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  1. 1. Plot (narrative) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search A literary 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] Contents [hide] 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 Main article: Exposition (literary technique) 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. [edit] Rising Action Main article: Conflict (narrative) 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. [edit] Climax Main article: Climax (narrative) 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
  2. 2. 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. [edit] Falling action Main article: 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. [edit] Resolution Main article: Dénouement 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. [edit] Plot devices Main article: Plot device A plot device is a literary technique used by authors to forward the plot of a story. [edit] 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. [edit] Notes [edit] See also • Dramatic structure • Narrative • Narrative structure • Plot hole • Storyline • Subplot
  3. 3. • The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, which is Georges Polti's categorization of every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. References • 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. WHAT IS PLOT? According to the dictionary, plot is the plan of action for a play, novel, poem, short story, etc. When we read a story, we continue reading because we are waiting for the resolution of a conflict, or the solution to a mystery, a moral to the story, or just a plain "happy ending"! This is what keeps us reading the story! One way you can build a good story is by having a believable character with a problem or situation that is solved by the character's own bravery or cleverness. To make the story really good, sometimes the character tries several ways to solve his problem, and fails. Let's take a look at some favorite stories and their plots. Cinderella is a favorite story that has many versions all over the world. Is there a character that we can care about? Yes! We have Cinderella who is orphaned and lives with her cruel step-mother and step-sisters. Does she have a problem? She sure does! She needs to get out of her current living situation, but how can she? Different versions tell different stories about how CInderella escapes
  4. 4. from her wicked step-mother. Some versions even have the step- mother and step-sisters end up "getting theirs" in the end. A very well loved story world wide, yet very simple. How about Jack in the Beanstalk? Poor father-less Jack, lives with his mother in poverty. His adventures with magic beans and his own cleverness result in him becoming rich (at the expense of the giant). What about those Three Little Pigs? In this story, we have three main characters (pigs), but the one who we really become attached to is the "third little pig". He is the most clever and builds his house out of bricks. He is able to save his brothers from being the wolf's dinner through his own hard work and cleverness. In the end the wolf leaves and the three little pigs live happily ever after! (I just love that story!) As you get to be a better story writer, you can try making stories with trick endings that surprise the reader;or you can make the "problem" actually a decision that your character has to make. Things to remember when writing a good story: • Care about your characters. No one will care about your plot unless they care about your characters. Don't have too many characters, though. You'll confuse your reader! • Does your story make sense? • Don't make the ending too predictable. Your readers will be disappointed. The Importance of 'Plot' in Stories The plot is the main story of a piece of writing. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the beginning, we learn about the characters, the setting, and typically, about a
  5. 5. problem or problems that our hero needs to resolve. In the middle is where most of the action takes place. Here is where our hero discovers that his his problem is not so easily solved! The ending is where our hero finally resolves the problem, or problems, and lives happily ever after. (Well, at least is fairy tales.) Let's read a story and play around with the plot a little: In Meet Addy, •With a partner, read Meet Addy. Momma and •After reading the story, go back and pick a Addy try a wrong choice. daring escape from slavery •Brainstorm on your own or with a partner after Poppa and some things that could have happened instead, as a result of that choice being Sam are sold made. to another plantation •Rewrite the story from the point of that choice. Since the beginning of the story owner. They remains the same, you will be re-writing need only the middle and the end of the story. courage and faith to travel •Edit, revise, and write your final draft. Be north to prepared to share your story. freedom. Can they overcome each challenge and
  6. 6. gain that freedom? To find out, travel with them on their dangerous journey. , TSA Writing Tips - Twenty Basic Plots IDEAS, PLOTS & USING THE PREMISE SHEETS
  7. 7. After you come up with your own system for generating ideas, the next step is to put them in some recognizable story form (the basic plot idea), build your central conflict (the story premise sheet), then build your character and underlying themes (the thematic premise sheet. #1 QUEST - the plot involves the Protagonist's search for a person, place or thing, tangible or intangible (but must be quantifiable, so think of this as a noun; i.e., immortality). #2 ADVENTURE - this plot involves the Protagonist going in search of their fortune, and since fortune is never found at home, the Protagonist goes to search for it somewhere over the rainbow. #3 PURSUIT - this plot literally involves hide-and-seek, one person chasing another. #4 RESCUE - this plot involves the Protagonist searching for someone or something, usually consisting of three main characters - the Protagonist, the Victim & the Antagonist. #5 ESCAPE - plot involves a Protagonist confined against their will who wants to escape (does not include some one trying to escape their personal demons). #6 REVENGE - retaliation by Protagonist or Antagonist against the other for real or imagined injury. #7 THE RIDDLE - plot involves the Protagonist's search for clues to find the hidden meaning of something in question that is deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous. #8 RIVALRY - plot involves Protagonist competing for same object or goal as another person (their rival). #9 UNDERDOG - plot involves a Protagonist competing for an object or goal that is at a great disadvantage and is faced with overwhelming odds. #10 TEMPTATION - plot involves a Protagonist that for one reason or another is induced or persuaded to do something that is unwise, wrong or immoral. #11 METAMORPHOSIS - this plot involves the physical characteristics of the Protagonist actually changing from one form to another (reflecting their inner psychological identity). #12 TRANSFORMATION - plot involves the process of change in the Protagonist as they journey through a stage of life that moves them from one significant character state to another. #13 MATURATION - plot involves the Protagonist facing a problem that is part of growing up, and from dealing with it, emerging into a state of adulthood (going from innocence to experience). #14 LOVE - plot involves the Protagonist overcoming the obstacles to love that keeps them from consummating (engaging in) true love. #15 FORBIDDEN LOVE - plot involves Protagonist(s) overcoming obstacles created by social mores and taboos to consummate their relationship (and sometimes finding it at too high a price to live with).
