Story and Narratives

Storytelling can be a tricky business: Developing a premise, creating characters, and of course, plotting a story. Although there are millions of stories out there in the forms of movies, books, TV shows and radio plays, most share qualities and can be categorised into seven narrative structures. Here is a brief summary of them:

Overcoming the monster – The main character sets out to destroy a great obstacle, which can be a literal monster or a more figurative one. For example: Dracula & Jaws.

Rags to Riches – A character who starts with nothing grows and gains everything, whether they deserve it, want it, neither or both. Cinderella and Great Expectations both fall into this category.

The Quest – Something or someone needs to be recovered or found. Examples of this include: Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

Voyage and Return – The protagonist is out of their comfort zone, in a place or situation they’re not familiar with, they must endure the strangeness and return a better person (e.g Alice in Wonderland)

Comedy – Can take the form of any of the previous plot types, however, the characters are plagued by misunderstandings and confusion. Arguably more of a treatment of story than a plot type in modern day. Bridget Jones and Mr Bean.

Tragedy – The protagonist is or becomes the story’s villain, intentionally or otherwise. The most well-known example of this would be Macbeth.

Rebirth – Similar in form to a tragedy, but ending on a slightly more upbeat note, as demonstrated in Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Carol.