Plot: a chain of related events 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.
Chronological order Flashback In media res (in the middle of things) when the story starts in the middle of the action without exposition Types of Linear Plots Plots can be told in
Pyramid Plot Structure The most basic and traditional form of plot is pyramid-shaped. This structure has been described in more detail by Aristotle and by Gustav Freytag.
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.
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.
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.
Plot Components Climax: the turning point, the most intense moment—either mentally or in action Rising Action: the series of conflicts and crisis in the story that lead to the climax Falling Action: all of the action which follows the climax Exposition: the start of the story, the situation before the action starts Resolution: the conclusion, the tying together of all of the threads
Subplots • plots that are part of the larger story but not as important.
Rising Action Falling Action Plot Line Climax • The planned action or series of events in a story. Resolution Exposition
Parallel Episodes • occur when the storyteller repeats the main outline of an episode several times (example: 3 Little Pigs)
Conflict Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot.
External Conflict: Human vs Human Human vs Nature Human vs Society Internal Conflict: Human vs Self Types of Conflict
Characterization • The ways in which a writer develops a character, making him or her seem believable. • Sharing the character’s thoughts, actions and dialogue. • Describing his or her appearance. • Revealing what others in the story think of this character
Types of Characterization • Direct: the writer makes direct statements about a character's personality and tells what the character is like. • Indirect: the writer reveals information about a character and his personality through that character's thoughts, words, and actions, along with how other characters respond to that character, including what they think and say about him.
Characterization cont. • An alert writer might recognize that the two methods of characterization fall under the decision to “show” or to “tell”. • Direct characterization “tells” the reader. • Indirect characterization “shows” the reader.
Direct Characterization: • Julie owned a multitude of outfits and accessories, and it always took her forever to decide which combination might impress Trent. As usual, she called her sister several times for advice. After doing so, Julie decided to give the navy blue skirt with the white sweater a try.
Indirect Characterization: • Julie held up six different outfits in front of the mirror and pondered which would go best with her navy blue shoes, pastel eye shadow and the diamond earrings she’d already procured from her overflowing vanity. After ninety minutes of mixing and matching, and cell-phoning her sister three times for advice, Julie finally made up her mind. She’d give the navy blue skirt and white sweater a try, hoping Trent would love it.
Motivation • an element that influences a character's actions and/or personality; for instance, greed or fear could motivate a character to behave in a certain manner.