What are the seven basic literary plots?

What are the seven basic literary plots?

Ronald Tobias attributed the idea of 69 plots to Kipling. For those who enjoy Kipling (and it was probably mentioned at the time), here is the reference:

That sounds to me like a figurative way of saying “many”, not an enumeration of a specific list. Nor is it clear to me that a “way of constructing tribal lays” is a plot.

The number of story plots that exist is an many as you want to categorize them into, based on your interpretation or in terms of granularity. In the simplest form, there is only one story. It has a beginning and entropy. (the Never Ending Story is a lie!).

"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays". I don't think it is accidental that he came up with the number 69, for "tribal lays". Is it? That would be extraordinary.

That’s easy:
Man vs man
Man vs himself
Man vs nature
Man vs zombie
Man in VR simulation of the real world vs AI where he needs to decide between his true love in the “real world” vs a virtual approximation of his lost love.

In the Neolithic age was published in 1892, decades before the first known appearance of lay in the sexual sense (and it first turns up in American English).

Of course, everything started in the USA. Perhaps check out the King James Bible circa 1611? Many examples of lay/lie used in a copulation sense.

The KJV refers to someone or something as a lay?

Wait. People think Kipling was talking about ‘someone’ when he said “There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays”? I don’t see that at all.
He was definitely talking about something though, as the bible does too.

Some people evidently cannot distinguish nouns from verbs.

Shakespeare too in one of his most famous sonnets.



7 Plots

7 basic plots as remembered from second grade by IPL volunteer librarian Jessamyn West:

  1. [wo]man vs. nature
  2. [wo]man vs. [wo]man
  3. [wo]man vs. the environment
  4. [wo]man vs. machines/technology
  5. [wo]man vs. the supernatural
  6. [wo]man vs. self
  7. [wo]man vs. god/religion

Heinlein said there were 3 basic plots:

  1. Boy meets girl (romance, substitute genders of your choice)
  2. The Little Tailor (Person comes from low status and achieves great power. Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Kim’, the movie Trading Places are examples)
  3. The person who learned better. (Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ for example)

I’m not that’s complete enough, but it’s interesting.

The way I heard it:

Man vs. Self
Man vs. Beast
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Single opponent (Man vs. Man)
Man vs. Woman (romance)
Man vs. Society
Man vs. God

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