I’d like to share brief notes on what i learned while participating Brand Storytelling training.
So it seems, all different stories have anything in common.
Christopher Booker says in his book, “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (2004”) he explains that “there are indeed a small number of plots which are so fundamental to the way we tell stories that it is virtually impossible for any storyteller ever to break away from them”.
What are this Seven Basic Plots?
Here are the excerpt from the relevant chapter.
1. Overcoming the Monster
There is an evil force threatening our hero/their world/mankind. The hero must fight and slay this monster, which often isn’t easy, but they come out triumphant, and receive a great reward. Think Beowulf, Dracula and King Kong.
2. Rags to Riches
This one is fairly self-explanatory: at the beginning, our hero is insignificant and dismissed by others, but something happens to elevate them, revealing them to be exceptional. Think The Ugly Duckling, Aladdin and Superman.
3. The Quest
In the quest, our hero must set out on a long, hazardous journey, and will battle all obstacles until they are triumphant. Think The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter.
4. Voyage and Return
While also based on a journey, the Voyage and Return is very different from The Quest. Here, the hero travels out of their ‘normal world’ into the overwhelming and unknown, before escaping back to the safety of their home. Think Alice in Wonderland, Finding Nemo and Gulliver’s Travels.
A story made up of comedic events, normally involving mistaken identity, misunderstanding or confusion, resulting in hilarious chaos. Think A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Some Like It Hot.
This is the story without the happy ending. While our other archetypes have seen triumphant heroes and slain monsters, this plot takes a different turn, and ends in loss or death. Think Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Breaking Bad.
Our final plot type, rebirth, sees our hero ‘falling under a dark spell’ – whether this is sleep, sickness or enchantment – before breaking free and being redeemed. Think Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden.
Of course, stories don’t always use one clear-cut plot. They can be a complicated combination of lots of different archetypes. But i believe this gave you introduction about Seven Basic Story Plots in Brand Storytelling.
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