Can't believe we missed this one.
Coppied from the Other Wiki
(cause I have trouble describing literary concepts). An epic is a long story centered on a heroic character that describes a series of exceptional events, similar to and suggestive of epic poetry. There are numerous epics in fiction and storytelling. Epics are majestic depictions and capture impressive struggles, such as stories of war, adventures, and other efforts of great scope and size over long periods of time.
Some basic guidelines:
- A longer-than-average story that:
- Is wide in scope (not just one battle or skirmish, but a war or a country-wide catastrophe) and
- Follows one hero, group of heroes or bloodline, who
- Strive to achieve a particular goal or complete a quest, in the course of which they
- Commit extraordinary deeds and
- Have multiple (three or more) separate adventures in the course of their quest or journey
Can be divided into a few different subgenres. The divisions also come in two flavors, Form and Subject. (may be subtropes/genres)
Form is mostly limited to literature and theater, and includes.
- Epic Poem (also known as classical Epic)
- Epic Narrative (also known as modern Epic)
Both forms can be devided by subject:
- Heroic (one person, may include companions, but focused on the person)
- Familial (follows a particular lineage)
- and National (follows the history of an entire nation, not common)
Need more modern examples, I know there are hundreds.
And feel free to edit.