Some say there are only three types of plots:
The happy ending, the unhappy ending, and the classical Greek tragic ending in which events are controlled by fate.
There are many variations on these three plots, of course, and plots are always controlled by the conflict between the characters.
Remember these conflicts from your high school literature classes?
character vs character
character vs nature
character vs the environment
character vs machine
character vs the supernatural
character vs self
character vs religion
The point? It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Coming up with a new plot that has never been written is improbable. So, take a cue from many modern writers and rework a plot from a story or a movie.
There are many examples of plots that have been reworked. For example, Romeo and Juliet reworked as West Side Story and the typical spaghetti western novel reworked as Star Wars.
If you have trouble coming up with an idea, just remember some of the classic plots and start changing things.
- Change the setting.
- Change the point-of-view. Tell the story through the mind of a different character than in the original story.
- Choose a classic plot and bring it into the modern age. Choose a fairy tale, an epic poem, a classic novel, a Bible story, or a myth.
- Take the conflict from a novel or play or movie and change everything else. (Change characters, point-of-view, plot, setting, etc.)
So, don't take too much time reinventing the wheel. Just borrow and rework old plots!
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