  8. 8. #16 SACRIFICE - plot involves the Protagonist taking action(s) that is motivated by a higher purpose (concept) such as love, honor, charity or for the sake of humanity. #17 DISCOVERY - plot that is the most character-centered of all, involves the Protagonist having to overcome an upheavel(s) in their life, and thereby discovering something important (and buried) within them a better understanding of life (i.e., better appreciation of their life, a clearer purpose in their life, etc.) #18 WRETCHED EXCESS - plot involves a Protagonist who, either by choice or by accident, pushes the limits of acceptable behavior to the extreme and is forced to deal with the consequences (generally deals with the psychological decline of the character). #19 ASCENSION - rags-to-riches plot deals with the rise (success) of Protagonist due to a dominating character trait that helps them to succeed. #20 DECISION - riches-to-rags plot deals with the fall (destruction) of Protagonist due to dominating character trait that eventually destroys their success. (Note: Sometimes #19 & #20 are combined into rags-to-riches-to-rags (or vice versa) of a Protagonist who does (or doesn't) learn to deal with their dominating character trait.) For an in-depth look at these plots, read the excellent "20 Master Plots and How To Build Them" by Ronald B. Tobias available through the TSA Writers Store.
  9. 9. Exposition (literary technique) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2009) Exposition is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse, along with argumentation, description, and narration.It is also used for speeches. The purpose of exposition is to provide some background and inform the readers about the plot, character, setting, and theme of the essay/story or motion picture.
  10. 10. Contents [hide] • 1 Nonf iction expo sition • 1 • 2 Expo sition in fictio n • 2 • 2 • 2 • 3 Inclu ing • 4 See also • 5 Furth er readi ng • 6 Notes [edit] Nonfiction exposition [edit] Types of expository writing • Sequence writing lists or steps in chronological order or how they happen. • Descriptive essays use the senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste to provide the reader with a mental image or feeling about the subject. • Classification writing uses an organizational strategy to arrange groups of objects or ideas according to a common theme. • Comparison writing shows the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. • Cause-and-effect writing, also known as analysis, identifies the reasons for an event or situation. Conflict: middle resolution:end Lecture dosent always occure at end the setting is exposition complications:middle shape and order exposition: beginning
  11. 11. [edit] Exposition in fiction [edit] Exposition as a fiction-writing mode Within the context of fiction, exposition is the fiction-writing mode for conveying information. According to Robert Kernen, "Exposition can be one of the most effective ways of creating and increasing the drama in your story. It can also be the quickest way to kill a plot's momentum and get your story bogged down in detail. Too much exposition, or too much at one time, can seriously derail a story and be frustrating to the reader or viewer eager for a story to either get moving or move on." (Kernen 1999, p. 57) Exposition in fiction may be delivered through various means. As noted by Ansen Dibell, the simplest way is to just place the information between scenes as the all-seeing, all-knowing (but impersonal and invisible) narrator.(Dibell 1988, p. 51) Jessica Page Morrell has observed that various devices, such as trial transcriptions, newspaper clippings, letters, and diaries may be used to convey information.(Morrell 2006, p. 94) Another means of delivering information is through a character, either as dialogue or through the character's thoughts.(Dibell 1988, p. 51-52) [edit] Information dump When the presentation of information in fiction becomes wordy, it is sometimes referred to as an "information dump," "exposition dump," or "plot dump." Information dumps expressed by characters in dialogue or monologue are sometimes referred to as "idiot lectures." Information dumps are sometimes placed at the beginning of stories as a means of establishing the premise of the plot. In serial television drama, exposition in individual episodes often appears as a brief montage of scenes from earlier episodes, prefaced with the phrase "Previously on [name of series]." Villain speech is a specific form of exposition in which the villain describes his sinister plans to a helpless hero, often prefacing his exposition with the comment that it can't hurt to divulge the plan, since the hero will be dead soon anyway (or the plan will be impossible to stop in the short time available). The villain's motivation sometimes includes his desire to have his cleverness admired by the character most capable of appreciating it. Examples include Comic book supervillains and villains in James Bond movies. In television, information dumps are common in sit-coms with the introduction of non-recurring characters which drive the comedic plot of a particular episode. An example would be the use of the narrator in Arrested Development to sum up the revelations and inner thoughts of characters in order to keep the viewer tuned to the plot. In television