Plot: Turning Your Story Into an Exciting Ride

The plot is the sequence of events that tells the story. The plot is where the author arranges events in a logical order to develop his basic idea. The plot generally consists of five parts: the introduction, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the final outcome.

The introduction is the beginning of your story where you introduce your characters, setting, and the basic subject of the story.

The rising action is where the conflict occurs, and the character(s) must figure out how to resolve the problem

The climax is the point of the highest action. This is the turning point of the story.

The falling action is the resolution of the conflict.

The final outcome is the part of the story where you tie up any loose ends and wrap up the story. (There is great danger in dragging a story on at this point. Don't give in to the temptation. Say what needs to be said and end the story.)

Many writers find it best to compare plot to a roller coaster ride. Depending on the length of the story, the plot may have many ups and downs, but it must have both, and it must keep moving. At times the roller coaster may move faster than at other times. The same can be said of the plot. It is important that you give your readers enough action so that they don't get bored but not too much so that they have a chance to catch their breath. As with a roller coaster, there should be breath-taking events and also times of anticipation (like when the coaster is trudging up that high hill). This is known as pace, and is an important part of building a good plot.

Example of a weak plot:

Joe goes for a walk in the woods. He enjoys his leisurely hike. He surveys the plant and animal life around him. He finishes his walk and goes home.


Example of a good plot:

Joe goes for a walk in the woods. Before long, he comes across a snake that strikes at him from the side of the trail. He narrowly escapes the snake and hurries down the trail only to find himself a few feet from a black bear. He manages to sneak away without gaining the bear's attention, but as he continues down the path and comes to a crossroads, he discovers that he dropped his map during his flight and now has no idea which way to turn.

Do you see the difference? In the first example, there is no conflict, no action, and therefore, no real story. It was just a boring list of events. The second, however, was full of ups and downs. The beginning set up our character and setting. Then, we have the action with the snake and then the relief of his escape. Not long after that, we are brought to the edge of our seats again by the sighting of the bear. We breathe a sigh of relief as Joe sneaks away unnoticed. But then, our hearts cry out when we realize that Joe has lost his map and is uncertain which direction to go. Up, down, up, down. Just like a roller coaster. Keep that in mind while creating your plot!


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