|This topic sheet was originally
devised for the Exciting
Writing Foundation Course. There is a table
of links to other teaching resources towards the bottom
of this page.
The importance of plot
and What makes a good plot?
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY "PLOT"
AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
- "It's what happens the story."
- "It's the controlling force that
drives the story."
- "It's a structure and a sequence of
events that move the story from beginning to end."
- "Its a logical means to originate
ideas on which to hang characters."
- "Its the vortex everything
centres around it and comes of it its fill of twists
- "Thrillers usually follow a set pattern:
set-up, detective work, climax, denouement."
- "Work that is too formulaic is unsatisfying,
e.g. Mills & Boon."
- "A beginning, a middle and an end,
but not necessarily in that order."
- "Must a plot have a beginning,
a middle and an end?" "Not necessarily."
- "Plot is not essential consider
plays like Waiting for Godot." "A play/novel might
have an objective rather than a plot."
- "A plot is the backbone of the piece
the main element that makes the reader/audience want to stay
until the end."
- "The outcome of the plot is the resolution
of the issue that keeps you in your seat."
- "Plot is what makes something literature
as opposed to real life whereas real life meanders on,
plot is specifically structured."
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PLOT?
- It comprises good scenes in which "good characters"
make "good speeches" based on "good ideas".
- It has a strong story-line.
- It includes an intrigue or mystery that readers/listeners
want to solve.
- It is clear but not simplistic or predictable easy
to follow, yet engaging enough to make people want to read or
- It uses contrasting settings, moods, characters, etc as a
means of evoking readers/listeners memories and
playing upon their emotions.
- It is credible and consistent in terms of style, characters
and locations and how they relate to the action.
- It includes "surprises", for example in terms of
unexpected events or characters behaving unexpectedly.
- It includes some elements of conflict perhaps resolved
- It includes at least some elements of originality.
- It conveys a clear message or messages to the reader/listener,
even if the message of the piece is an unresolved issue.
- It does not dominate the other features of the piece, such
- The key elements of the plot are memorable.