Outline plot from journal | English homework help

NOTE: Please use the Plot Outline Template for this assignment.

Your Fiction Project assignment for Week 03 is to map out a plot based on an entry you made last week in your journal – and then add a one-sentence theme.

Fiction Fundamentals


Step in the Project

Plot/ Conflict

Week 03

Outline a plot from your journal. Use your journal entry from week 2 to outline a plot according to the five major stages of story development.

Step 1. Read the material on plot in your textbook before you tackle this assignment.

Step 2. Return to Week 02 and find the journal entry where you described a conflict.

Step 3. Take your journal entry and map out a plot for your short story.

In outlining your plot, remember that it is an outline! Stick to the plot details – don’t try to write the whole story. Most plots break down into five stages: 1) the exposition, an opening incident that sets the scene and gets the conflict going; 2) the rising action, where the tension builds; 3) the climax, where the conflict comes to a head and the outcome becomes known; 4) the falling action (or “denoument”), where the reader learns how the character has changed based on his/her experience; and 5) theresolution, which provides the ending for the story.

In short stories, both the exposition and the rising action are usually quite short, as is the denoument and resolution.  The primary focus on a short story is on the climax, but the other stages are still needed to provide the context for that.

At the end of your plot outline, write a one-sentence theme of the story. It should capture what you think the story is saying about life in general. A theme might be: “True friends are loyal” or “You get what you pay for,” etc.

Here is a sample journal entry that provides the seed for plot outline and theme (Simplified)

JOURNAL ENTRY: Once upon a time in a magical kingdom, a young lady with an evil step-mother wanted to attend the Prince’s ball, but she didn’t have a dress or a way to get there.  Fortunately she does have a Fairy Godmother who is able to grant her wish, but only until midnight.  As the clock counts down, we will find out if the young lady meets her prince and makes it home before the spell wears off – and maybe something more!   

PLOT: (Opening scene/exposition) Cinderlla is sweeping the hearth while her step-sisters get ready for the Prince’s ball. (Initial incident to introduce conflict) Her evil step-mother ridicules Cinderella and tells her she must stay home since she doesn’t have a dress and no Prince would want her anyway.  However, Cinderella has a Fairy Godmother, who arrives just as the evil trio departs to grant Cinderella’s wish.  With a new dress and a coach made from a pumpkin, Cinderella heads to the ball, with the only condition being that she must be home by midnight (conflict increases/rising action).  Cinderella has a magical time at the ball, and catches the Prince’s eye, but she must flee before he learns her name because the clock is striking midnight! (climax).  Cinderella makes it home, but she loses a shoe along the way.  Little did she know the Prince would search the kingdom for the foot that fits (denoument) and find his princess among the ashes…and they live happily ever after (resolution). 

THEME: Good luck favors good people. 

What to turn in this week: Submit the plot summary and theme for your short story.


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