The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories is a 2004 book by Christopher Booker containing a Jungian-influenced analysis of stories and their psychological meaning. Booker had worked on the book for 34 years.
The meta-plot begins with the anticipation stage, in which the hero is called to the adventure to come. This is followed by a dream stage, in which the adventure begins, the hero has some success, and has an illusion of invincibility. However, this is then followed by a frustration stage, in which the hero has his first confrontation with the enemy, and the illusion of invincibility is lost. This worsens in the nightmare stage, which is the climax of the plot, where hope is apparently lost. Finally, in the resolution, the hero overcomes his burden against the odds.[
The key thesis of the book: “However many characters may appear in a story, its real concern is with just one: its hero or heroine. It is he with whose fate we identify, as we see him gradually developing towards that state of self-realization which marks the end of the story. Ultimately it is in relation to this central figure that all other characters in a story take on their significance. What each of the other characters represents is really only some aspect of the inner state of the hero or heroine themselves.”
The Seven Basic Plots are the basics of plotting:
Overcoming the Monster
Definition: The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist’s homeland.
Rags to Riches
Definition: The poor protagonist acquires power, wealth, and/or a mate, loses it all and gains it back, growing as a person as a result.
Definition: The protagonist and companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location. They face temptations and other obstacles along the way.
Voyage and Return
Definition: The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to them, they return with experience.
Examples: Ramayana, Alice in Wonderland, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Orpheus, The Time Machine, Peter Rabbit, The Hobbit, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Mad Max: Fury Road, Brideshead Revisited, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Gone with the Wind, The Third Man.[
Definition: Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion. Booker makes sure to stress that comedy is more than humor. It refers to a pattern where the conflict becomes more and more confusing but is at last made plain in a single clarifying event. The majority of romance films fall into this category.
Definition: The protagonist’s character flaw or great mistake which is their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly and the fall of a fundamentally good character.
Definition: An event forces the main character to change their ways and often become a better person.
Here is the link of the book should you wish to purchase it: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Basic-Plots-Tell-Stories/dp/0826480373