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Understanding structural elements of a plot

by mickey.geldenhuys
The term “plot” refers to how the main events in the book or play relate to one another, how one event leads to another. Something happens because of something else, and so on. It is a series of events that make up a story and is specific to each story.

A plot structure, also called a dramatic structure is the overall design or structure of a story and how the story elements are arranged.

To help you analyse the plot, it is important to understand what the structural elements of the plot are. 

Every story has a beginning or exposition, with something that leads to conflict in the middle, before it is resolved and the story concludes.

To help you understand the plot structure, here is a graph that illustrates the structural elements of Sophiatown.

Now let us look at the definitions of each element to understand what they mean.

The exposition is the explanation (usually at the beginning of a story) of the events leading up to the start of the plot.
Inciting incident
The first time we realise that all is not well. Something that sets off the conflict in the story.
Rising action
The building up of conflict in the plot.
The struggle between characters, or between individuals and their circumstances.
The highest point in the development of the conflict, the moment of greatest intensity and tension.
Final solution (dénouement)
The final part of the story where everything is made clear.
Conclusion The way the story is rounded off.

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