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How to Write a Book Now: Nine Basic Plots

Stashed in: Imzy, Meaning of Life, Awesome, Harry Potter, #TED

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Here are several of them:

The Nine Basic Plots

The Nine Basic Plots

The Nine Basic Plots

The Nine Basic Plots

The Nine Basic Plots

The Nine Basic Plots

The other three are comedy, mystery, and rebellion against The One. 

A Song of Fire and Ice encompasses all nine:

I have been reading the book referenced in the article for a while (it's seven hundred something pages).  IMHO it is the superb example from this mini-genre, which has actually generated quite a number of entrants.  Several classic authors have made comments to the effect that there are only x or y number of basic plots, and I've read several books along these lines because I find the topic very interesting.  But this one is the only one I have gotten a lot out of.  It was interesting to note in the beginning of the book how much flak the author says he has gotten from conventional literature scholars; but then he found more support and similar work in those who have studied and classified folklore across many cultures. 

You are a fascinating fountain of knowledge, Three Pipe. 

What an odd coincidence that you happen to have been reading that book.

Sounds like a good book and yeah, quite unique. I'm happy he found more support. 

Thanks, Adam.  Another coincidence: just found this on Gizmodo.

"New Data Suggest Only 6 Book Plots Exist"

Well I'm happy to have met you even if it means we keep bumping into these coincidences.

What do you think? How many plot types are there?

I don't think the exact number is so important... the system of classification is quite similar between the book described in the OP and the computer algorithm... when you start counting variations you end up with different numbers. 

Ah, I see. It's not so much quantity as what qualities make for a good story.

until we know what a character wants we don't know what a story is about until we know what the stakes are we don't care

Perhaps the impetus for the above data mining project.  Vonnegut draws story graphs...

That is so cool! I had not seen story graphs before. 

Vonnegut was quite the showman too eh?  The days of the lecture circuit that produced this kind of thing are long gone, replaced by 5-minute pseudo-inspirational segments by rich kids on TED. 

That's too bad, because I agree with you that this is more compelling than TED talks. 

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