Plot: Everything You Need to Know
This is a term that stands for the upsurge and down-surge of action present in literary writings. It refers to the way a writer develops a sequence of events in a story. Thus, one can define a plot as the storyline. Typically, an author develops a plot to structure his story in such a way that it piques the reader’s interest. However, a plot isn’t just about combining a series of events. It must present an action, event, or turning point that gives rise to a dramatic question or creates conflict, leading to subsequent events linked to each other as a way of “answering” the dramatic question and conflict. Typically, the arc of a story’s plot involves a causal relationship between the start, middle, and end in which the conflict is developed to a climax and resolved in conclusion.
A plot isn’t just a sequence of random incidents. Instead, they must have a cause-and-effect relationship with the plot points. For instance, the king died, and then the queen died won’t be called a plot. However, the king died, which made the queen grief-stricken, as a result, she died, is a plot because it reveals a cause-and-effect relationship between the series of events.
According to Gustav Freytag, a German novelist, the plot of a story should have a five-step architecture:
· Exposition: This is the story’s introduction where the characters and settings are established, and the seeds of conflict are planted.
· Rising Action: This presents a central conflict between one or more characters or within a solitary character that escalates and pushes the rest of the story forward.
· Climax: This is the stage where the conflict reaches its peak, and there appears to be no feasible solution to it.
· Falling Action: This follows the climax where subplots and mini-conflicts are resolved to take the story forward toward its conclusion.
· Denouement: Also called the resolution, this is the end of the story where the conflict is usually resolved.
Though almost unlimited stories have been created since the dawn of time, all of them can be classified into a few master plots. Some popular ones are rags-to-riches plots where the poor protagonists become successful or rich, an example being Great Expectations; the quest plots where the protagonists embark on a journey or quest, such as in Finding Nemo!; and rebirth or redemption plots where themes of new beginnings and renewal are prevalent like A Christmas Carol.