One - Overview

One - Overview

A Lesson by Alex

Let's reacquaint ourselves with what a standard plot looks like.


*A quick disclosure:
I will always refer to an ambiguous character in this course as "him" or "his". Don't worry, there are plenty of great females characters out there - everyone knows that - but I'm a guy and naturally refer to undefined, hypothetical people as guys. Additionally, while this course is intended for plots in a written medium, most of the material herein can certainly be applied to plays, movies, etc.
Many of you probably recognize this little diagram from grade school. It's still the standard for story telling. First is Exposition/Introduction. This is the reader's first impression of the story, where you will introduce (at the very least) the setting and the main character(s). You'll also establish the type of narration in the story.

Next comes Rising Action and Conflict. Anything that stands in the way of the main character reaching his goal, and even establishing a goal that he suddenly sets for himself are considered conflicts. Conflicts come in many shapes and sizes, and we'll cover this more thoroughly in the Conflict lesson.

Next comes the Climax. Isn't it exciting just to say? Say it out loud right now. Go ahead, I'll wait...Right?? The climax is the part of a story where all of the conflict from the Rising Action comes to a head. The main character must deal with this conflict face-to-face. He must overcome it...or fail.

Next comes the Falling Action/Denouement. The Climax is over, and we're all out of breath. Time to slow down and talk about what just happened. Did the main character succeed or fail? Here is where the immediate repercussions are discussed. This is also where loose ends are tied up, and any unanswered questions are addressed. This would be the part of Scooby Doo where Velma pretends she's better than me and explains how she knew who did it five minutes into the episode.

Last comes the Resolution/Conclusion. What did the main character learn? How has he changed? How does he feel about these changes? What will he do now? This is where the story is wrapped up in a nice neat bow. The reader should get a nice dose of closure here, and the book closed with a sense of accomplishment. Not for finishing a book, but for sticking with the main character, sharing his hopes and dreams, rooting him on, and ultimately finding a piece of him in themselves.

And that's it, really! The following lessons will examine each of these steps in much finer detail. As a side-by-side comparison, I'll be referencing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - the first book in the Harry Potter series (spoilers?). Why this book specifically? Mostly because it's a book I'm sure everyone is familiar with (if not the book, then at least the movie), and I think this book does a great job as the first in a series AND a stand alone story at the same time. With book series' becoming so popular lately, I think it's important to examine the plot of a single book vs. that book's contribution to the plot of the full series. I'll go into this more thoroughly in the Resolution/Conclusion lesson.

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Added on June 24, 2015
Last Updated on July 25, 2016

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Cohoes, NY

Though I will occasionally write a poem here or there, poetry is not something that I consider myself well versed in - no pun untended. Because of that, I will usually not review other poems, as the b..