Evil Plotting Raccoon

Plot is not merely “a chronological arrangement of incidents” but a careful crafting of events so that they appear to be in “a causal and inevitable arrangement.” The plot of a story should represent a clear beginning, middle, and end, of the action according to Aristotle in his Poetics.

A Handbook to Literature, 11th edition, by William Harmon

 Shapes of Plots

Freytag's Pyramid

Gustav Freytag’s pyramid is the most ubiquitous
visual representation of plot structure.



Example of a plot summary
(spoilers, of course)

Freytag’s Pyramid used to provide a
plot summary of George Orwell’s 1984


Other shapes of stories

Kurt Vonnegut lecturing on the shapes of stories
University of South Carolina Aiken Lecture Series
September 23rd, 1997
Etherredge Center, Aiken, SC

The Literary Web


Conflict Characterization Plot Point of View Setting Tone Theme Figurative Language Main Assertion Sub Assertions Explanation Examples