Wednesday 2 March 2011

Christopher Booker’s Story Theory

Booker’s life work has been writing his book, The Seven Basic Plots. The first part starts off pinpointing what he believes these seven plots are:
Overcoming the Monster
Journey and Return
The Quest
Rags to Riches
Within these plots is a similar story arc – not that different from the ones already indicated by Joseph Campbell, Robert McKee, Vladimir Propp and Christopher Vogler. As one might expect, the “resolution” of tragedy is destruction. The basic pattern is adjusted for each type of story – for example, “Overcoming the Monster” has:
The call
Initial success
Final Ordeal
Miraculous escape
“Voyage and return” has
Dream stage
Frustrations stage
Nightmare stage
Thrilling escape and return
As you can see, similar to McKee’s arc but slightly adjusted to suit the particular type of story.
Booker’s sub-title is “Why We Tell Stories”. He gives a reasonable account of what creates a need for story in human beings. That is an interesting theme that I personally would like to explore further.

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