sketch comedy, which borrows from the tradition of vaudeville comedy, exposition in the most exaggerated sense is used for outrageous comedic effect. Stories which are concerned with the unearthing of a secret past sometimes include lengthy exposition sequences. These may include large quantities of exposition, complete with theorizing about the implications of the information. Examples include: • Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code • Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash • Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum [edit] Parodies of information dump The Austin Powers film series has a character named Basil Exposition whose job was to repeatedly plot dump as a parody of the process in movies with serious plots. The series Mystery Science Theater 3000 always mocked movies that made blatant use of this practice. For example, in Parts: The Clonus Horror, there is a scene where a character views a
  12. 12. videotape that explains the organization's origins and purpose in painstaking detail, basically providing all of the necessary exposition in one fell swoop. Tom Servo quips, "Good thing he wandered into the Department of Backstory!" At the beginning of another MST3k movie, Riding with Death, an extra consults a computer file containing information about the movie's protagonist for completely unexplained reasons (other than providing exposition). Once again, Servo notes this by referring to the computer as the "Backstory Database". Plot dumps are parodied in the movie Spaceballs when Colonel Sandurz explains a plan to Dark Helmet, though Dark Helmet should have already known the plan. Dark Helmet then faces the camera and, breaking the fourth wall, asks the audience "Everybody got that?" to parody the true purpose of the plot dump. The "villain speech" is criticized in the film Last Action Hero, where the police traitor, John Practice, reveals his evil plan to Jack Slater and Danny, to which the latter retorts that it's a classic mistake made by villains. Also, in The Incredibles, several characters negatively denote "monologing" as a villain's speech that goes on for too long and distracts him from realizing the superhero is escaping. Several villains in the Nickelodeon series Danny Phantom have been prone to plot dumping, especially the recurring technology ghost, Nicolai Technus. This is made into a running gag in the episode "Identity Crisis." In that episode, Technus claims to have upgraded himself, one of the advantages of the upgrade being that he would no longer shout his nefarious plot into the sky. He was able to maintain this for most of the episode (at one point even criticizing Danny for shouting something into the air himself), but eventually dictates his plot to himself near victory, immediately afterwards saying, "Nobody heard that, right?" In the stage musical Urinetown, the first song is in fact titled "Too Much Exposition" during which the Narrator and Little Sally explain about the drought that caused the water shortage, and in turn, the end of private bathrooms. While discussing the issue Officer Lockstock finally stops Little Sally before she reveals too much because "nothing can kill a show like too much exposition." Really! ("What about bad subject matter?" she argues. "Or a bad title? That can kill a show pretty good.") In an episode of "Spongebob Squarepants," Mr. Krabs returns from a vacation trip and the word "exposition" is displayed over his head. His location was a mystery during the entire episode, this revelation added context to the plotline. In the Doctor Who episode 'Utopia'. The newly regenerated rival of The Doctor, The Master says "Why dont we stop and have a nice little chat whilst you find out a way to stop me, I dont think so". [edit] Incluing Incluing is a technique of world building, in which the reader is gradually exposed to background information about the world in which a story is set. The idea is to clue the readers into the world the author is building, without them being aware of it. This in opposition to infodumping, where a concentrated amount of background material is given all at once in the story, often in the form of a conversation between two characters, both of whom should already know the material under discussion. (The so-called As you know, Bob conversation.) Both incluing and infodumping are forms of exposition and are frequently used in science fiction and fantasy, genres where the author has the task to make the reader believe in a world that does not exist. Writers in other genres have less use for these techniques, as they can often depend on the reader's familiarity with the "real world". Incluing can be done in a number of ways: through conversation between characters, through background details or by establishing scenes where a character is followed through daily life. One famous example of incluing is the door dilated, a phrase created by Robert A. Heinlein and used in
