Everyone knows that plot is essential in fiction writing, but not everyone is aware that there are elements of plot that must be included to have a full, rich story. Plot elements, also known as plot points, occur in stages as the main character navigates through the author’s story.
There are many ways to keep track of the plot and ensure that you have included all of the plot points in your writing. Using a plot diagram is one way to be sure that you have included exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. All of this will be explained in detail within this article.
A plot diagram is a tool used by many writers to plan out the plot of a story. It is also commonly used by students while reading assigned texts and stories. It is a line graph that begins at the beginning of the story and continues on through its conclusion, paying special attention to each plot point.
The main character needs to be put through each element of plot for the story to be entirely told, and a plot diagram is a great visual way to make sure that this is achieved. There are five elements in plot, and each element must be in the correct order for the story to make sense.
Using a plot diagram will enable the writer to be sure that the plot structure of their work is followed correctly. Plot elements work by building upon each other in a certain order. Using the correct and specific plot structure can help the reader maintain interest, and the story will flow much more smoothly.
Elements of plot:
Exposition sets up the story by introducing the main character. For example, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, exposition is achieved by introducing Harry, his family, and a few members of the wizarding world.
The reader is told that the boy is essential to the magical world, but in the ordinary world, he’s a nobody who is barely noticed and receives only negative attention from the family raising him.
We learn that both of his parents are dead, and we quickly learn that Potter has been given an invitation to attend Hogwarts, a special school for those who have the ability to become wizards or witches.
2. Rising Action
The rising action in a story is a turning point from the introduction that occurs first. The rising action is the first bit of conflict that the main character faces, and it leads to the climax. Going back to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an example, the rising action is that Harry has been invited to Hogwarts, but his Muggle family doesn’t want him to attend because they refuse to accept that he may be special, or anyone of note. Harry’s struggle with them to allow him to go is the rising action.
Whether it’s a short story or an epic novel, every work of fiction has a lead-up to the climax. Whether the author gives us a happy or tragic ending, the plot still has to be built up slowly from the beginning.
3. The Story’s Climax
The climax, or turning point of the story, is the main action that takes place. This is where we see the main character confront the major conflict. The story up to this point has slowly built up to this point so that by the time the climax arrives, the author has had ample chance to create tension for the reader.
Climax plot examples include when Potter is finally left facing Voldemort at the end of the series of books. The entire series has built up to this showdown, and by the time J.K. Rowling, a true master writer of plot, gets to it, the reader is deeply invested in what happens.
Most stories make sure that the reader knows that the climax has arrived. It is a high-stakes conflict, and a lot of focus is put on the event itself. While most readers want a happy ending, an author with a good plot can end the story on any note and still have satisfied readers.
Another great example of climax is in The Hunger Games, in which Katniss and Peeta decide they aren’t going to play by the government’s rules, and instead of fighting to the death, they commit to killing themselves at the same time. The climactic event shows us what the characters are really capable of. In other words, can the characters handle the climactic part of the plot?
The story begins, builds, and now what? We have to tie up loose ends, stay true to the main plot, and honor the plot of a story by dwelling on the central conflict rather than the bits of conflict that lead up to it. Next, we’ll discuss what happens after the climax.
4. Falling Action
The falling action occurs after the climax has concluded. This is where the main character begins to deal with the aftermath of the climactic conflict. While the basic structure of the writing plot doesn’t change, you can be creative during this stage of writing.
This is a great way to tie in other characters, start to resolve the things that occurred in the climax, and show your characters’ growth and character development.
5. The Conflict is Resolved
You’ve given your audience an inciting incident and primary conflict. Now it’s time to resolve the conflict and wrap up the story. Stories follow plot structure so that you can arrive at a natural resolution and nothing seems forced.
Most people don’t pay much attention to the individual elements of plot, with emphasis falling on the climax and resolution instead. Still, if you don’t have events arranged correctly or major events are out of order, your resolution won’t matter because your reader will never read far enough to get there.
Plot: An Important Element of Writing
All stories need logical organization, and plots are no exception. If plots follow in the order that they should according to basic plot structure, then your story will be much more appealing to the reader. The plot may be the most crucial element in fiction writing, and it is essential that you analyze it and get each step right before you come up with and write a story.
Everything from time sequence to setting can influence your plot, and your plot, along with your character, is what pulls the reader in. If you are able to develop a plot sequence that makes sense, even with subplots, you can have a piece of fiction writing that gets to a clear and cohesive conclusion.