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Plot Development. How to build a story. Differences between “Story” and “Plot”. Story : a chronological sequence of events “A” happens; then “B” happens; then “C” happens, etc. in the exact order in which they occur in time

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plot development

Plot Development

How to build a story

differences between story and plot
Differences between “Story” and “Plot”
  • Story: a chronological sequence of events
    • “A” happens; then “B” happens; then “C” happens, etc. in the exact order in which they occur in time
  • Plot: the purposeful organization of events; ordering events to reveal meaningful connections between them in telling a story
    • author chooses which events to tell and when to tell them
    • can be non-linear
      • Flashback
      • en media res

"I agree that a film [plot] should have a beginning, a middle and an end but not necessarily in that order."

--Jean-Luc Godard (French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, and film critic—most-noted for his work in the 1960’s)

what you ve been taught before
What You’ve Been Taught Before—
  • What can you infer about the structure of story from this diagram? Any inaccurate depictions?

A Better Depiction—

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Development

Conflict Introduction


Conflict Introduction—

  • Exposition: the narrator’s introduction to setting, characters, and opening situation
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • The Beverly Hillbillies
  • The Nanny
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • (just for fun ;0)

Narrative Hook: the event that introduces the central conflict of the story

(aka—the inciting event)


Conflict Development—

Rising Action: the events in the story that twist the plot and raise tension,

leading to a moment of crisis (climax) that determines the outcomeof the plot

(aka) Nouement—(Fr.) literal translation: “knotting up” of the plot


Conflict Resolution—

Climax/Crisis Point

  • the one event that determines the outcome of the conflict;
  • the final battle in the war that reveals the winner
  • the moment of crisis—the final decision with no turning back
  • a.k.a. epiphany — moment of recognition
    • the “aha!” moment
    • when we recognize the winner of the conflict/the outcome of the plot
    • perhaps when a protagonist recognizes the path he must take or his true nature or his family origins (think Oedipus)
    • perhaps when the protagonist’s true self or role or agenda, etc. is revealed to the other characters.

Conflict Resolution—


Denouement — (Fr.) literal translation: the “un-knotting” or “untying” of the plot

  • the fallout or consequences that unravel after the turning point/climax;
  • what happens after the war is won;
  • brings closure