What is a plot summary?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A plot summary is a discussion about the facts of how the plot in a story develops. One might think of it as a type of cause and effect essay because the idea is to indicate major decisions that characters make about problems that affect certain consequences. Without these major problems, decisions, and consequences, there wouldn't be a story; it might as well be a simple travel-log in that case. Take Romeo and Juliet, for example.  Their families are in a heated war; that's the problem. But the two lovers want to get married. Once they make that decision a reality, all of the other decisions that they make create the plot. Finding out the consequences is the thrill for the audience and what makes it all interesting. Usually a plot is likened to a bell. A story starts out with an exposition of characters and setting; then, problems are revealed which is called the rising action; next, the plot piques at the climax (usually where the final battle or decision is made); and finally, the falling action reveals the resolution and end of the story (or how everything turns out in the end.)  The links below take you to examples of plot summaries.


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