I recall that a few years back a friend was explaining how novels can fall into various categories depending on what the focus of the story is.

For example, one category he mentioned was where the focus of the story was the Quest. There’s a goal to be achieved, an enemy to be defeated, and the story is about “Will they make it?” A good example would be Lord of the Rings.

Another category was one where the point of the story is the development of the characters. How do they think? How does what happen to them change who they are? The events of the story solely serve as stimuli for change. Good examples are Crime and Punishment and Ender’s Game.

What are the names of these categories?

  • 1
    For your two categories, quest story and maybe Bildungsroman (also coming-of-age story). But there are lots and lots of categories and no agreed-on categorization.
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 5 at 15:45
  • Thanks! Want to post that as the answer? Jun 5 at 15:49
  • It might be better to split this up into two separate questions
    – bobble
    Jun 5 at 16:34
  • What would be the two questions? Jun 5 at 18:28
  • 1
    Christopher Booker argued that there are seven basic plots: fighting the monster, rags to riches, quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy, rebirth. Also note that the terms "focus" and "narration" could lead you into a different direction, as "focus" in narratology is often used when refering to issues of narrative perspective, most notably in Genette's theory of focalisation. Jun 5 at 21:05

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