The 7 Basic Universal Plots

All sorts of lists exist that talk about the number of universal plots. One list had 36, which seemed awfully high for universal plots. Seven seems to be a popular number for universal plot lists, so I developed my own list of 7 universal plots.

  1. Individual Walks Dog: Individual walks his dog or someone else’s dog.
  2. Individual vs Carrot Top: Individual tries to do something. Carrot Top succeeds or fails in preventing Individual from doing it.
  3. Carrot Top vs Individual: Carrot Top tries to do something. Individual succeeds or fails in preventing Carrot Top form doing it.
  4. Individual versus Death: Individual is in danger. Individual dies or doesn’t die.
  5. Individual versus the Hive Mind Collective: Individual struggles against conformity and with a mindless zealousness to maintain his individuality at all costs, screwing everyone else in the process.
  6. Individual versus Myth: Individual struggles to be somebody. Man succumbs to suburban life or becomes an action hero.
  7. Individual versus the Unknown: Individual makes a grand discovery. Or not.