly Duckling AladdinThis plot is one of the earliest we come to know as children.
Rags to Riches: plot outline Initial wretchedness at home & “the call”: we are introduced to the hero in his lowly and unhappy state. The dark figures are the source of his misery. This phase ends when something happens to call them out into a wider world. Out into the world, initial success: early efforts are rewarded, and the hero may have some glimpse of the greater glory he will someday achieve.
Rags to Riches: plot outline The central crisis: reduced to a new powerlessness, this is the worst part of the story for the hero or heroine. Independence and the final ordeal: the hero is discovering in himself a new independent strength. The hero is put to a final test, in which a dark rival may stand between the hero and ultimate fulfillment.
Rags to Riches: plot outline Final union, completion and fulfillment: the reward is usually a state of complete, loving union with the “Prince” or “Princess”. They may also succeed to some kind of kingdom. The implied ending is that “they lived happily ever after”.
#3: The Quest
The Quest Arthurian/Grail legends Dante‟s Divine Comedy Homer‟s Odyssey The Lord of the Rings Indiana Jones movies
Essence of the plot Far away, there is a priceless goal, worth any effort to achieve: a treasure, a promised land, 30 sliders from White Castle, something of infinite value. The hero sets out on a hazardous journey to attain the goal and overcomes any number of perilous hindrances in order to achieve the objective.
The Quest: plot outline The Call: life in some “City of Destruction” has become oppressive and intolerable, and the hero recognizes that the only way to rectify the situation is to take a long and perilous journey to achieve some related goal. The Journey: a series of ordeals.
The Quest: plot outline Arrival and frustration: the hero arrives within sight of his goal, but a singular or series of terrifying obstacles looms before him. The final ordeal: time to face and defeat obstacles. The goal: after a last “thrilling escape from death.” the life-renewing goal is achieved.
#4: Voyage and Return
Voyage and Return Goldilocks and the Three Bears Alice in Wonderland The Time Machine Robinson Crusoe Prodigal Son parable from the Bible Gone with the Wind
Voyage and Return: essence ofthe plot The hero or heroine travels out of their familiar, everyday “normal” surroundings into another world completely cut off from the first, where everything seems abnormal. The early experience might feel exhilarating, but eventually a shadow intrudes. By a “thrilling escape” the hero is returned to his normal world.
Voyage and ReturnWhile this plot is as old as storytellingitself, it became much more fashionable inWestern literature after theRenaissance, when voyagers were travelingto every corner of the globe.These stories generally fall into two types: a)the hero is marooned on a deserted island, orb) the hero visits a land of some strangepeople or civilization
Voyage and Return: variations As fewer areas of the world were left to be explored, more authors sent their heroes into different parts of time or space A “social” voyage and return features a hero who finds himself in a different group of people with whom he would not normally associate. Think of The Devil Wears Prada.
ComedyThe “New Comedy” plot: There are two ways that the lovers are kept apart until the end… 1. Two lovers passionately desire to get married, but a selfish and unrelenting father (the dark figure) prevents them from doing so. 2. There is quarrel and confusion between the lovers themselves, based on a misunderstanding
Comedy: conventions Always present in comedy is the device of mistaken identity. Identities can be confused through: Mysterious births and origins Characters in disguise or deliberately assuming new identities Cross-dressing Characters concealed in exile, or eavesdropping in closets or nearby rooms
Comedy: steps of recognition1. The dark figures imprisoned in an unloving state must be softened and liberated by some act of self-recognition and change of heart.2. The identity of one or more characters must be revealed in a more literal sense.3. Characters must discover who they are meant to pair off with.4. Wherever there is division, separation or loss, it must be repaired.
…so where do the laughs comefrom? Almost uniformly, the aspect of comedy that elicits laughter from the audience is a character‟s egocentricity, his tunnel-vision, his inability to see the world as it is.
Tragedy: Five Stages 1. Anticipation Stage: hero is in some way incomplete or unfulfilled. Some object of desire or course of action presents itself to the hero. When the hero succumbs to this desire or thought, he has found his “focus”: Macbeth decides to assassinate King Duncan, Icarus yields to his desire to fly close to the sun; Dr. Jekyll drinks his potion.
Tragedy: Five Stages 2. Dream Stage: hero commits to his focus, and for awhile everything is peachy. He feels gratified and seems to be getting away with his crime or error. 3. Frustration Stage: Things begin to go wrong. Hero feels restless and insecure, commits further dark acts to secure or retain his position and feelings from the Dream Stage.
Tragedy (1): Five Stages 4. Nightmare Stage: Things are now slipping completely out of the hero‟s control. Forces of opposition and fate are closing in on him; hero falls into rage or despair. 5. Destruction or Death Wish: either by the forces he has aroused against him, or by some final act of violence which precipitates his own death, the hero is destroyed.
Rebirth: synopsis A hero or heroine falls under a dark spell which eventually traps them in some wintry state, akin to living death: physical or spiritual imprisonment, sleep, sickness or some other form of enchantment. For a long time they languish in this frozen condition Then a miraculous act of redemption takes place, focused on a particular figure who helps liberate the hero or heroine from imprisonment.
Rebirth: Plot points 1. Hero falls under the shadow of a dark power. 2. Poison takes some time to work up to its full effect. 3. Total isolation: the darkness emerges in full force 4. Nightmare stage: odds seem stacked against a rescue of the hero 5. Reversal/ awakening: imprisoned figure is freed by the power of love
The Universal Plot
The Universal Plot The overlap and interrelationships between the plots are immediately recognizable. What is really to be gained from this exploration of seven plots is NOT the compartmentalizing of stories, but rather the joining together of all stories into basic universal elements.
The Universal Plot The Beginning: a hero is undeveloped, frustrated, or incomplete. This state sets up the tensio that drives the plot. The Middle: The hero falls under the shadow of a dark power. This power may exist outside the hero or within the characters themselves. The End: Through a reversal or unknotting, the dark power is overthrown.
The Universal Plot Fundamental movements: Dark to light Isolated to integrated, or vice versa Incomplete to whole Juvenile to mature Constriction/release Ignorance to self-realization
DiscussionWhat kind of story are you writing?
Guided Writing1. Have you included the basic plot points in your story?2. Outline your story to see which you have included: Note what you are missing—these are places where you might be able to improve your story.3. Write a scene to include in your story.
More Story Starters1. The harder she scratch away at her forearm the quicker the flesh fell away. From outside the containment unit, Dr. Elena Miles and Dr. Mark Rustenburg watched on dismay as the...2. Marcus could hear the horn sound in the distance, a sign he was getting closer to the island. Soon he would be face to face with the father he left behind ten years ago. Every day since he left …3. 45 minutes ago my cover was blown. Id been under for...4. I sat in the taxi fidgeting the tulle under my gown and thinking Id rather be at home in my flannel pajamas instead of going to...5. I really wanted to see you again," said Rebecca. She repeatedly twirled a strand of her long auburn hair tightly around her right forefinger until the tip blushed then released it. "I was afraid you didnt want to see me because of…6. He was lying face down on the raft. At first we thought he was sleeping with his head using the inflated side as a pillow and one hand hanging over grazing the waters edge but then the...7. It‟s hard to describe the sound of ripping fleshing. Even more difficult is the sound the flesh makes when a vampire makes first bite.
Homework• Post #14 Post a good scene from your story.• Work on your fiction project.