WorkIt Wednesday: Create-a-Plot and Pushups

May 25, 2016

Chess Board - TwitterThis is a two-part WorkIt Wednesday, as always. For the physical part, my goal is to hit 100 pushups throughout the day. I can do a single pushup or all 100 at once (no, really, I can’t). As long as they’re all done by midnight, I reached my goal.

Define a pushup: Because not everyone is at the same level, you can do any type of pushup you want. Do you have some physical limitations? Do wall pushups. Maybe you have some minor lower back issues? Do knee or “girl” pushups. If you can, do the regular pushups. If you’re feeling really ambitious, go for one-handed pushups or another variation. You don’t have to do the same kind all the way through, either. Start out at the hardest level you can and, if you need to, finish up with wall pushups. The goal is to get all 100. There’s a good tutorial here.

Now for the written part of the day, inspired by this article on The Write Life. Depending on which resource you go to, there are only seven/ twenty/ thirty-six plots in literature. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going with seven for this exercise. Also, because I’m a simple Figment, I’m referring to all humans as “man”. Feminists, I salute you, but writing all those bracketed [wo]man gives me a headache.

According to, here are the seven:

  1. Man vs nature
  2. Man vs man
  3. Man vs the environment
  4. Man vs himself
  5. Man vs machines
  6. Man vs supernatural
  7. Man vs god/God

Some of these seem repetitious, but work with me. (Only a few decades ago, school children were taught man vs man, man vs himself, man vs nature. I guess “supernatural” and “machines” are two different ones. I don’t really see seven here.)

According to Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots, there are seven completely different plots:

  1. Overcoming the monster (man vs the supernatural?)
  2. Rags to riches (man vs himself?)
  3. The Quest (man vs the environment?)
  4. Voyage and Return (man vs god/God?)
  5. Comedy
  6. Tragedy
  7. Rebirth

The writing portion of your WorkIt Wednesday (and mine) is to take a story idea you already have and put it through all seven plot ideas. Because enough people are familiar with Pride and Prejudice, let’s use that as an example.

On its own, Pride and Prejudice is either man vs man (Darcy’s prejudice versus Lizzie’s pride) or man vs himself (each learning to overcome their own shortcomings). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes the same story and makes it man vs the supernatural. What if there was a sudden blight or illness in England? It might change to man vs nature or the environment. It’s a bit of a stretch to picture it as man vs machines, but let’s make it Steampunk Pride and Prejudice for that one. If you want to change it to man vs god/God, maybe Darcy questions his morality in the story. You could do the same for the Booker list.

Your assignment is to take your basic work in progress and morph it into each of the seven plots. Again, you can use either list, but use the same list throughout. If you want, share your mutations here. I may share mine next week. You can use the original The Write Life article for ideas on how to morph your story.

How did you do last week? Did you make your goals?


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