  13. 13. several of his stories and novels. In real life, few doors (if any) open like pupils; the offhand mention establishes the familiarity of this strange thing, and does not call attention to itself. The word incluing is attributed to fantasy and science fiction author Jo Walton[1]. She defined it as "the process of scattering information seamlessly through the text, as opposed to stopping the story to impart the information." [2] [edit] See also • Rhetorical modes • Expository writing • Fiction-writing modes [edit] Further reading • Dibell, Ansen (1988). Plot. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books. ISBN 0898793033. • Kernen, Robert (1999). Building Better Plots. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books. ISBN 0898799031. • Morrell, Jessica Page (2006). Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 978-1-58297-393-7. [edit] Notes 1 ^ retrieved 17 May 2007 Conflict (narrative) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (January 2010) This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2008) Conflict is a necessary element of fictional literature. It is defined as the problem in any piece of literature and is often classified according to the nature of the protagonist or antagonist, as follows:
  14. 14. Contents [hide] • 1 Com mon Exa mple s of Confl ict • 1 • 1 • 1 • 1 • 1 • 1 • 1 • 2 See also • 3 Refer ences • 4 Exter nal links [edit] Common Examples of Conflict [edit] Character vs. Self Character vs. Self (Person vs. Character) is when the central conflict of a story is internal to the main character has a problem with him/herself. [edit] Character vs. Character Character vs. Character is when, in a novel, there is a conflict of two forms of like beings. An example is the hero's conflicts with the central villain of a work, which may play a large role in the plot and contribute to the development of both characters. There are usually several arguments/disagreements before the climax is reached. The conflict is external. person vs. Person can usually be expressed by,for example, when a child is being ridiculed by a bully. An example is the conflict between Judah and Messala in Ben-Hur it can be any form of character.
  15. 15. [edit] Character vs. Society Character vs. Society is a theme in fiction in which a main character's, or group of main characters', main source of conflict is social traditions or concepts. In this sense, the two parties are: a) the protagonist(s) or b) the society of which the protagonist(s) are included. Society itself is often looked at as single character, just as an opposing party would be looked at in a Character vs. Character conflict. Character vs. Society conflict gives the playwright an opportunity to comment on positive/negative aspects of a whole? [edit] Character vs. Nature Character vs. Nature is the theme in literature that places a character against forces of nature. Many disaster films focus on this theme, which is predominant within many survival stories. It is also strong in stories about struggling for survival in remote locales, such as the novel Hatchet or Jack London's short story "To Build a Fire". Also A Separate Peace is a good example with Leper not wanting to jump out of the tree. [edit] Character vs. Supernatural Character vs. a spirit. This could be ghosts, monsters, demons,etc. One common example is the movie Ghostbusters. [edit] Character vs. Machine/Technology Character vs. Machine/Technology places a character against robot forces with "artificial intelligence". I, Robot and the Terminator series are good examples of this conflict. [edit] Character vs. Destiny Character vs. Destiny is a theme where one attempts to break free of a predetermined path chosen before him prior to his knowledge. If can also be referred to as an issue between fate and freewill. A common example is Shakespeare's Macbeth. (Character vs. Destiny can also be commonly known as Character vs. Fate.) there are many types of conflict in liturature.==History== As with other literary terms, these have come about gradually as descriptions of common narrative structures. Conflict was first described in ancient Greek literature as the agon, or central contest in tragedy. According to Aristotle, in order to hold the interest, the hero must have a single conflict. The agon, or act of conflict, involves the protagonist (the "first fighter") and the antagonist (a more recent term), corresponding to the hero and villain. The outcome of the contest cannot be known in advance, and, according to later critics such as Plutarch, the hero's struggle should be ennobling. Even in contemporary, non-dramatic literature, critics have observed that the agon is the central unit of the plot. The easier it is for the protagonist to triumph, the less value there is in the drama. In internal and external conflict alike, the antagonist must act upon the protagonist and must seem at first to overmatch him or her. For example, in William Faulkner's The Bear, nature might be the antagonist. Even though it is an abstraction, natural creatures and the scenery oppose and resist the protagonist. In the same story, the young boy's doubts about himself provide an internal conflict, and they seem to overwhelm him. Similarly, when godlike characters enter (e.g. Superman), correspondingly great villains have to be created, or natural weaknesses have to be invented, to allow the narrative to have drama. Alternatively, scenarios could be devised in which the character's godlike powers are constrained by some sort of code, or their respective antagonist.
  16. 16. [edit] See also • Theme • Deus ex machina • Problem of evil • Misfortune • Misotheism • Theodicy • Literary element [edit] References [edit] External links