Jungian writer Christopher Booker, in his 2004 book, Seven Basic Plots, lists the universal narratives that can be found across geographies.
Although we need to look beyond Booker’s plots to local mythologies and narrative archetypes, these 7 plots are a very useful tool to start working on a brand foundational narrative. These plots are:
Overcoming the Monster
A great evil is threatening the land, and the hero must destroy it.
Rags to Riches
Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero remains virtuous in the face of evil and ultimately wins riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate.
The hero learns of a Grail that he desperately wants to find, and sets out on a journey of discovery, often with companions.
Voyage and Return
The hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home, having achieved greater maturity and wisdom.
The hero and Heroine are destined to be together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires through comical situations to overcome the dark force, and set the hero and heroine free.
The flip side of the Overcoming the Monster plot. Our protagonist is the villain, but we get to watch him slowly spiral down into darkness before he is finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence.
As with the Tragedy plot, but our protagonist manages to realize his error before it’s too late, and repents to avoid inevitable defeat.