In general, every plot contains the following five elements in the following order: Exposition/introduction Increasing activity The climax/tipping point Resolution/closure
The order in which these elements are presented determines what type of story you are telling. Knowing how to change or omit certain elements will allow you to tell any type of story.
The exposition/introduction element tells us who, why, and where our characters are and what role they play in the story. This element also sets up the events that will follow in the story. It can be presented in several different ways, but it must always be clear and concise or readers will lose interest.
Next, we need to learn about our characters. Who are they? What are their goals? Only by understanding our characters will we be able to write stories that feel true to life. There are many ways to show this knowledge on the page, but it's important not to go into great detail until later in the writing process.
After we know more about our characters, we can move on to the increasing activity element. This element involves setting up events that will happen later in the story (or novel). These events may include battles, conflicts, etc.
The Five Plot Elements
Exposition, climax, and declining action are the three that differ from the fundamental story structure. They can be found in any narrative, but they tend to appear more prominently in fiction.
Exposition is the process by which the reader or viewer is informed about the setting and characters. It can be done visually (e.g., showing a character reading a newspaper) or verbally (e.g., listening to a character talk). In most stories, exposition is used to explain what happens in the scene or episode, who the characters are, and why they are important - often providing background information relevant to later events.
Cliffhangers and season finales both serve to exposit future events without revealing them all at once. A cliffhanger ends one scene and starts another with a dramatic pause for effect; we leave the story in suspense as to what will happen next. A season finale typically reveals all the major developments of the series in one event.
The climax of a story occurs when the problems or conflicts of the narrative come to a head and the outcome is uncertain. The climax usually involves some sort of battle or confrontation between the good guys and the bad guys - sometimes including other characters who are not directly involved in the main conflict.
This graphic organizer is organized on the five plot aspects of a novel (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution).
The introduction should give the reader a sense of what will happen in the story while at the same time revealing important information about the characters. The introduction can be as short as one sentence or as long as one page. It should grab the reader's attention and make him want to continue with the book.
In a novel or movie, something called an "inciting incident" starts the story off on its journey. This could be something that happens to someone, like a murder, or it could be something that someone thinks or does, such as firing a gun or jumping off a building. Whatever the case may be, this event causes the characters to react in some way. They may run away from it, try to stop it, go after it, etc. This reaction sets up the story line for how they will interact with each other as well as what kind of conflict will arise between them.
Conflict is what drives a story forward. Characters often struggle with what choice to make; they may want to do one thing but another thing keeps pulling them in another direction.