Basic Plot Structure – Voyage and Return

Booker's Voyage and ReturnChristopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is ‘Voyage and Return.’ In this type of plot, the main character enters another land where normal rules don’t apply. This ‘dream world’ is often very different from his own home. The character must overcome threats. He conquers or escapes the world before returning home a more mature person.

In the new land, logic and common sense don’t apply. The hero must ask for advice from allies. Unfortunately, these are often tricksters that lead the character into deeper trouble.

‘Voyage and Return’ is common in children’s books. The plot helps the reader conquer fears such as being afraid of the dark, storms, going to new places, and so on.

Plot Description

This video shows heroes from several popular movies.


  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Orpheus and Eurydice
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Cast Away
  • The Hobbit
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • Chronicles of Narnia [The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe]
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Back to the Future 


Students create a staggered flip organizer that explains Booker’s plot ‘Voyage and Return.’ The organizer also contains a page for students to list examples from literature or pop culture. Next students answer a ‘Digging Deeper” question. For this lesson, the question asks students to compare and contrast two of Booker’s plots ‘The Quest’ to ‘Voyage and Return.’ Finally three outline pages provide practice.

Get the printable here.

Free Mini-Lesson on Booker's Voyage and Return Plot StructureI hope you have a fantastic year! Enjoy reading.

Gay Miller

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