Plot Development

The way an author develops a story impacts the way the reader understands the plot, conflicts, and characters.

The plot structure is how the author or creator structures the sequences of events e.g. scenes or chapters.

1. exposition - the beginning of the story that gives background information on characters and previous action

2. dramatic incitement-- a scene or event that starts the action and triggers later conflict; part of the dramatic piece in which an act of urging or rousing to action occurs. Starts part for the major action in the drama.

3. rising action- the beginning of the action that will lead to a high point in the story; complications occur (an intensification of the conflict in a story or play. Complication builds up, accumulates, and develops the primary or central conflict in a literary work.

4. climax- the turning point of the story; the part of the story in which the protagonist reaches an emotional high point or a peak in power; crisis occurs, a condition that leads to a decisive change.

5. falling action- the action that occurs after the climax, before everything is wrapped up in the story

6. denouement/resolution -- The action in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and things are resolved or explained.

The Importance of Character Arcs

  • Remember that a character arc is essential in the plot development since characters essentially help advance the plot through their internal and external conflicts.

  • A character arc is the transformation that a character experiences throughout a narrative. A character may begin with a certain viewpoint, but through challenges and conflicts, their viewpoint changes him/her. Characters undergo emotional or psychological growth leading to a transformation as a dynamic character.

  • The character's conflict, either internal or external, is what drives tension in the story. By characters having certain weaknesses that they have to overcome, authors are able to use these shortcomings as a roadblock or obstacle to overcome. Stories can end tragically when the character goes from a high position to a low position, or stories can end positively with a character starting in a lower position and elevating his social standing or success in some way.

    • Types of Conflict


    • Person vs. Himself/Herself


    • Person vs. Fate/God

    • Person vs. Person

    • Person vs. Nature

    • Person vs. Society/Institution

    • Person vs. Science/Technology

    • Person vs. Supernatural

How do authors or creators make a compelling narrative or lyric or message?

  • Something unanticipated or contrasting happens

    • Irony (plot twist)

    • Juxtaposition one scene with another that greatly contrasts one another

    • Use a non-linear plot, putting together the puzzle

  • Making the plot a universal and relatable plot

    • Readers may not be able to relate to the specific context of the conflict, but there are usually some themes that resonate on a universal level e.g. coming of age, loss, birth, transformation, perseverance, romance, etc.

  • Vivid, descriptive imagery

    • How does the creator/writer provide imagery to create mental or physical pictures of a scene?

  • Emotion

    • A memorable narrative is one that moves us emotionally in some way. How does the creator/writer evoke emotion in the reader or viewer?