Friday, November 2, 2007

Plots and Types of Plot Devices

Plot - the ordering of events and actions of a story. Usually diveded into a Beginning, Middle and End.

A plot device is an element introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot. It moves the story along. In the hands of a skilled writer, the reader will not notice that the device is a construction of the author—it will seem to follow naturally from the setting or characters in the story.

Examples of Plot Devices:


Chase Scene — a scene interjected between plot points that does not develop the plot, but serves to heighten tension in the conflict; in film, often used purely to display special effects

Chekhov's Gun — object introduced into a story but not used until much later

Cliffhanger — abrupt ending presumably allowing the story to be continued in another episode or some other work

Deathtrap — overly complicated method of killing a character, typically used by a villain

Deus ex machina — strange or unusual means of resolving a story, such as having an event turn out to be a dream

Discovery — sudden realization of events or relations with other characters

Eavesdropping — surreptitious listening to others' conversations

Exposition — explaining prior events occurring in the story

Fictional fictional character — a fictional character known to be fictional by the characters in the story

Flashing arrow — explicit and obvious reference to a person or object in a story

Foreshadowing — giving subtle hints of events yet to come in the story

Frame Story — a main story being told in the form of smaller stories

Framing Device — a single event or object having heightened significance

Happy Ending — where most everything turns out for the best

MacGuffin — a prime motivation for the characters that has little other relevance to the story

Mexican Standoff — where two or more people are trapped in an impasse where neither can win

Narrative Hook — the opening of a story intended to grab the reader and hold them to read the story

Plot Coupon — obvious object needed to resolve a conflict in a story

Plot Generator — a character or device which creates plots and allows virtually unlimited stories to be created

Plot Point — an event that changes the direction of the plot and the story

Plot Twist — an event which completely reverses the plot or story

Predestination Paradox — where someone travels back in time and could conceivably change history or their past

Pyrrhic Victory — where someone wins an outcome, but the result of the win is disastrous

Quest — complicated search for capture or return of an object or person

Quibble — following the exact terms of an agreement to escape what would normally be expected

Red Herring — a person, event or object which deflects attention from the real thing

Reversal — a change in the action or circumstances completely reversing them

Self Fulfilling Prophecy — a prediction of a future event, where the prediction of the event causes the event

Sexual Tension — where characters desire each other but either can't fulfill their desires or they are delayed

Side Story — additional story taking place at the same time as the main story

Stock Character — character which is stereotypical in nature

Story within a Story — where one story is being told as part of a larger one

Twist Ending — unexpected conclusion to a story

Villain — evil character in a story

1 comment:

Disney Inspector said...

I would suspect there is a difference between plot device and plot type?