The plot is one of the crucial elements of a story. A story without a plot can be good but can’t be interesting. it creates excitement and makes the reader hooked to a story, in search of an answer to the question, what’s gonna happen next?
But, before we can check the importance of the story, it very much important for us to know and understand what is a plot?
What is a Plot?
A plot is a chain of particular events in a story. These events can be conflicts and obstacles that can be internal or external, which the character has to face to achieve his goal.
“The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then the queen died of grief is a plot.”
― E. M. Forster
Various plotpoints are established in a story that carries the main plot. It helps to move the story forward from the introduction of characters to the final resolution.
Importance of a plot
A plot is an important factor that makes the reader turn the pages. Think for yourself, which of the following story you would like to read or watch:
- A man bought a piece of land, build a house for his family, and lived happily.
- A man bought a piece of land, but a big realtor illegally captured the land.
Now, which of the story you find exciting. I’m sure it’s the story no. 2. That’s what the plot does it makes stories interesting.
“Plot comes first. The plot is the architecture of your novel. You wouldn’t build a house without a plan. If I wrote without a plot, it would just be a pile of bricks. Characters are your servants. They must serve your plot.”
― Barbara Kingsolver
Elements of a plot with an illustrated diagram (Freytag’s pyramid)
Exposition / Introduction
Exposition is the initial stage of the plot diagram. In this stage, the characters are introduced and the reader knows about the background and setting. The main purpose of the exposition stage is to let readers know the character.
The rising action is where conflict and obstacles are added, it makes the character to do something or take some decision. This creates tension and makes a reader turn the pages.
Climax / Turning point
The climax is where tension is at the highest peak. This is the point where a character takes the decision, which gives the turning point to the story. The climax is not the end, but the beginning of the end.
The falling action indicates that the story is about to wind up, and all the action are fallen into their place.
Resolution / Denouement
Resolution is the one that gives the ending. It’s the ultimate closure for the character’s story. This can show that if the character is at a better place or worst, depending on the story and plot written by the writer.
Example: Khosla ka Ghosla (Movie)
Exposition / Introduction
In the movie Khosla ka Ghosla, the exposition point starts with an introduction of the family members in a dream sequence. The dream sequence not only introduces the characters but also shows what Kamal Kishore Khosla (Father) thinks that his family considers of him? and the audience understands that buying a plot (a piece of land) is a Big accomplishment for Kamal Kishore Khosla.
This is the point where the family comes to know that Khurana (A big realtor) has illegally acquired their land and the only way Khurana is gonna let the land go, is by buying the land back from him.
This incident creates rising action in the story, where Kamal Khosla tried everything from legal action to illegal activities to get the land back, which later resulted in him spending a day in jail. But, this incident also makes his other son Cherry, take the decision to help his father and get the land back.
Climax / Turning point
The climax is the turning point, where the family plans and executes the actions to let Khurana know a taste of his own medicine. Yet, various obstacles are faced here to get money from Khurana and con him by selling a huge piece of land.
This is the point where the Khosla family gets another chance to continue their plan and cheat Khurana. The plan falls into action and they have finally achieved their goal.
Resolution / Denouement
Finally, the movie gets its resolution. The plot is bought back from Khurana, and the rest of the money is shared among them. Later, you see that Cherry decides to stay with his family and ends with a better relationship bond with his father.
Types of Plot
Rags to riches
Rags to riches is a plot in which the protagonist’s story starts from bad and ends with good fortune. These types of stories are used mainly with fairy tales where the girl gets her prince at the end and gives closure to her sad life with a happy ending.
The best example of rags to riches is Cinderella and Aladdin.
The tragedy is another plot in which a story begins with the protagonist having a good fortune and ends with a fall. This type of plot is used to give a tragic ending to the story, many of the legendary love stories have this plot.
The best example of a Tragedy plot is Romeo and Juliet.
Overcoming the Monster
Overcoming the monster is used to transform the protagonist and create circumstances where a character has to face his monster. This plot is used in many ways to make the character a brave and courageous person at the end of the story.
The best examples of this plot are Harry Potter, Star Wars, and James Bond.
The quest plot is used in stories to make the protagonist go on an adventurous journey and overcome the obstacles to achieve his end goal.
The best examples of quest plot are Lord of the Rings and Raiders of the lost ark.
Voyage and Return
Voyage and Return is a type of plot in which the protagonist goes to unknown places. But, in the end, the character learns some important lessons and return back with an experience.
The best example of Voyage and return plot are The Hobbit and Alice in Wonderland.
The comedy plot is used to convey the protagonist’s story with humor, face the adverse situation, and gets a happy ending. But, humor is not compulsory to use to make the story a comedy. There are many ways to make the plot comedic, mainly concern regarding the pattern with confusing conflicts which later gets resolved at the single event.
The best example of this plot is Bridget Jones’s Diary and Angoor (based on The Comedy of Errors).
Rebirth is the plot that is used to change the character completely like a character has taken rebirth as a different person. This plot is used to show character development and change the character into a better person at the end of the story.
The best example of Rebirth Plot is Beauty & the Beast and Bruce Almighty.
How to write a Plot Structure?
Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, came with the concept that a story can be divided into three parts which are The Beginning, The Middle, and The end. Syd Field took this concept further and called it The Three Act Structure in his book Screenplay the foundation of screenwriting.
In this act, characters are introduced to let the reader know the back-story of the protagonist, antagonist, and the world (if fantasy). Act 1 is mainly used as a setup of the story, and the conflict or turning point is introduced to move the story forward to Act 2.
This act represents the middle of the story, where conflict is being introduced protagonist, and to achieve the goals, the protagonist has to go through multiple obstacles. This act is used to raise the tension and hookup the reader, to turn the pages to move towards Act 3.
In Act 3, the story gets its ending. A resolution is provided to the protagonist’s story, where the decision of the protagonist falls into action, and the story ends.
Can I write two or more plots in a story?
Yes, you can add as many plots as you feel are necessary for the story. But, many writers use multiple plots, even the ones which are not required, and in the end, the story doesn’t feel compelling.
Make sure that the plot is given enough space to let the reader know which is the main plot and what the story is about? other plots can be used as a subplot.
What is Subplot?
A subplot is the side story that is used to support the main plot of the story.
In the movie Khosla ka Ghosla, you can see that the main plot of the story is to get their land back from the Khurana. But, there is a subplot where Cherry wants to leave his home and work in the USA which showed the relationship crisis between Kamal Kishore Khosla (father) and Cherry (son).
This subplot not only supports the main plot by pushing the son to help his father against the realtor but also shows their growing relationship at the end of the movie.
Sandeep Semwal works as a digital marketing intern by day and as a writer by night. He writes short stories and loves to unearth the stories through observation and imagination. He is the brains behind the writers crunch to share his writing experience.