Understanding the Plot Line
Great stories have a common structure called the "plot line." The following activity will help you understand why it takes the form that it does.
Your Turn Take out a piece of paper and write "Great Experiences" at the top. Beneath that title, draw a graph as follows:
- Draw a vertical y-axis down the left side of the page.
- Label the y-axis "Excitement," with "Awesome!" at the top of the line and "Blah . . ." at the bottom.
- Draw a horizontal x-axis along the bottom and label it "Beginning . . . Middle . . . Ending."
- Think of a great experience you had. Use a colored marker to graph your level of excitement from "Blah" to "Awesome" during the beginning, middle, and ending of the experience.
- Pick another great experience and use a different colored marker to graph your excitement with it.
- Repeat the process for a third great experience.
Note how your great experiences rise in excitement to a climactic point and drop off afterward, just like the plot line.
Next, graph a lousy experience. Note how it does not follow the plot line.
The plot line exists because writers want readers to have a great experience when reading.
Understanding the Plot Line by Thoughtful Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at k12.thoughtfullearning.com/minilesson/understanding-plot-line.