Much of the time, when writing prose, we get so carried away by character development and writing style that we forget all about the central structure of our work – the plot. Plot (or story, it really is the same thing) plays a critical role within creative prose. In fact as a judge of the recent creative writing contest, I had to unwillingly set aside very well written pieces just because they had no discernible plot. Sticking to a story – however complex or simple, is critical to your writing.
Happily, the plot is the easiest of all the creative writing elements. It consists of:
- Exposition: This is where the narrative universe is set up and made accessible. It is common to start with a gripping hook, or offer the back-story, and present the action and inner life of the main character.
- Rising Action: This is where the drama begins to unfold. It mainly describes a conflict or complication, where the main character meets an obstacle, either internal or external where he or she is unable to get what they desire.
- Climax: This is often the middle of the piece where the drama comes to a head – usually this consists of a confrontation between the main character and the obstacle, where it becomes obvious that the status quo, that we became aware of in the exposition, is no longer possible.
- Falling action: This is where the dramatic narrative eases, where tensions begin to loosen, and the new, post-climatic world becomes available to the reader.
- Resolution: This is where the writer knits up all loose threads into a beautiful pattern, offering the reader a sense of both closure and satisfaction.
The next time you sit down for some creative writing, consider these elements and how they manifest themselves in your work.