Thursday, 19 April 2012

The 7 Basic Plots:


Christopher Booker developed the notion that there were a small number of fundamental plots and it was impossible to break away from them. The seven basic plots form a universal language, a nucleus of situations which recur through human storytelling. Some stories like Lord Of The Rings, contain elements of all seven. When we attempt to write a story and somehow it seems to be going wrong, these plot types can provide clues.

1. Overcoming The Monster
  • The thriller genre utilises this plot.
2. Rags To Riches

3. The Quest

4. Voyage and Return

5. Comedy

6. Tragedy

7. Rebirth


For a better understanding of storytelling, I also recommend Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces - here he outlines what he calls the 'monomyth' and describes how all stories across human culture and time have the same origins.

If you only read one book on writing popular fiction, read The Seven Basic Plots.


(Booker, C., 2004. The Seven Basic Plots. London: Continuum.)

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