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Common Dramatic Situations

A play isn't just a bunch of people standing around talking. Something has to happen! Over the years, a number of people have said that there is only a small set of basic situations that are at the root of all stories. The following are some of the situations that a French man named Georges Polti came up with. Maybe they will give you some ideas as you are writing your play.

  1. Unfortunate Person Rescued from Trouble
  2. Unwise Actions with Bad Results
  3. Ambition
  4. Revenge for a Crime
  5. The Fugitive / Pursuit
  6. Mistaken Jealousy
  7. Mistaken Judgment
  8. Loss of Loved Ones
  9. Recovery of a Lost One
  10. Getting Something Through Persuasion or Force
  11. Hatred between Family Members
  12. Rivalry between Family Members
  13. Self-Sacrifice for an Ideal
  14. Self-Sacrifice for a Family Member
  15. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones
  16. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
  17. Obstacles to Love
  18. Crimes of Love
  19. Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
  20. Conflict with God
  21. Mystery
  22. Revolt
  23. Daring Hero
  24. Abduction
  25. Total Disaster


More Help With Playwriting

Your teacher may have examples of plays that you can look at.

You may also want to visit the Playwriting Seminars web site for advice.