Monday, August 8, 2011

Last week in books and the seven classic plots..

Last week I managed to finish only one book- HP 3, which is such a pity ,because I was raring to get to Half of the yellow sun.I loved HP3,btw.Best of the three parts I've read till now. The books in the series just keep getting better !

This week, I have the 4 books lines up ( Adichie and Murakami) carryover from last week; a book for review called Never mind yaar and Milk and Honey by Faye Kellerman I started last week because I couldn't stomach any grisly or sad reads. The Faye Kellerman book has to be one of the most boring thrillers I've read in a long time. A true Yawn-Yawn affair.Any book that takes 180 pages to show mild signs of some action needs to come with a "Boring" statutory warning.Anyway, I have a new resolution to not leave books half-read and to woman up and finish them no matter how boring they are. So, Faye will be tolerated for a few more hours till I finish the book. And her writing different is so different from her husband's( Jonathan Kellerman happens to be one of my favourite crime/thriller authors).

Next review on this blog : Never mind Yaar by Khoty Mathur

Apparently,there are only 7 basic plots that one can base a story on. The thought that all the gazillion books in the world are permutation and combination of these 7 plots is simply mind boggling. The human race is such a wonderful faffing invention of God ,i must say. Now for the 7 plots..( source Gordon Wells's How to be a successful writer)

1. Cindrella: Where the underdog wins after many trials and tribulations
This must be the most used plot, apart from No. 4(Tristan) and No. 6 (Romeo and Juliet).But then I am getting ahead of myself by mentioning No.4 and No.6. before we've done No.2 and No.3.

2. Achilles : Hero goes down because of some fatal blow
I haven't seen this basic plot in many books.Have you?

3. Faust : In the end debt always have to be paid
Can't think of many books with a faustian theme either.

4. Tristan : The eternal love triangle
A plot done to death !.someone should invent a 8th different plot and take Tristan off this list. The eternal love triangle is such a cliche.

5. Circe : Eventually spider catches the fly
Sounds a bit similar to a Faustian plot ,if you ask me.

6. Romeo and Juliet : Boy meets girl,boy loses girl,boy friends girl again.
The Hollywood rom-com staple !.

7. Orpheus : Gift that is taken away
All sad books where the books end with the protagonist going mad/ dead/ broke/without love and so on. Come to think of it, the number of things that can go wrong with someone's life is infinite!. Literary fiction,maybe ;-)

Any recommendations for Achilles ,Faustian and Cicerian plotlines?.


  1. I am glad you liked HP3! Can't wait for your review of Half the Yellow Sun :)

  2. vaishnavi..:-).Looks like Half of yellow sun will take some more time.

  3. Well, really 7 plots? Oh my! Cannot think of any stories for the 3 categories you ask of, but right now I am just thinking all the different books I have read and if they fit in here lol!

  4. veens.. ha ha.. think think think !

  5. The 7 plot thing is very interesting! I'm going to try and see if the books I read here on fall under one of these or not! :-)

    BTW, Ayn Rand's 'We the Living' might be an Achilles.

    -- Priya.

  6. Thot.. I haven't read We the living..but i've noticed that whatever I read somehow falls under the 7 categories..

  7. This, that there are just 7 plots, is new to me. Thanks.

    Faustian: All stories of retribution, would fall under this category (retribution = paying-up one's debt). Most stories which have Truth triumphs are in a sense this, but it would be Faustian, if it is the protagonist to whom retribution is meted out.

    Circean: is that of getting trapped by something alluring and not being able to escape. I am not able to think of a suitable candidate for this.

    Romeo & Juliet: I don't think bollywood romance is that. R&J is unrequited love - all tragic romances fall under this category.

    PS: The above are just my interpretations of the term, they may not be correct.

  8. TV.. Cicerian is a tough cookie ! I agree that RJ is more like a love story in a documentary movie ;-0