Stories, writing

Plot: Revenge

Revenge is one of the oldest dramatic situations. In fact, there are entire series of Ancient Greek plays dedicated to revenge. You can check out some of the other dramatic situations here.

  • The guilty party commits a wrongdoing against the avenger.

Revenge is highly versatile as a plot scenario. Your guilty party has done something unforgivable and now must pay the price. The avenger likely isn’t going to be satisfied by a simple apology either. The wrongdoing itself might be a simple crime such as stealing something or telling a lie, or it might be injuring, killing or humiliating another person.

Your characters can slide literally anywhere into the revenge formula. Your MC might be the guilty party. This gives you a lot of room to play with motivation, and character arcs. What caused your MC to commit this wrongdoing? Was it intentional? As the avenger in the situation, you again get to play with motivation. Why are they so upset over this crime? What drives them to seek revenge?

Most importantly however, the wrongdoing itself is open to characters. In some cases of revenge, the wrongdoing might not be something one character did directly to another, but rather a case of one character defending someone else from this wrongdoing. And again looking at your motivations, what happens when it’s members of the same family seeking revenge against each other?

As a main plot it’s pretty clear cut and easy to understand. Either your MC is seeking the guilty party to enact their revenge, or your MC is trying to find a way to avoid that revenge from the avenger.

As a minor plot it often shows up in character backgrounds and motivations. Characters seeking revenge against someone else might be the reason why they get involved in your main plot, or decide to help your MC out of a tight situation. It can also create conflict between characters to help amp up tension and stakes.


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