The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

Posted on October 30, 2009


The Seven Basic PlotsI won’t pretend that this book doesn’t take some work, and at 736 large pages of small text, it certainly does. 

But Booker’s masterpiece is well worth the perseverance (and possibly a ten day holiday to Canada fit it into) for anyone interested in why we tell stories and which ones we tell.  Booker talks through a whole range of tales from archaic myth to modern films, linking them in ways that should have seemed so obvious at the time. 

He also manages to rekindle a desire to re-read a plethora of stories from The Snow Queen to Hamlet and anyone tackling this tome will find it opening up a variety of new ways of looking at stories.  And, unlike many books, the subject matter holds true – the seven plots are explained, examined and illuminated in a style and manner that is ultimately satisfying.

As we grapple with the latest technologies and try to understand the utility of Twitter, FriendFeed and the rest, it’s a sobering reminder that the very first stories relied only on word of mouth and viral marketing – they survived because of the content, not media innovation.

Posted in: Books, Communications