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Generating ideas, breaking writers' block, and WRITING!

The Thirty-six (plus one) Dramatic Situations

Georges Polti says that all stories boil down to just 36 dramatic situations and takeoffs of those situations. Somebody else out there added #37. If you're stuck for a situation, try this. A situation appears below randomly (in bold print). If you'd like more information, or want to see the subplots for the situation, click on its link below.

(Note: In several cases, specific gender in the original descriptions has been replaced with non-specific gender. After all, men aren't the only ones out there having adventures! And women aren't only there to be loved, taken advantage of, or rescued.)

Your situation:

1. Supplication 2. Deliverance 3. Crime Punished by Vengeance
4. Vengeance Taken For Kindred Upon Kindred 5. Pursuit 6. Disaster
7. Falling Prey to Cruelty or Misfortune 8. Revolt 9. Daring Enterprise
10. Abduction 11. The Enigma 12. Obtaining
13. Enmity of Kinsmen 14. Rivalry of Kinsmen 15. Murderous Adultery
16. Madness 17. Fatal Imprudence 18. Involuntary Crimes of Love
19. Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized 20. Self-sacrificing for an Ideal 21. Self-sacrifice for Kindred
22. All Sacrificed for a Passion 23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones 24. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
25. Adultery 26. Crimes of Love 27. Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
28. Obstacles to Love 29. An Enemy Loved 30. Ambition
31. Conflict With a God 32. Mistaken Jealousy 33. Erroneous Judgement
34. Remorse 35. Recovery of a Lost One 36. Loss of Loved Ones
37. Mistaken Identity

Still stuck for plot ideas? Try Hatch's Plot Bank. Over 2000 scenarios, some mundane, some very strange, that should get your creative juices flowing! Or take a plot idea from roleplaying games at The Big List of RPG Plots. Just remember that you don't want to write a story ABOUT that RPG campaign!

Cosmic Thoughts | Oblique Strategies | Random Science Fiction Story Ideas
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Last update 21 April 2000