When we are talking about writing, we often throw the word plot around quite a bit, but what precisely is a plot?
Simply put, a plot is a sequence of events that are connected to one another through causality. Causality is the relationship between cause and effect; when one event makes something else happen, and that event, in turn, makes something else happen.
Plot is the what of the story (the characters being who, the theme is why).
A husband finds his wife dead and then drinks himself to death through grief.
The husband’s death is a consequence of the death of his wife and the grief that overwhelms him. The two are connected.
What are the elements of a plot?
A plot, generally speaking, has five main elements:
This is the beginning of the story, where the characters are introduced and the setting is established. Usually, the main conflict, or problem, is introduced here.
This is a series of events leading up to the main conflict of the story. They are connected by cause and effect and are usually set in motion by a triggering event. The events in this part of the story tend to escalate up to the point of the climax.
This is the most intense part of the story. This is the turning point, the part in the story that makes the reader wonder what will happen next.
This is the part of the story where events begin to resolve and the consequences of the main characters’ actions are shown.
The conclusion of the story.
As you can see, a plot has a beginning, a middle and an end.
When you’re writing your plot try and picture a thread that links all the major events together. The thread directly links one event to another, the second event is a result of the first event, the third is related to the second and first. It is helpful to remember the words “and so this happens” when you are plotting.
In summary, then, the plot is a series of events connected by cause and effect. It explains the chain of events in a story and connects the actions and events in a logical way.