The QUEST of Genre

I have written about Romance, Internal Genre, Action/Adventure, etc, and the more I think about different types of stories, the more I am convinced that every story is attempting to solve one of 2 questions. 1 question is internal, the other is external.

The QUEST is universal and exists in every story, because every story is attempting to solve 1 of 2 problems, and must do so through QUESTioning.

There are 2 Basic Types of Stories or 2 different problems that stories attempt to solve:

Problem #1: How to Love

This genre involves a person, (sometimes 2) who does not know how to love at the beginning, but by the end, knows how to love properly. This can be romantic love, family love, friend love, love of a cause, etc.

The QUESTion is ‘How do I love?’

The QUEST is learning to love.

Problem #2: How to Defeat an Enemy

This genre involves a protagonist who is confronted by something externally evil in the world that prevents him from fulfilling his true purpose in life. He must find a way to defeat this evil to live the love that he already knows how to give.

The QUESTion is ‘how will I face the evil, and how can I defeat it?’

The QUEST involves the process, failures and successes, of defeating the evil.


Sometimes a story deals with both elements, for example, a character may begin his story not knowing how to love as well as facing off against an external evil that is preventing him from finding the answer. By the end of the story, hopefully, he has defeated the evil and learned how to love.

I didn’t set out to prove this, and I didn’t expect to find it. I was just curious about why we tell stories. After all, what is our motivation for living and why do stories help us to find meaning? Ultimately, every story, in one way or another, is grappling with the question of how to love. Thus, everything, even story, comes back to love, for “the greatest of these is love.”

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