Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Mar 2, 2012

Reading and Master Plots

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:30 am

There seems unlimited number of fictions. I have not read as much as I would like, yet from what I have read so far, there are roughly two master plots, even if there are numerous seemingly different versions of these two master plots.

Here are the two master plots to most of the stories, which goes like this stranger-comes or hero-goes.

(1) A stranger comes to town plot, and life is not the same again. e.g. a family has been living in this town for three generations and have remained unchanged until last Monday when an uncle of the family came…. Another version goes like this, once upon a time, a family of three little pigs live peacefully. Then one day, a big wolf comes…

(2) The hero takes the journey plot, for a conquest or search for root or for self-identity or for something that worth seeking, in the process of which the hero is transformed. The journey is a process that can be either physical or emotional or spiritual. or e.g. there are many journey stories, like Red Riding Hood, Odyssey, Lord of the Ring, Harry Potter, Jane Eyre. There are plenty of novels that record the journey of the hero conquering adversity, going from one stage to a higher one, from immaturity to maturity, from weak to strong, etc.

It is a good exercise to find out which master plot a novel belongs to by simply asking: stranger or a journey? With stranger coming to town plot, your next question is to find out the changes this stranger is going to bring about. With hero taking journey plot, you will concentrate on tracing the development and changes that the hero is going through, how he sets out the journey, what his initial goal is, how he is transformed in the process.

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