Christopher John Penrice Booker (born 7 October 1937) is an English journalist and author. In 2004, he published The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. He wrote this Jungian-influenced analysis of stories and their psychological meaning after 30 years of analysis. Though dismissed by a number of journalistic reviewers, Booker’s book provides a framework for writers to follow. 

It was very interesting to read a summary of his biography. He is a seasoned journalist and has written on topics ranging from global warming to intelligent design to social issues.

Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots is a lengthy book. I suggest you get the summary if you need some guidance with your plot.

Here are Booker’s seven plots:

Overcoming the Monster

Hero learns of a great evil threatening the land, and sets out to destroy it.

Rags to Riches

Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero slowly blossoms into a mature figure who ultimately gets riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate.

The Quest

Hero learns of a great MacGuffin that he desperately wants to find, and sets out to find it, often with companions.

Voyage and Return

Hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home far more mature than when he set out.

Comedy

Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from achieving their goal. The story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they are.

Tragedy

In Overcoming the Monster plot, our protagonist character is the Villain, but we get to watch him spiral down into darkness before he’s finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence.

Rebirth

In the Tragedy plot, our protagonist manages to realize his error before it’s too late, and does a turn to avoid inevitable defeat.