Definition of Plot

Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story, or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of the story.

Plot is known as the foundation of a novel or story, around which the characters and settings are built. It is meant to organize information and events in a logical manner. When writing the plot of a piece of literature, the author has to be careful that it does not dominate the other parts of the story.

Primary Elements of a Plot

There are five main elements in a plot.

  1. Exposition or Introduction

This is the beginning of the story, where characters and setting are established. The conflict or main problem is introduced as well.

  1. Rising Action

Rising action which occurs when a series of events build up to the conflict. The main characters are established by the time the rising action of a plot occurs, and at the same time, events begin to get complicated. It is during this part of a story that excitement, tension, or crisis is encountered.

  1. Climax

In the climax, or the main point of the plot, there is a turning point of the story. This is meant to be the moment of highest interest and emotion, leaving the reader wondering what is going to happen next.

  1. Falling Action

Falling action, or the winding up of the story, occurs when events and complications begin to resolve. The result of the actions of the main characters are put forward.

  1. Resolution

Resolution, or the conclusion, is the end of a story, which may occur with either a happy or a tragic ending.

Examples of Plot in Literature

Example #1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (By J. K. Rowling)

Among the examples of plot in modern literature, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is probably the most familiar to both readers and moviegoers. The plot of the story begins when Harry learns that Professor Snape is after the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Professor lets loose a troll, who nearly kills Harry and his friends. In addition, Harry finds out that Hagrid let out the secret of the giant dog to a stranger in return for a dragon, which means that Snape can now reach the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Example #2: Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen)

A very good plot example in romantic fiction appears in the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The plot of the story begins when Lizzie’s sister, Jane, falls in love with Darcy’s friend named Mr. Bingley. Lizzie develops and interest in Mr. Wickham, who accuses Darcy of destroying him financially.

When Lizzie goes to meet her friend, she runs into Mr. Darcy, who proposes, and Lizzie rejects. She then writes him a letter telling him why she dislikes him. He writes back, clearing up all misunderstandings and accusations. Jane runs away with Mr. Wickham, and Lizzie realizes that Mr. Darcy is not as bad a man as she had thought him to be.

Function of Plot

A plot is one of the most important parts of a story, and has many different purposes. Firstly, the plot focuses attention on the important characters and their roles in the story. It motivates the characters to affect the story, and connects the events in an orderly manner. The plot creates a desire for the reader to go on reading by absorbing them in the middle of the story, ensuring they want to know what happens next.

The plot leads to the climax, but by gradually releasing the story in order to maintain readers’ interest. During the plot of a book, a reader gets emotionally involved, connecting with the book, not allowing himself to put the book down. Eventually, the plot reveals the entire story, giving the reader a sense of completion that he has finished the story and reached a conclusion.

The plot is what forms a memory in readers’ minds, allowing them to think about the book and even making them want to read it again. By identifying and understanding the plot, the reader is able to understand the message being conveyed by the author, and the explicit or implicit moral of the story.

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14 comments for “Plot

  1. James L. Thompson
    November 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    This information was very helpful to me.I didn’t know that a good introduction is a good plot.I am writing my autobiography, and I have written a good plot.My introduction starts with a bang,and it will no doubt make the reader wants more.I have overcome some hard struggles in my life to go on and get an education from Mississippi State University.This information has reassured me that I am writing a good book,and I already knew that what I mentioned in my introduction will not be mentioned later in my book.It is being used as an attention getter.Also, I plan to self-publish.But, I would like to know which is better self-publishing or traditional publishing.Please write back.Respectively, James Thompson

  2. Jirehfaithpuya
    November 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Thank you. It helps me a lot.:)

  3. Jessica
    November 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    It is nice for the kids to learn

  4. ORAWO
    December 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Good for me as a teacher of literature

    • hi
      January 2, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Thanks it helped me too

  5. Aman chatterjee
    December 16, 2015 at 12:42 am

    thanx for the information! it helped me a lot!

  6. Megan
    January 4, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I need an example that is what I am looking for

    • junjun
      February 10, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Ex of plot

  7. February 2, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Thank you for the definition and examples. I’m writing a novel and I keep forgetting the definition and also misplacing it with my story.

  8. Tim
    February 16, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Snape was not after the Philosopher’s Stone. Professor Quirrel (controlled by Voldemort) was the antagonist in the book.

  9. rr
    February 29, 2016 at 6:52 am

    The story of “Trishna and the dream of water” what is the plot of the story

  10. Charles Orville Sampa
    March 1, 2016 at 8:41 am

    The information here is very helpful and I wish everyone interested in literature of any kind must read and understand.It is such data that is slowly transforming me into a brilliant student of this field

  11. Bijoy bhuimali
    March 8, 2017 at 1:23 am

    I’m impressed with such elaborate description

  12. shubhu nachare
    March 14, 2017 at 11:13 am

    This information was easy for me to understand and hope I pass with good marks in my literature exam.

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