Much has been written about the number of story templates out there. I do not intend to go into the merits of each offering here. I do, however, want to suggest that most stories fall within nine general types.
What I mean is that although the names, places, and finer grain of each individual story differ from those of the original, the basic structure of the narrative follows a similar pattern. Here are some influential stories that have so captured our imagination that they have created story types:
Dreams do come true, despite initial setbacks from wicked or opposing forces: Rocky, Pretty Woman.
2. Romeo and Juliet
Boy meets/wins/has girl, boy looses girl, or boy finds/doesn’t find girl: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle.
Selling your soul may bring short term riches and success, but there’s always a price to be paid, leading to ruin and damnation: Wall Street, Fatal Attraction.
“Story templates are narrative and thematic patterns born out of some of the most successful stories of all time.”
The spider and the fly; the victim and the manipulator; the temptress ensnaring the love-struck, or innocent victim, often seen in film noir: Body Heat, The Postman Always Rings Twice.
The theft of something precious, either lost, or taken away; the search to redeem it, and the tragedy or success which follows it: Rain Man.
Stories about love triangles — man loves a woman, but he or she is already spoken for: Fatal Attraction.
The hero who won’t stay down; the innocent on a mission; naive optimism winning the day: Indiana Jones, Forrest Gump.
The destruction, or endangerment of an otherwise good person, because of an inherent flaw: Superman, Othello, the protagonist in film noir.
Man’s attempt to rise to the level of God, ending in tragedy and failure: Frankenstein; Icarus.
All stories follow a pattern generated from source material. Mixing such material accounts for the structure of most stories being written today.