Plot: Meaning and Basic Structures


What is a plot?
A plot is the sequential and chronological arrangement of events in a work of art or a story in such a way that a story has a beginning proceeding to the conflict stage to the middle part and ends in the final resolution, denouement. The plot agrees with three basic units which are time, place and action.

Basic Structures of Plot
There are four basic structures of plot. They are: (1) Organic/Linear Plot Structure; (2) Episodic Plot Structure; (3) Circular Plot Structure; and (4) In Media Res.

Now, let’s take a brief look at them.


Organic/Linear Plot Structure is a kind of plot structure in which events are linked by the rule of cause and effect. In other words, an event is across the other on the effect of another. In organic plot structure, stories, the events and actions flow smoothly and logically into one another until the end of the story.

Episodic Plot Structure, on the contrary to linear plot structure, does not follow any rule (i.e., the events do not follow one another logically). The events usually come in episodes. Each episode is not related to the other and can stand on their own.

Circular Plot Structure ends a story where it begins. It usually features the concept of flashback.

In Media Res is a plot structure in which a story begins at the middle of the plot development. Flashback is also applied to intimate the reader with events that have taken place before the story began.

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