Basic Plot Structure Overcoming the Monster

Basic Plot Structure – Overcoming the Monster

Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is Overcoming the Monster. In this plot, the main character sets out to defeat the evil bad guy. This antagonist usually harms others that get in his way. This selfish character sometimes causes a threat to the hero’s homelandThe selfless hero rescues others such as a princess or destroys a terrifying beast.


  • evil humans – Boogies, Bunce, and Bean from Fantastic Mr. Fox, Miss Trunchbull from Matilda
  • mythological creature – Cyclops, Kronos from The Lightning Thief
  • folklore – vampires, witches, werewolves
  • religious monsters – demons
  • aliens – Predators, Megamind
  • wild creatures – bears, sharks

The “monster” may even be a problem that the main character has to overcome. The battle becomes an internal struggle. An example of this is The Goldfish Boy. Matthew suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He refuses to go to school. Matthew doesn’t even leave the house. Matthew struggles with overcoming his OCD to help find a lost toddler. He battles this internal monster and wins.

Overcoming the Monster Mini Lesson with Organizers


Students create a staggered flip organizer that explains Booker’s plot ‘The Quest.’ The organizer also contains a page for students to list examples from literature or pop culture. Next students answer a ‘Digging Deeper” question. For this lesson, the question asks students to think more about the quest plot. Finally, three outline pages provide practice.

Get the printable here.

Overcoming the Monster Examples 

James Bond:

James Bond is a secret agent who faces various villains and organizations, such as the terrorist group Spectre, in order to protect the world from their evil plans.

Jack and the Beanstalk:

In this classic fairy tale, Jack climbs a giant beanstalk to confront and defeat a giant who is terrorizing the village.

The Dark is Rising:

Will Stanton is a young boy who discovers he is the last of a group of ancient warriors known as the Old Ones. He must confront and defeat the forces of the Dark, led by the Rider, in order to save the world from eternal darkness.


The protagonist, Chief Brody, must confront and defeat a great white shark that is terrorizing the beach and killing people.

King Kong:

In this classic tale, a giant ape named King Kong must be captured and brought back to civilization but ultimately escapes and wreaks havoc on the city.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff:

The three goats must overcome a fearsome troll in order to safely cross a bridge and reach their destination.

Star Wars:

The protagonist, Luke Skywalker, must confront and defeat the evil Darth Vader and the Empire in order to save the galaxy.

David and Goliath:

In this biblical story, the young shepherd David defeats the giant Goliath in a battle, against all odds.


Coraline must confront and defeat the Other Mother, a terrifying and manipulative entity that wants to trap her in an alternate reality forever.


The Avengers, a team of superheroes, must confront and defeat powerful villains, such as Thanos and Loki, in order to save the world.

The Witches:

The protagonist, a young boy, must confront and defeat a group of witches who are plotting to turn all children into mice.

A Series of Unfortunate Events:

The Baudelaire children must overcome various villains, such as Count Olaf, who is after their inheritance and trying to harm them.

In each of these stories, the protagonist is faced with a powerful and threatening monster or antagonist that must be overcome in order to achieve their goals and save the day. These stories often involve a lot of action, suspense, and excitement, making them popular among young readers and viewers.

Here is the link to the handout again.

Get the printable here.

Jump to the plot you are interested in using these links.

Gay Miller

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