Illustration by Slug Signorino
I read somewhere that there were only a limited number of story plots. Because of my characteristic memory quirk (that is, remembering the general idea but not the essential details) I can't remember if it was seven, or ten, or how many. Anyway, in the belief that this was something that is carved on a stone tablet somewhere as being one of those Well-Known Literary Truths, I asked my friend Google.
I could find plenty of discussion about this, but no consensus on the actual number. The main problem seems to be the definition of how detailed you get with the definition of the story plot.
However, Cecil Adams in The Straight Dope plot article explains it nicely and I do like his final words:
"My point is, never mind the 36, 20, 7, or whatever basic plots--take out sex, violence, and death and you lose 90 percent of literature right there."
But this is all just a preamble to this great little piece of writing I found.
Click on it to read it more easily.