Plot Structure


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  • Plot is the literary element that describes the structure of a story. A plot diagram is an organizational tool, which is used to map the significant events in a story. By placing the most significant events from a story on the plot diagram, you can visualize the key features of the story.
  • Plot Structure

    1. 1. Teaching Plot Structure Through Short Stories Plot is the literary element that describes the structure of a story. It shows the a causal arrangement of events and actions within a story.
    2. 2. Types of Linear Plots <ul><li>Plots can be told in </li></ul>Chronological order Flashback In media res (in the middle of things) when the story starts in the middle of the action without exposition
    3. 3. Pyramid Plot Structure <ul><li>The most basic and traditional form of plot is pyramid-shaped. </li></ul><ul><li>This structure has been described in more detail by Aristotle and by Gustav Freytag. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Aristotle’s Unified Plot The basic triangle-shaped plot structure was described by Aristotle in 350 BCE. Aristotle used the beginning, middle, and end structure to describe a story that moved along a linear path, following a chain of cause and effect as it works toward the solution of a conflict or crisis.
    5. 5. Freytag’s Plot Structure Freytag modified Aristotle’s system by adding a rising action (or complication) and a falling action to the structure. Freytag used the five-part design shown above to describe a story’s plot.
    6. 6. Modified Plot Structure Freytag’s Pyramid is often modified so that it extends slightly before and after the primary rising and falling action. You might think of this part of the chart as similar to the warm-up and cool-down for the story.
    7. 7. Plot Components Exposition: the start of the story, the situation before the action starts Rising Action: the series of conflicts and crisis in the story that lead to the climax Climax: the turning point, the most intense moment—either mentally or in action Falling Action: all of the action which follows the climax Resolution: the conclusion, the tying together of all of the threads
    8. 8. Conflict <ul><li>Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Types of Conflict Human vs Nature Human vs Society Human vs Self Internal Conflict Human vs Human Interpersonal Conflict