Writer’s Resource: 20 Plot Types

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by JTP

This is a great resource for novelists. It is a collection of emails from 1997 – correspondence for what I can only assume is some sort of writing class or writer’s group. From what I gather, the source of these emails is one mbarker@MIT.EDU who goes by the moniker tink.

Now, tink’s exercises and input is very insightful, but he is drawing upon a text by one Ronald B. Tobias, whose book “20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them)” is the focus of these emails. The combination of Tobias’ text and tink’s reflections make for a wonderful document. I have a printed copy of these emails among my other writing resources, because when I find myself stuck, I can usually refer to these exercises to get my gears turning.

Here are the emails: http://www.mit.edu/~mbarker/exercises/plot.html

And here are the plot types:

-The Quest
-The Adventure
-The Pursuit
-The Rescue
-The Escape
-Revenge
-The Riddle
-The Underdog
-Temptation
-Metamorphosis
-Transformation
-Maturation
-Love
-Forbidden Love
-Sacrifice
-Discovery
-Wretched Excess
-Ascension
-Descension

Tobias and tink distinguish each from one another and talk about how starting points can turn into wonderful stories.

If you like tink’s emails, check out his other resources: http://www.mit.edu/~mbarker/

If you like the plot families, check out Tobias’ book: http://www.amazon.com/Master-Plots-How-Build-Them/dp/0898795958

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