In his excellent book The Seven Basic Plots Christopher Booker looks at the composition of stories. He identifies the seven basic plots as; Overcoming The Monster, Rags To Riches, The Quest, Voyage And Return, Comedy, Tragedy and Rebirth. These are the basic building blocks of stories.
Some of the epic stories of our times combine many or all of the plots. For a story to gain depth and substance it needs to have several plots running alongside. Star Wars, for example, contains all of the plots. Some are more obvious than others, for example The Quest and Voyage And Return. Comedy is evident throughout, particularly in the character of C3PO.
Jaws is clearly Overcoming The Monster and The Quest. There are subtle plots in the film as well. Brody, the city cop who moves to the country for a quieter life is in awe of Quint, the shark hunter. In the early stages of The Quest he feels out of his depth and yet he survives and eventually overcomes The Monster. His joyous celebration is the start of his Rebirth as a hero. Steven Spielberg is a master of the basic plots.
The writing plot for this blog is to choose several plots and have them running alongside each other. Develop them in the first part of your story, show how they connect in the middle and bring them all together for the end.
What stories come to your mind when you think of The Seven Basic Plots?