What is a Plot?
If you are currently wondering, “WHAT IS A PLOT?” we’ve got the answer!
Plot as a literary term is defined as the structure of events that make up the movements of a story through time; characters and settings are organized around the plot in a logical pattern of cause-and-effect. Plots can be simple or complex in structure. A complex plot with many interrelated elements is sometimes called an imbroglio. Plot is also sometimes referred to as a storyline.
Five essential elements of plot:
- Exposition/Introduction: In the exposition, the setting and characters (especially the main character, known as the protagonist) are introduced, as well as the main problem, conflict or goal of the story.
- Rising Action: The rising action phase of a story involves an inciting incident. The inciting incident pushes the plot into motion, events begin to build, the protagonist takes action, and the plot becomes more complex. During this phase, there is often a sense of tension.
- Climax: The climax is the turning point of the story. It involves a “climax” (hence the name) – the central struggle. The protagonist faces the main challenge which will eventually lead to the outcome or goal of the story. Typically, this is the most emotional part of the story and it often involves the most action.
- Falling Action: The story begins to wind down, loose ends get tied up, events are resolved and we learn the results of the protagonists’ actions.
- Denoument/Conclusion: In the denoument, the conflict ends and the problem or goal is resolved (could be positive, negative or neutral). This is the end of the story.
Without plot, there is no story.
In a story, something has to happen; otherwise, it’s not a story. Plot includes the events of the story and conveys the key themes, messages, and meaning of the narrative. A plot is what gives a story its energy and emotion. A good plot engages readers so they want to know what will happen next.
So – now you know the answer to “What is a Plot?” Yay!
Did you like this article, “What is a Plot?” Then you might also like “Elements of a Story Explained” which covers Setting, Character, Plot, Conflict, Theme, Point-of-View, Tone, and Style. Or, check out this perfectly printable PDF of the elements of a story. You might also like 10 Steps to an A+ Essay.