Exercises Constructing a Plot

1. Choose three short stories to read and think about. For each story, write brief answers to the following questions:

a. What is the organizing principle? Is it plot or something else?

b. What do you think the central issue of the story is?

c. What is the inciting incident and at what point in the story does it occur?

d. What is the protagonist's goal, and what complications interfere with reaching it? Are the sources of the complications internal or external?

e. Are there plot points or crises that turn the story in a new direction or mark a change in the protagonist's fortunes? What are they?

f. What event or action constitutes the climax of the story?

g. Do you feel the story achieves a satisfying resolution? Why or why not?

2. Write the story of Molly and Veronica that begins on page 77. How does the chain of actions and consequences play out? Keep in mind the following questions:

a. What does Molly want? What does Veronica want?

b. Where do their goals conflict?

c. What other sources of conflict might there be?

d. How do Molly and Veronica feel about what is happening?

e. What do they do next?

f. What does the teacher do? What is his or her goal in this story?

g. Are there other characters involved? For example, other students, the school principal, Molly's or Veronica's parents?

h. What was the relationship between the two girls at the beginning of the story, and how does it change?

3. Pick a familiar fairy tale (other than Cinderella) and:

a. Depict the story in the form of an actions-and-conse-quences chain (similar to the one involving Molly and Veronica).

b. Create a plot outline, indicating what incidents and information will go in the beginning, the middle, and the end.

4. Choose a scene you wrote for one of the exercises in Chapters Two or Three and expand it into a story.

a. Identify:

• The goals of the main characters.

• The central issue of the story.

b. Develop an actions-and-consequences chain.

c. Create a plot outline, indicating what incidents and information will go in the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Chapter 5

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Responses

  • Hildifons Chubb
    What incidents constitute the building blocks of the story's plot?
    8 years ago

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