Tag Archives: conflict

Story Essential: Plot

Dear Writers:
I’ve been studying about plot. Wikipedia.org says plot is action and reaction of main character made up of scenes and sequels – scene action – reactions, with emotional response and regrouping of ideas to win.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction

There is a diagram that talks about you start out with a status quo – an ever so ordinary day. A day when your character is happy. Something happens that a your main character can’t ignore. It affects his/her life more than he even wants to think about. It’s his/her worst nightmare. He’s been saying in his mind: What will I do if such and such happens? And the day it actually happens. Then the plot tells how the character acts and reacts until he solves this problem and turns his life back to its ordinary flavor or empowers himself to be different and liking it. He’s happy once again. End of whole plot.

Here’s a plot diagram with more of Straight Line Slanted line Plot Diagram from Teacher Files.com
http://www.teacherfiles.com/downloads/graphic_organizers/Plot_Graph.pdf

A story plot has a beginning, middle, and an end.
At the beginning of the story, everything is normal for the main character. It’s a level plane…flat land for him – represented on the diagrams as a horizontal line. Without a plot you have no story. Without a problem you have no story. Goals and complications in getting what the main character wants makes a good story. Here is more information about the five parts of a plot.

1. Exposition(Beginning)
(Only Background information reader needs to understand)
Character
Setting

Highlight the backstory in your own manuscript. If it’s all in one place, spread it out. Only put in your story what you need at a particular time. Many times you, as the author, might need to write something so you know it in your first draft. However, when you read it over, if the reader doesn’t need to know your character failed a math test in third grade at the beginning of the story, take it out and put it in just before he’s about to take a math test to show he’s scared of it for this reason.

2. Rising Action Obstacles which the main character has to overcome that leads to the climax. Not the middle of the story. Climax is the middle of the story.
a. Main Problem (Conflict)
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson800/IdentifyPlot.pdf

b. Inner and Outer Conflicts
http://nienkehinton.blogspot.com/2007/01/inner-conflict.html

c. Brian Godawa’s Plotting Details on Story structure: http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/screenwriter.pdf

Goal
Plan
Flaw
Apparent Defeat
Final Confrontation
Self Revelation
Resolution

d. Character ID Badge Information about your characters you need to know
http://www.teacherfiles.com/downloads/graphic_organizers/Character%20ID.pdf

3. Climax (Middle) (ROCK BOTTOM for Main Character. FACE PROBLEM SQUARE In the FACE, (Most exciting part of the story) The middle of the story. The highest point in the story. The moment of greatest intensity. It brings events to a head and leads to the conclusion

a. Storymap from freeology.com Gives good definition of Climax. Explains the climax. The climax is the moment before we know the answers to the questions the conflict has created. It is the peak of suspense.
http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/pdf/storymap.pdf

4. Suspense – Falling Action, The protagonist wins or loses
Uncertainty and interest about the outcomes of certain actions. Real danger looming and a ray of hope
Arouses interest of the reader This shows change to the characters affected by the solution to the main problem. What happens to the main character after overcoming all obstacles Or failing to get the desire effect. Show what happens to the good guys and the bad guys. These things happen after the climax.. Things begin to fall back into place to be normal again.

Falling Action:
Denouement:

5. Resolution (End) – The outcome of a complex set of events Information to help reader to understand clearly what happened to take care of this challenge. …tie up all loose ends with all characters and subplots, too.

Resources to help you plot your story:

Literary Terms

Epiphany – What is the inner self-realization key change in the character? Spiritual understanding. It may come before the climax or after the climax of the story.
http://www.darcypattison.com/characters/character-arc-epiphanies/

Plot and Character Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizer PDF files listed separately.http://www.teacherfiles.com/resources_organizers.htm

PDF files Character, Plot, You have to search through each page to see what’s there.
http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/index.php

Carol Baldwin’s book, “Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8” also has graphic organizers in it and a CD packed with good writing process explanations: https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Story-Fiction-Writing-Grades/dp/1934338354

I would be honored if you would sign up for an email subscription to my blog at the top of the left hand column.

 

Please leave a comment, question, or resource.

Never Give Up
Live Today
Joan Y. Edwards
https://www.joanyedwards.com/flip-flap-floodle
Author/Illustrator
Flip Flap Floodle on Amazon.com

Copyright 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

Universal Plots and a Story that Illustrates Each

Which Universal Plots (Universal Conflicts) does your story have?
Conflict Archetype: Essential element of story

I thought you might want to look at these a little bit closer. I found stories to represent each plot/conflict archetype.

Man, Person, Character vs Person: (Harry Potter vs Voldemort) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Man, Person, Character vs Nature The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Man, Person, Character vs Society To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Man, Person, Character vs Machine/Technology Dot Robot: Atomic Swarm by Jason Bradbury

Man, Person, Character vs God/Spirituality/Monsters/Fairies The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Man, Person, Character vs Himself – Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Man, Person, Character vs Destiny Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Man, Person, Character vs Time The television series, 24

Man, Person, Character vs Institutions Lord of the Flies byWilliam Golding

Man, Person, Character vs Family Harry Potter books show Harry struggle with the family who keeps him after his parents are killed.

I hope this helps you get a clearer picture of the Universal Archetypes of Plot/Conflict in literature.

Giveaway complete 2010.

Please leave a comment below. Thanks a bunch.
Happy Living and Writing
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.