What is the plot?

What Does Plot Mean

We explain what the plot of a work is and what are the parts that make up its structure. Also, what types of frames exist.

The plot is the chronological thread of the events presented in a work.

What is the plot?

When we speak of plot, in the context of stories and narratology, we refer to the chronological thread of the events presented in a narrative work to the reader , that is, to the set of events that take place in the story. Some terms more or less synonymous with it are argument , anecdote or story .

The events of the plot vary according to the story that is told . However, its structure and its way of moving forward respond to recognizable patterns, which have been dealt with by students of the story since ancient times. The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) was one of the first to propose a method for the study of these matters in his Poetics (355 BC).

According to Aristotle, every plot consisted of three parts: an introduction , a complication, and a denouement . This structure is considered classic in the study of stories even today.

  • Introduction . In this first section, the characters and the context in which the story will take place are introduced: place, time , and the basic conditions from which the climax of the story will develop. The rules of the game of the story and the elements that the reader will have later onshould be clear.
  • Complication, development or knot. Here are the impediments, obstacles or complications that lead to the climax of the story, that is, to its point of greatest emotional tension.
  • Outcome or solution. The final segment of the plot, in which the events of the complication find a final solution, not necessarily beneficial for the protagonists, nor happy, but a definitive, final solution. It is the end of the plot, there is nothing more to tell after the outcome.

Many other writers and thinkers have contributed to the definition of the plot. The school of Russian Formalism, which emerged in the twentieth century in pre-revolutionary Russia, was one of the intellectual groups that made the greatest contributions in the field of the study of the plot ( syuzet in Russian) on the part of Literary Theory.

Similarly, Sergio Pitol, a contemporary Mexican writer, stated that one should “love the plot more than the ending,” thereby explaining that in literary creation rigor should be placed in the plot and not in surprising or mysterious endings.

It can help you: Main narrator

Frame types

The reveal plots occur when the main conflict ends.

We can talk about different types of frames, according to different classification criteria, for example:

  • According to its term. That is, according to the recurring criteria on the closing moment of the story.
  • Resolution frames. Those in which the end occurs when an impediment or an obstacle has been saved for better or for worse: when a sick person is cured (or dies), when a rival is defeated (or defeated), when it is conquered (or is lost) the girl, etc. In general, they can be summarized in that what is sought is achieved (or not).
  • Revelation plots . They are those in which the closure occurs when a main conflict , greater than the situations witnessed by the protagonist, has its end. For example, when a war ends , when old age or death is reached, when the years go by, etc.
  • According to their presentation modes. That is, according to the textual strategy you use to advance your story.
  • Narrative plot. One that is made up of events, actions, a count of events.
  • Descriptive plot. The one that advances through the description , that is, the detail of characters, settings, etc.
  • Argumentative plot. It is the one that advances based on the defense or attack of certain specific positions within the text .
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