Apparently there are just seven basic plots in the entire spectrum of storytelling: pick a plot, any plot, and it will fit into the seven categories. Or so they say. These basic themes seem to be fundamental to the way we tell stories, from films to fairytales, and you will find them in stories of all kinds all over the world.

The actual categories vary, according to source, but the most common ones seem to be:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches (or, conversely, Downfall)
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return (often into a fantasy land)
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth/Redemption

Other common sub-plots include:

  • The Heist
  • Coming of Age
  • Love Conquers All (variation: Friendship)

We thought this would be an interesting way to choose a programme of films for the next few months, and a good excuse to start a conversation about plot and storylines amongst our members. What do you think? Do you agree with the categories? Have you got others you’d like to suggest? Let us know.

Meanwhile, to begin the season, our next film will be a classic example of “Overcoming the Monster” with a screening of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (see coming up). Be afraid…

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