Skip to content

How many story plots are there? One, Two ... Infinite

Diversifying story plots allow for more diversity in learning experiences. 

Diversity in story plots types

Reviewing the variety of plots in story expands our thinking of what is possible is developing learning story plots. Most business stories are focused on variations of the hero's journey. In life, daily work-life there are many more plots to focus on.  


Joseph Campbell summarized stories into a mono-myth called the hero's journey.


Aristotle divided story into tragedy and comedy.


Robert Heinlein defined three plots  — rags to riches, love story, and the character learns.


Annette Simmons listed six plots everyone should be able to tell.



Kurt Vonnegut outlined six story plots.


Christopher Booker extensively researched and distilled thousands of stories to seven.


Norman Friedman described fourteen plots organized around fortune, character, and thought.


Robert Tobias reached twenty master plot storyline.


Georges Polti / Carlo Gozzi reached thirty-six dramatic situations.


1000 to 6

An AI program from the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide analyzed thousands of script and found six common plots.

Regardless of the number of plots and variations, there are forms and patterns to leverage in crafting your story. Your plot will be unique to your story; by summarizing different plot styles in this section, we hope to showcase what your story could be and give you more of a starting point to shape and craft your own.


Martin Scorsese on Hero Movies and Cinema

On hero movies:

"Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What's not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes."

On cinema:

"I know I'm going to see something absolutely new and be taken to unexpected and maybe even unnameable areas of experience. My sense of what is possible in telling stories with moving images and sounds is going to be expanded."

Quotes from Martin Scorsese explaining his view on the difference between hero and cinema.


Learning Experiences:


Review the list of tweets to curated articles and resources from around the web.  Have additional ideas or suggestions — leave a comment and we'll be sure to add them. 



Posts from Social Media: