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Plot (narrative): Wikis


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A literature term, a plot is all the events in a story particularly rendered toward the achievement of some particular artistic or emotional effect or general theme. An intricate, complicated plot is known as an imbroglio, but even the simplest statements of plot can have multiple inferences, such as with songs the ballad tradition.[citation needed]


Plot structure

Freytag's pyramid

Plot is often designed with a narrative structure, storyline or story arc, that includes exposition, conflict, rising action and climax, followed by a falling action and resolution.



Exposition is the beginning of the plot usually concerned with introducing characters and setting. These elements may be largely presented at the beginning of the story, or occur as a sort of incidental description throughout. Exposition may be handled in a variety of ways—perhaps a character or a set of characters explain the elements of the plot through dialogue or thought, media such as newspaper clippings, and diaries. In the case of film, an analogous usage of television, discovered video tape, or documentary may be used.

Rising Action

Rising Action is the central part of a story during which various problems arise, leading up to the climax.

Conflict is the "problem" in a story which triggers the action. There are five basic types of conflict: Person vs. Person: One character in a story has a problem with one or more of the other characters; Person vs. Society: A character has a conflict or problem with society-the school, the law, tradition; Person vs. Him or Herself: A character struggles inside and has trouble deciding what to do; Person vs. Nature: A character has a problem with some element of nature, a snowstorm, avalanche, bitter cold; Person vs. Fate A character has to battle what seems to be an uncontrolled problem.


The climax is the high point of the story, where a culmination of events create the peak of the conflict. The climax usually features the most conflict and struggle, and usually reveals any secrets or missing points in the story. Alternatively, an anti-climax may occur, in which an expectedly difficult event is revealed to be incredibly easy or of paltry importance. Critics may also label the falling action as an anti-climax, or anti-climactic. The climax isn't always the first important scene in a story. In many stories, it is the last sentence, with no successive falling action or resolution.

Falling action

The falling action is the part of a story following the climax. This part of the story shows the result of the climax, and its effects on the characters, setting and proceeding events. Critics may label a story with falling action as the anti-climax or anti-climactic if they feel that the falling action takes away from the power of the climax.


Etymologically, the French word dénouement is derived from the Old French word denoer, "to untie", and from nodus, Latin for "knot". In fiction, a dénouement consists of a series of events that follow the climax, and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. Simply put, dénouement is the unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot. Be aware that not all stories have a resolution.

Plot devices

A plot device is a literary technique used by authors to forward the plot of a story.

Plot outlines

A plot outline is a prose telling of a story to be turned into a screenplay. Sometimes called a one page (one page synopsis, about 1 - 3 pages). It is generally longer and more detailed than a standard synopsis (1 - 2 paragraphs), but shorter and less detailed than a treatment or a step outline. There are different ways to do these outlines and they vary in length.

In comics, an outline, often pluralized as outlines, refers to a stage in the development where the story has been broken down very loosely in a style similar to storyboarding in film development.

The pencils will be very loose (i.e., the sketch rough), the main aim being to lay out the flow of panels across a page, ensure the story successfully builds suspense and to work out points of view, camera angles and character positions within panels. This can also be referred to as a plot outline or a layout.


See also


  • Obstfeld, Raymond (2002). Fiction First Aid: Instant Remedies for Novels, Stories and Scripts. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 158297117x. 
  • Polking, K (1990). Writing A to Z. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 0898794358. 

External links


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