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Plot

In the simplest sense, plot means the events in a story as they happen in a particular order. Plot also refers to the way the events are organised, to cause and effect, and to the way events are set in motion. Plots are not merely lists of events. Instead, the events take the shape known as a 'narrative arc' (see question 3).

Play this quiz to see how much you know about this essential element of narrative.

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  1. Which texts have a plot?
    Narrative is story telling and stories have plots.  Short stories, novels, drama and narrative poetry have plots
  2. A plot needs...
    Conflict, in this sense, does not mean violent conflict (although there is plenty of that in stories).  Conflict means any struggle; the struggle may be between ideas, between people, or between people and their environment.  Conflict may also be internal, rather than external
  3. Which of the following places plot structure in the correct order?
    Stories usually devote more space to 'rising action', where conflict and complications occur, than to the 'falling action'
  4. Which of the following terms means the 'resolution' of a plot?
  5. Which of the following describes a minor sequence of events taking place away from the central story line?
    Subplots can be used to support the central theme, provide a contrast to the central theme, or otherwise comment on the rest of the story
  6. Returning to past events, either in dream, memory or in a character's recollection.
  7. An element of the plot which serves to draw readers in.
    Plot hooks usually appear at the beginning of a story to lure the reader in
  8. A technique in which an event, subplot, word, symbol or episode suggests a future plot development.
  9. How do plot and structure relate to one another?
    In a novel, structure includes chapter divisions and other organisational elements
  10. How should plot be handled in an essay?
    Never summarise the entire plot of a story in an essay - you will bore your reader, who already knows the plot

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