This list of dramatic situations was created by Georges Polti (1867 - 1946), a French writer.
  1. SUPPLICATION (To humbly petition) The Supplicant is chased, harmed or otherwise threatened by the Persecutor and begs for help from the Power in Authority.
  2. DELIVERANCE The Unfortunate is threatened in some way by the Threatener and is saved by the Rescuer.
  3. CRIME PURSUED BY VENGEANCE The Avenger wreaks vengeance on the Criminal for past crimes.
  4. VENGEANCE TAKEN FOR KINDRED UPON KINDRED One family member, the Guilty Kinsman, harms another (the Victim). They are punished for this serious transgression by an Avenging Kinsman.
  5. PURSUIT A Fugitive is pursued, caught and Punished for some miscreant act.
  6. DISASTER A calamitous event occurs.
  7. FALLING PREY TO CRUELTY OR MISFORTUNE The innocent Unfortunate is harmed by accidental Misfortune or by a deliberate Master who should know better.
  8. REVOLT The Conspirator leads or contributes to a revolt against an oppressive Tyrant
  9. DARING ENTERPRISE A character undertakes a clearly laid out, bold and clever plan.
  10. ABDUCTION The Abducted person is taken by the Abductor. The Abducted may be rescued by a Guardian.
  11. THE ENIGMA The Interrogator poses a Problem which the Seeker must solve.
  12. OBTAINING A Solicitor requests something of the Adversary, who refuses to cooperate.
    Or, there are Opposing Parties who cannot reach agreement and so their dispute is resolved by the Arbitrator.
  13. ENMITY OF KINSMEN Two relatives hate one another (and act accordingly).
  14. RIVALRY OF KINSMEN Two relatives compete over an Object, often another person who shows more favor to the Preferred Kinsman and shows less favor to the Rejected Kinsman.
  15. MURDEROUS ADULTERY Adultery turns to violence as an Adulterer seeks to remove the Spouse or turns on the other Adulterer.
  16. MADNESS A person becomes temporarily Mad, losing control and harming the Victim.
  17. FATAL IMPRUDENCE The Imprudent person loses an Object or causes harm to the Victim through unthinking imprudence, curiosity and general carelessness.
  18. INVOLUNTARY CRIMES OF LOVE The Lover performs acts of love with the Beloved, only to find (via the Revealer) that the Beloved is a close relative
  19. SLAYING OF A KINSMAN UNRECOGNISED The Slayer kills (or nearly kills or harms) the Unrecognized Victim, who is actually a relative or friend of the Slayer. Thus a seemingly justified act suddenly becomes unjustified.
  20. SELF-SACRIFICE FOR AN IDEAL The Hero gives up something for the sake of an Ideal.
  21. SELF-SACRIFICE FOR KINDRED The Hero gives up something in order to help a relative or friend.
  22. ALL SACRIFICED FOR A PASSION The Lover is impassioned by the Object to the point where they give up the Person or Thing, perhaps unwisely, blinded as they are their passion.
  23. NECESSITY OF SACRIFICING LOVED ONES The Hero is forced to sacrifice the Beloved Victim, based on the Necessity.
  24. RIVALRY OF SUPERIOR AND INFERIOR The Superior Rival is set against an Inferior Rival, both vying for the Object of Rivalry.
  26. CRIMES OF LOVE The Lover loves the Beloved, but this love is illicit in some way, breaking social codes.
  27. DISCOVERY OF THE DISHONOR OF A LOVED ONE The Guilty One brings shame on their kin by a dishonorable act. They are discovered by the Dishonorer.
  28. OBSTACLES TO LOVE Two Lovers want to be together, but they are prevented from doing so by some Obstacle.
  29. AN ENEMY LOVED The Lover loves the Beloved Enemy. The Hater hates the Lover for this betrayal.
  30. AMBITION The Ambitious person Covets a Thing, however that ambition is guarded against by an Adversary.
  31. CONFLICT WITH A GOD The Mortal challenges the Immortal. There are consequences.
    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.
  34. REMORSE The Culprit has done wrong to a Victim or committed another Sin. The Interrogator gets an admission of guilt.
  35. RECOVERY OF A LOST ONE The Seeker looks for and finds the One Found.
  36. EXECUTION The Kinsman Spectator sees the Kinsman Slain being killed by the Executioner.

All links above are to the Gordianplot. The links are reproduced here because the site is difficult to navigate.

See also: 20 Mater Plots; and Plot Ideas that Sell

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