Plot no.3 - The Quest

The Quest story is well known and immediaetely recognizable. As Christopher Booker points out 'some of the most celebrated stories in the world are quests'. These include Homer's Odyssey; Virgil's Aeneid; Dante's Divine Comedy and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. More recent quest stories are The Lord of the Rings, Richard Adams' Watership Down and Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The key here is that it doesn't matter what the characters are searching for, as long as they are searching for something, and it doesn't matter where they go. Vital components include the hero (or heroine); a 'call to adventure', some companions who help and support the hero, but with whom their will be conflict and a perilous journey. On arrival, or near arrival, the hero/heroine will meet some final frustration or impediment. There will be a last test, or tests, and then the final goal will be achieved.

And you can go towards the light and frothy - as in Around the World in 80 days - or dark. As in Conrad's Heart of Darkness or its cinematic alter ego Apocalypse Now.

Sounds so incredibly easy I think I will start penning my Quest novel right now.


  1. Loving this series on plots, it is helping me to refine my current project! Thanks

  2. I'm so glad you are finding it useful! It's interesting to research because I was always very unsure about plotting, and then I became a convert to The Excellent Plot, and now I've gone a bit agnostic again. I'm thinking that thrillers do need clever plots, but one of my all time favorites is 'The Birds' by Daphne du Maurier (v.short) and it has an incredibly simple, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin plot, which works brilliantly.


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