Tragi-Comedy 8-Point Plot Outline

by Amanda

Hi there,

I've gone through the 8-point plot outline for my story, which I've decided is a sort of comi-tragedy(the main character achieves the story goal, but later finds out that it's a bad thing).

In this case, it's because in order to achieve the story goal, the main character has to stop trusting her intuition and fit into the position she is forced into by her organization (which is not a good thing, but essential for the story goal).

The story itself is about her learning how to claim her identity for herself and trust her intuition (which might be explored over more stories later?) and this story ends with her leaving the organization, which she realizes is corrupt in some way.

My question is, how do I approach the 8-point plot outline with this in mind? Is this still a comi-tragedy if the main character achieves the "bad" story goal but, at the very end, decides to trust herself after all? How would I incorporate this into the plot of my story more?

Thank you for any insight you could give me!


Comi-tragedy means that the story goal is achieved (outcome of success), but the main character ends up in a worse place. So your main character will do what is needed to achieve the goal and avoid the consequence, but in order to do so she decides at her personal crisis to disregard her intuition. Moreover, we will need to see in the end that, in terms of her own good, she made the wrong choice. Perhaps she realizes the cost to herself was too great. Perhaps she discovers after the climax that the goal was not actually aligned
with her values, or that what's good for the world turns out to be bad for her. Maybe this is what makes her decide to never go against her intuition again (in later stories). But in terms of this story, the success is made hollow by the main character's discomfort in the end.

A good example of a comi-tragedy is Romeo and Juliet, in which the goal of ending the feud is achieved, but it costs Romeo and Juliet their lives. There are also plenty of jaded action heroes who perhaps win the war only to discover they were fighting on the wrong side.

When you're working out the 8 elements, keep in mind that they describe the overall story, which involves or affects most of the characters. This is that story of the effort to achieve the Story Goal. It may be that the organization is the protagonist in this story, though not the main characters.

The main character's arc will be a little different. Maybe she is someone who's initial approach is to do her duty to the organization. But in the course of the story, she is pressured, perhaps by an impact character, to trust her intuition instead -- which may be telling her to doubt the organization's motives. At some point, she must decide the impact character is giving her bad advice and choose to set her intuition aside in order to do her duty, which results in success. But then she discovers in the end that the impact character was right all along and she should have listened.

You might even end the story with the main character deciding she needs to leave the organization.

Hope that clarifies it.

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