Plot Structure


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This provides an introduction to plot structure. ReadWriteThink is the source of much of the information as well as the graphics.

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  • Exposition: The mood and conditions existing at the beginning of the story. The setting is identified. The main characters with their positions, circumstances and relationships to one another are established. The exciting force or initial conflict is introduced. Sometimes called the “Narrative HOOK” this begins the conflict that continues throughout the story. Rising Action: The series of events, conflicts, and crises in the story that lead up to the climax, providing the progressive intensity, and complicate the conflict. Climax: The turning point of the story. A crucial event takes place and from this point forward, the protagonist moves toward his inevitable end. The event may be either an action or a mental decision that the protagonist makes. Falling Action/Denouement: The events occurring from the time of the climax to the end of the story. The main character may encounter more conflicts in this part of the story, but the end is inevitable. Resolution: The tying up of loose ends and all of the threads in the story. The conclusion. The hero character either emerges triumphant or is defeated at this point.
  • Plot Structure

    1. 1. Plot StructureUsing Freytag’s Pyramid
    2. 2. Plot StructurePlot is the literary element that describesthe structure of a story. It shows thecausal arrangement of events and actionswithin a story.It’s like the framework that the story isbuilt around. The better the framework,the better the story.
    3. 3. Where does conflict fit?• Plot structure is formed around conflict.• Plot introduces the conflict, develops it, and finally resolves it.
    4. 4. Gustav Freytag yatego.comA nineteenth century German novelist,Freytag saw common patterns in theplots of stories and novels anddeveloped a diagram (Freytag’spyramid) to analyze them.He diagrammed a storys plot using apyramid like the one shown on the nextslide.
    5. 5. Freytag’s PyramidFreytag’s Pyramid uses a five-part system todescribe a story’s plot.This graphic organizer matches the way stories areconstructed: The climax is the high point, and it’ssurrounded by rising and falling action.
    6. 6. Modified Freytag PyramidFreytag’s Pyramid is often modified so that itextends slightly before and after the primaryrising and falling action.You might think of this part of the chart assimilar to the warm-up and cool-down for thestory.
    7. 7. Plot Structure Components Turning Point/Climax: the place where the plot turns or “changes direction” because after this point, the story is moving towards resolution. It is the event that the rising action builds up to and that the falling action follows. Rising Action: the series of Falling Action: events that conflicts and crises in the story happen as a result of the climax that lead to the turning point. as the conflict grows closer to being resolved.Exposition: setting the scene. The Resolution: the main conflict iswriter introduces the characters solved or resolved.and setting, providing descriptionand background.
    8. 8. Two more parts We are going to include two additional parts to Freytag’s pyramid.• Inciting incident – tied to the exposition, it is something happens to begin the action. A single event usually signals or causes the beginning of the main conflict. The inciting incident is sometimes called the complication. On the pyramid, it is after exposition, before rising action.• Denouement - (a French term, pronounced: day-noo-mon) the ending. At this point, any remaining secrets, questions or mysteries which remain after the resolution are solved by the characters or explained by the author. Sometimes the author leaves us to think about the THEME or future possibilities for the characters. It’s next to resolution on the pyramid.
    9. 9. Complete Pyramid