What is plot and plot structure?

Although these three concepts share some similarities in meaning and scope, their distinction often remains ambiguous. As a result, many individuals use them interchangeably. Consequently, let us examine each one individually as an outcome achieved through considerable hours spent piecing together fragments with the aid of dictionaries, creative writing manuals,and my ingenuity.

The plot lays down the foundation upon which a story emerges by establishing connections between its core components: characters,
settings,and events.An alternate approach entails answering questions like who?what?why? where? when?,
and how?. Essentially,the plot forms
the minimal framework within written work that encapsulates its essence.Keyly,this lies in understanding cause-and-effect relationships combined with characters' motivations for embarking on specific actions–ultimately addressing the "why?" question. It is vital to note that a mere sequence of events differs from the intricate relationships established amongst these events, setting the plot and its synopsis apart in this regard.

Cinderella, for example.

"A beautiful young woman has a miserable life, but she keeps herself pure and good," one could say. Her fairy godmother one day bestows upon her the opportunity to attend a royal palace ball. There she meets a handsome prince who is smitten by her beauty and virtue. Although the fairy's enchantment fades at midnight, the prince searches for her and finds her; they marry and live happily ever after. It is important not just a list of events but the relationship between them. Why does the prince have feelings for her? Because she is virtuous, as opposed to her evil stepsisters, who are both beautiful but shallow and vain. It would be nothing more than a list of events without that relationship. It weaves the various pieces together into a coherent whole, a story.

The term plot is a textile industry metaphor for the set of parallel threads interwoven with the warp to make the fabric. Each of the above elements can be thought of as individual plot threads that the writer weaves together in a specific order and where the relationship between them is demonstrated to give them coherence and direction.

Not every story has a plot.


The plot of a play is a synopsis of the main events. The key word here is summary because it is a summary of the contents of a book, and it used to appear at the beginning of these, or of each chapter, many years ago. Such is the case with the novel The Book Thief, in which each section begins with a brief list of the main points covered in it, in addition to the title.

Every written work must have a plot (just have someone list the main points), but not all of them have a complete or articulated plot. Furthermore, academic and non-fiction texts rarely have a plot but have a clear argumentation and a well-defined structure.

A plot can be so simple that it tells us almost nothing about the work: "Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who kept a diary about her life during the persecution in Nazi Germany." What did she go through during those years? What were her observations? The plot can fall short, usually for the best, because it can ruin key surprises in the story. It is nearly identical to the film synopsis, except that the latter is done solely for publicity purposes and never reveals the ending.

This brings us to another distinction between the plot and the work: the plot is intended to be read before the work, whereas the work is intended to be read after the plot.


It is the fundamental distribution of the narrative's elements. It differs from the plot in this regard because what is behind the story is not the same as how the elements are presented to the reader. For example, the plot is typically linear, with events presented in a logical, chronological order, by importance, and so on. In contrast, the structure is not always linear and can present events differently from how they occurred, as in the film Memento, in which events are told in reverse.

The structure, on the other hand, encompasses much more. For example, the number and size of the chapters, whether they will have broad sections, the proportion of exposition, action, and dialogue, and a variety of other external form characteristics can all be considered structural parts.

From Aristotle to the present, the minimum structure of a text in the Western tradition will always have three basic parts: approach, development, and resolution. They are usually accompanied by smaller but equally important components, such as the knots and the climax. Some consider a story that does not adhere to these basic guidelines to be a story without a plot, and those who oppose 'formulism' frequently attempt this type of work.

The term comes from the architectural context and refers to two general concepts. The first is the arrangement of the building's elements: their order, size, location, and relationship. Second is the sturdy framework that underpins the structure.

In general, the plot and structure are combined to serve as a framework within which the actual wording of the work will be woven, much like the colored threads in a Gobelin are woven on a base cloth that will be hidden entirely in the end, but without which the piece would fall apart. But conversely, the argument is more practical: it informs the reader about the content and encourages him to read further.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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