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Behind the Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column

Types of Modern Fiction Plots
Guest Columnist: Lucy Adams

Have you ever thought about the perspectives of the development of new fantastic ideas? I bet you did, and therefore, you know how complicated the whole process is and how hard it is to come up with something original and unique, something that was never used before.

That’s why I want to share with you the ideas that have already been used by both great and mediocre authors. I do not call you to copy one of them, but I hope this list will help you to think out of the box and finally, come up with a unique cash-making idea!


#1 Immortality

From time to time, I read fiction based on immortal heroes and villains. Or the notorious immortality is the object of desire of the conflicting parties. One of the most common dramatic motifs here is the opposition between the immortal hero and the mortal world or a strong desire to be rid of his burden.

Examples: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson


#2 Vampires

Cold-blooded bloodsuckers that hate sunlight, crucifixes, and garlic, have long been regulars at the bookshelves. For many decades, the reader admires horror adventures of the night murderers, while the writers continue to exploit the subject, offering numerous options from romantic women's stories to urban fantasy and apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction.

Unfortunately, there are so many books about vampires that it’s almost impossible to come up with something original. There is always a serious risk that the new book will drown in the bottomless abyss of bloody sagas.

Examples: The Scar by China Miéville, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson


#3 The Invasion of Aliens

This is a quite interesting but very clichéd theme. Of course, the starting point is the famous "War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells. By and large, this theme lies at the core of any work about the war where one nation attacks another one’s territory. This kind of stories is a ready-made basis for a sci-fi thriller of any direction and entourage.

Examples: Anathem by Neal Stephenson


#4 Genetic Experiments and Mutations

That’s the subject that is covered by a huge number of authors, but which, nevertheless, still carries significant potential. The topic managed to produce numerous comics, films and books about superheroes – these all exists already for more than half a century and will continue to grow. Undoubtedly, this niche is one of the primary motives in the development of modern prose fiction.

Examples: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Dune by Frank Herbert


#5 The Agreement with the Evil

Here all is quite simple and transparent: our hero, a man possessed of some strong desire (to become rich or successful, to save a loved one), but do not have objective possibilities to carry it out, makes a deal with the dark forces. Of course, he is not aware of the seriousness of the situation, but he will need to pay the bills, whether he likes it or not. In the end, the protagonist becomes a victim.
This plot is primarily interested due to the conflict of parties: it is always intriguing how the debtor will extricate himself from a difficult situation, where his life is at stake.

Examples: Macbeth by William Shakespeare

#6 Life after Death

The topic lies at the borders of prose fiction, thrillers, and horror. There are quite a lot of variations you can use, from the resurrection of any of the characters to their misadventures in the afterlife. When choosing this direction, I recommend you always to ask yourself whether these fantastic assumptions are necessary for the expression of the main idea of the work. Are you sure you want someone to be resurrected? What this will help to convey to the readers?

Examples: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

#7 Inventions and Scientific Research

This is another endless bunch of ideas that will give authors food for thought for centuries. After all, we can’t stop the technological progress. Every year there appears something new, and authors’ imagination progresses as well! New inventions give birth to new stories and sometimes even new areas in the literature. I believe this direction has a very high potential.

Examples: Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein


#8 Artificial Intelligence

This niche is a logical extension of the previous one. However, stories about robots, cyborgs, and other artificial intelligence have become so popular that they now represent a separate direction. But what will happen when smart mechanisms become an integral part of our everyday life?

Such stories carry a very interesting dramatic potential. The relationship between endowed with reason robots and people is a fertile soil for artistic conflicts.
Examples: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

#9 Quest

So it turns out that the quest is the most common and probably the most successful idea of all times, starting from the myths of the ancient world with their search for the Golden Fleece and ending with a brilliant contemporary fiction.

In general, the quest plot is very close to the folk tales. There, too, the basis of the action is the search for the missing or a difficult and perilous trip to distant lands for a certain artifact. So I won’t be mistaken if say that quests will inspire new generations of readers for many more years. Moreover, they are perfectly combined with any other fantastic assumptions.

Examples: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


#10 The Messiah

What about the plot based on a man destined to save the world? The main feature is that the construction of the plot around the Messiah almost always puts the narrative into the category of epic. After all, we cannot limit ourselves to a simple description of how the Savior spilled coffee on himself at breakfast?. The presence of the Savior required much more praise! So be sure to carefully consider all nuances before undertaking such a plot.

Examples: Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold


Lucy Adams is a blogger from BuzzEssay, a home for college essays for students. Feel free to share your intriguing ideas with Lucy and get a high-quality paper in return. She’s very responsive and open-hearted, so be sure, you’ll get a fast and grounded response to each and every request. Lucy is a generalist, and she never limits herself to covering narrowly-focused themes.

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