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Discovering Plot

Sep 1, 2022
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A story can be defined as a sequence of events in your narrative. The purpose of a plot is to sustain a story and bring it to life. ‘What happens next?’ is the basic ‘story’ inquiry.  

The plot is what happens in a story: the sequence of events. ‘Why’ is the basic question we ask regarding a plot.  

Here’s how a brilliant writer, EM Forster, author of A Room With A View, defined the basic difference. He defines, a plot as “a narrative of events, with the emphasis on causality… The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died and the queen died of grief is a plot. 

Let us take a deep look at what the term plot means now: 

A plot is a literary expression of a story’s principal events. It’s also referred to as the storyline. The plot is shaped by the author of the story, who arranges events in a meaningful way, like the beads in a necklace are arranged to shape the story. This means that not every story is told in the same chronological order. While the events of a story may unfold in a variety of ways, all plots generally have four stages: a conflict, the rising action, the climax, and the resolution

Let us take a look at how to discover a plot using these plot elements:

Conflict

Conflict is present in almost all stories. This conflict appears at the start of a story and takes the shape of barriers or problems that the protagonists must overcome. Conflicts can be of two types: internal conflicts, such as those between a character and himself; external conflicts, such as those between two or more characters. For example, the main conflict in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is between Snow White and the Wicked Queen. A story usually has one primary conflict, though there may be other minor conflicts among the characters. In a story, conflict builds tension, which gives the plot momentum and encourages the reader to keep reading. 

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The Rising Action

The rising action in a story is a series of related events that led up to the climax once the conflict has been created. In a murder mystery, the rising action might be the clues a detective uncovers before determining who committed the crime. The tension and suspense in a novel continue to rise as the action escalates. This moves the story forward and sets up the climax, which is the most crucial portion of the story. 

The Climax

The climax is the story’s turning point when the suspense and action are at their peak. In many stories, the climax is also a pivotal moment for the protagonists or a time at which something significant shifts. The climax of a murder mystery could be the moment a detective realizes who the culprit is. During the climax, the character’s decisions and the situation they find themselves in typically influence how their story will conclude. If the detective approaches the killer, for example, the actions he makes during the confrontation will determine whether he wins or the killer escapes. 

Resolution

Following the climax, the main character’s tension begins to dissolve. This is regarded as the falling action stage, which leads to the story’s resolution. Conflicts are settled, riddles are solved, and the story’s tension is released during the resolution. The resolution is an important aspect of the story since it tells the reader how the major characters deal with the fallout from the climactic events as well as how the story concludes. 

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