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Story Element # 2: Plot

The second story element we will cover is Plot. Read Our Full Guide to Plot Here.

What is the definition of “Plot” as an Element of Fiction?

The plot is the structure of your story. It determines what order things happen in your story. Your characters live within your plot, that is they are the ones that will be experiencing and reacting to the plot.

The understanding of plot structure is very important to ensure you write a story that moves forward.  A lot of times people get excited about a potential plot idea and start to hash that out before the characters, that’s ok if that’s your process just make sure you remember that the plot should revolve around the characters, if not it may seem like you have a “fish out of water” scenario going on.

There are many ways to structure your plot and story.

Read our guide to outlining your plot using 5 different methods.

Generally, a Plot contains the following elements in it.

  • Introduction: The present day, life as it is for our characters at the beginning of the story.
  • Rising Action: This helps to build suspense in the action while setting up the conflict in the story for your characters
  • Climax:  The point of the story where the everything is at it’s highest moment for the characters in terms of stakes and emotion
  • Falling Action: Things start to wind down and the tension starts to get resolved.
  • Resolution: When all the tension is resolved for better or worse and things return to the new state of normalcy for the character, whatever that might be.

Again, if you want to go into much more detail read the guide mentioned above in this section.

Why is the “Plot” element important?

The Plot is important because it makes of the what happens to your characters in your story.  You want to take the reader on an emotional journey with your characters, and in order to do that, you need a plot that keeps the action moving forward.

A character without a plot would stand still, as nothing would happen to them, meaning they would have nothing to react to, and thus change or grow throughout the story.

What can a writer accomplish by mastering the use of Plot?

If you couple a great character with a great plot you are on your way to great things.  Once your reader cares about your character, they care what happens to them.

If you plot elevates that journey, raising the stakes for the character as the story moves along, the tension and suspense will also be elevated. This will put more meaning into the overall conflict and resolution of the book, meaning it will have pack more of a punch.

If you nail these two story elements your readers will find themselves churning through pages at an amazing rate, hopefully clamoring for more when they finish your novel.

Next Story Element: Setting