If you need to write a story, it's always important to structure it well. Needless to say, many students have no clue how to structure their written stories in accordance with requirements. First of all, you have to understand the definition of plot, characters, structure, and architecture of the story, as well as a series of key tools, e.g. the exposition or the conflict. In this detailed guide, we're going to share with you the leading principles on how to practice in writing fiction stories and novels with a proper structure, tension, and characters.
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What is the plot structure?
A really interesting story and its characters must have a certain meaning for a reader, which makes it possible for its author to convey their message. Getting all story parts (exposition, etc.) connected to each other in some way is essential for that understanding. A plot structure may vary, but it must tie everything together to make this contact real. Be it a simple drama, a conflict, a series of action scenes or a tension-filled fiction, the meaningful plot is what actually contributes to the story development.
It might be much easier to come up with a story based on real conflict as wel as characters and on natural rising action, but there are enough tools for giving a proper shape to texts of all kinds of complexity. Learning these types of different story structures helps to obtain a proper form and setting for your creative story’s plot.
This diagram is the easiest one for learning what a traditional plot structure is. It starts with the exposition, which is the opening of the story. Then comes the rising action, the point at which the story or the issue gets complicated, and which prepares the reader for its 'peak'. The top of the ‘pyramid’ is the story’s climax: the most important turning point. The climax is followed by falling action, gradually decreasing the plot intensity, when the things return to their natural state, taking the reader towards the conclusion, or ‘resolution’.
- Pros: simple and clear for both writing and reading.
- Cons: usually, it is easy to anticipate the climax, which obviously decreases its effect.
The Fichtean Curve
Similar to the Pyramid diagram above; but the exposition part is replaced by a series of specific crises, eventually developing into a climax with a maximum level of tension. After a series of conflicts and climax, the falling action follows to the end of the story.
- Pros: generates a more suitable plot for modern literature. Cons:
- Cons: a more skillful depiction of multiple crises is required.
The Hero’s Journey
Classic plot diagram to show the difference between the known and the unknown in the hero’s life. Their life in the usual exposition is interrupted by an adventure the hero has to make (rising action), resulting in a major crisis (e.g., hero’s death). It is followed by the ‘returning home’ section and the story finishes in the familiar world, with all the changes the adventure has brought.
- Pros: makes a fine plot for a long story.
- Cons: might be too long for a modern reader to wait for its most captivating part.
In Media Res
From the Latin the term means "into the middle of event". It is such a literary approach when the story starts from the middle or the peak, meaning exposition replaced by crisis. Climax and the falling action part are also present with flashbacks of the climax appearing all the way down to the concluding resolution section. This approach is popular in writing books, as it serves as the great hook that sparks the reader's interest. Do not mix up in media res, when the story starts with its peak part, with just a story beginning with an action. There are two different approaches.
- Pros: makes the best short story structure for action fans.
- Cons: too much action might make it tiresome for some audience.
How to structure my story: The main definitions
Before we start, let's point out the major elements (data and tools) you should learn and remember:
- Structure - it's a skeleton of any good story. If you're writing a short story without structure, you may follow up with a mess. This is a significant section of an essay.
- Plot - it's a part of the structure that actually tells the readers what happens in your work. If you want to write a bright story with a nice plot and setting, try to practice simple tips (with plot structure examples and diagram types) from our guide.
- Act - it's a part of the story. Usually, all the papers are based on a 3-act structure where the first act is a call to a series of action elements, the second expresses tension, crises, and conflicts, and the third shows readers the resolution of the problem.
- Doorway - this is a scene of the plot that goes directly without backing out. For example, the leading characters in novels can decide to do something they never did before. Every story may have several doorways in its plot. A doorway is a transition from the start to the middle, and then from the middle U the finish.
- Disaster - it's a moment when the hero decides to reach a particular goal but ends up badly. Often contains conflict.
- Disturbance - it's a call to action of the narrative story when a hero gets the idea to reach a goal (rising action and high tension are about to follow).
- Character arc - this is a transformation with the main character during the story. Without the key character's changes, with no moving arc, the novel isn't interesting to anyone.
- Narrative arc or story arc. It is the structure or the plot of the story. It consists of such basic components and exposition, climax, and conclusion or resolution. The number of components can be extended.
What are the 5 elements of the plot structure?
It's easy. Generally, these are the components described in the above part
- Rising action
- Falling action
Successful practice to write a good plot for your story
Here we want to share an example of what you must include in your future plot. You can read this simple scheme and practice it in writing your own essays and novels.
1. Act 1 - the first element of your future narrative essay that includes the exposition (or setting) as well as:
- A hook. All the writers have to captivate their audience at the very beginning to make them read the entire story.
- A disturbance. This is a call to the conflict or adventure where tension tells us something interesting will happen soon. The example of a disturbance is when the hero gets the first idea on how to solve the difficulty.
- A doorway 1. It means when the leading character goes forward through the door, they cannot go back anymore. The notion of doorways was introduced by James Scott Bell in his famous book Plot and Structure.
2. The middle act - this is the second act of your plot that includes a description of how the protagonist acts in reaching their goals. The middle act includes the following elements:
- A midpoint - it's where the hero accepts the challenge and makes something to alter the situation of the story. This is the middle of your novel, where things change significantly, and tension is high.
- Revelations and complications - these things alter the character's view of the particular issue in the plot. Keep in mind the character's arc that should contain the main hero.
3. The final act - this is the end of the novel, where the writer should use the following tools:
- A doorway 2. According to Bell, a proper structure must include a disturbance point and two doorways. The second doorway leads everyone to the last battle of the plot. When something bad happens, this doorway ends up with a disaster.
- A crisis - this is a moment that describes falling events where a protagonist makes their important decision on how to solve the problem or conflict.
- A climax - it's the most exciting moment of the entire plot where readers are getting close to knowing about the outcomes of the decisive battle.
- A resolution - the concluding part of the story where an author describes what happened after the last adventure. The audience gets results of the events and the story ends up.
You can try this scheme to write a quality narrative story to share your message efficiently. We hope our simple ‘courses’, as well as the tricks with exposition and setting, characters, conflict usage, doorways and other elements of a plot, will be helpful in your narrative writing.
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