Devious Plots part 6: Plot store, final sale!

 This is part of a six-part series on plot that I'm doing. You can find the other parts here:
~Devious Plots, part 1: If Stephan King doesn't do it, why should I?
~Devious Plots, part 2: What is this "plot" you speak of?
~Devious Plots, part 3: Don't put the toilet in the living room
~Devious Plots, part 4: Plot store!
~Devious Plots, part 5: More plot store!

Today, we're wrapping up the plot store posts with these last twelve of the Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Georges Polti.  As always, any examples or comments are welcome!


25. Adultery

This situation requires a Deceived Spouse and two Adulterers.

Summary and Examples: The Deceived Spouse is cuckolded by Two Adulterers, one the partner of the Deceived Spouse. I don't have to tell you that this a VERY common situation, both on its own and with others. It can be a starting point, a catalyst or just a complication.

26. Crimes of love

This situation requires a Lover and the Beloved.

Summary and Examples: The Lover loves the Beloved, but this love is illicit in some way, breaking social codes. The social code can be racial, economic, or even just an imbalance of power, such as in Slumdog Millionaire. Often it's combined with adultery as in the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle.

27. Discovery of the dishonor of a loved one

This situation requires a Dishonorer and  the Guilty One.

Summary and Examples: The Guilty One brings shame on their kin by a dishonorable act. They are discovered/exposed by the Dishonorer. This is a popular story, where someone is revealed to have a dark past as in A History of Violence.

28. Obstacles to love

This situation requires two Lovers and an Obstacle

Summary and Examples: Two Lovers want to be together, but they are prevented from doing so by some difficult Obstacle.  This is the basic plot of most romance novels. A popular example of course is Twilight, where Edward loves Bella, but also wants to eat her.

29. An enemy loved

This situation requires a Lover, the Beloved Enemy and the Hater.

Summary and Examples: the Lover loves the Beloved Enemy. The Hater hates the Lover for this betrayal. This is a little different than the Obstacle situation above, because it also has a Hater, who provides forward motion for the plot. For example, Tybalt is the Hater in Romeo and Juliet

30. Ambition

This situation requires an Ambitious Person along with a Thing Coveted and an Adversary.

Summary and Examples: The Ambitious person Covets a Thing, however that ambition is guarded against by an Adversary. The ambition is often power, as in Macbeth, or when combined with the Madness situation, it gives the perfect formula for a stalker movie.

31. Conflict with a god

This situation requires a Mortal and an Immortal.

Summary and Examples: The Mortal challenges the Immortal. There are consequences.  This was HUGE in the myths of ancient Greece. Nowadays, the story is usually told with humor, as in the movie Bruce Almighty.

32. Mistaken jealousy

This situation requires a Jealous One,  an Object of whose Possession He is Jealous, a Supposed Accomplice and a Cause or an Author of the Mistake

Summary and Examples: The Jealous person, through some Cause or Author, appears to becomes jealous of some Object. There may also be a Supposed Accomplice. A classic example of this is Othello.

33. Erroneous judgment

This situation requires a Mistaken One and a Victim of the Mistake, along with the Cause or Author of the Mistake and/or a Guilty One

Summary and Examples: The Mistaken One makes some judgment about or is suspicious about the Victim, instead of the Guilty Person. This is due to some Cause or is caused by the Author of the mistake. 

This is an excellent example of how sometimes two situations can fit one story, as this can also fit Othello. The goal is to find the one that fits best.  An example of this situation working where no jealousy is involved is Pride and Prejudice.

34. Remorse

This situation requires a Culprit, a Victim or Sin and an Interrogator.

Summary and Examples: The Culprit has done wrong to a Victim or committed another Sin. The Interrogator gets an admission of guilt. Used as a climax to stories, rarely seen on its own, where the Culprit finally realizes the impact what he has done, or defends it as in A Few Good Men.

35. Recovery of a lost one

This situation requires a Seeker and the One Found.

Summary and Examples: The Seeker looks for and finds the One Found. This can take a number of forms, a grown person searching for a lost parent, a parent searching for a disappearing child (similar to the Abduction situation) or even a search for love like Sleepless in Seattle.

36. Loss of loved ones

This situation requires a Kinsman Slain, a Kinsman Spectator and an Executioner.

Summary and Examples: The Kinsman Spectator sees (or learns of) the Kinsman Slain being killed by the Executioner. This is popular as motivation for the main character in the Revolt situation, as in previous examples Braveheart and Gladiator.

Well that's all of them! What did you think?


  1. What a wonderful job you did. While I probably new a lot of this internally due to age and the love of books and movies, to actually see the list is amazing.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  2. It is nice to see it all written out! Thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I love that you posted all of these scenarios for everybody - reading through I was ticking off books I love or am working on in my head, sort of like a 'got it, got it, need it, got it' Christmas list. :-)
    (writers are so weird...)
    Thanks though, am really enjoying going through the blog! Now, off to tackle those words.... *applies war paint*

  4. Lol, war paint. :)

    I'm glad you liked the plots, they were fun to research!


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