Are there only 7 basic plots?

The idea that there are only seven basic story plots has been popularized by a literary theorist named Christopher Booker. However, some scholars and writers argue that these archetypes are too limited and do not fully capture the diversity and complexity of storytelling. Despite this debate, here are the seven basic plots according to Booker:

  1. Overcoming the Monster: The protagonist must defeat a powerful enemy or evil force. Examples include Harry Potter defeating Voldemort and the Avengers battling Thanos.
  2. Rags to Riches: A character rises from a position of poverty or obscurity to one of wealth or power. Examples include a struggling salesman becoming a successful stockbroker in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and characters in “Grand Theft Auto V” who become rich through criminal activities.
  3. The Quest: The protagonist sets out on a journey to achieve a specific goal, often involving the search for a valuable object or a resolution to a problem. Examples include Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring in “The Lord of the Rings” and Link’s quest to defeat Calamity Ganon in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
  4. Voyage and Return: The protagonist travels to a strange land and returns to the familiar world. Examples include “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
  5. Comedy: The story is characterized by humor and amusing situations. Examples include “The Hangover” and “Bridesmaids.”
  6. Tragedy: The protagonist experiences a downfall or tragic ending. Examples include “Romeo and Juliet” and “Breaking Bad.”
  7. Rebirth: The protagonist undergoes a transformation or change. Examples include “A Christmas Carol” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

However, in recent years, there has been a push for more inclusive and diverse storytelling that challenges traditional archetypes and offers new perspectives and narratives. For instance, stories centered on marginalized communities are becoming more common and often subvert traditional archetypes. Additionally, there are many experimental and hybrid forms of storytelling emerging that offer new ways of engaging with storytelling, such as interactive fiction, transmedia storytelling, and hypertext literature.