Creating Basic Storylines for Plot


By Britney Pieta

Have you ever noticed that movie or book plots have a lot of the same storylines but somehow they make them new, refreshing, and exciting? Well you are right… Different genres do have the same overall structure but at the same time they have different details in between.

First let me describe what goes into a  plot according to:

What Goes into a Plot?

Narrative tradition calls for developing stories with particular pieces–plot elements–in place.

  1. Exposition is the information needed to understand a story.
  2. Complication is the catalyst that begins the major conflict.
  3. Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when characters try to resolve the complication.
  4. Resolution is the set of events that bring the story to a close.

Here are some popular movie or novel genres each with a basic storyline:

Fantasy or Science Fiction: (ex. Superman, Spiderman, The Hulk, The Karate Kid)

Exposition: A boy or a girl has an ordinary existence when suddenly…

Rising Action: The boy or girl discovers they have superhuman abilities.

Inciting Incident: The boy or girl discovers they are part of a prophecy and have been chosen and the boy or girl starts on their journey.

Climax: The boy or girl is caught up with their new identity and must save the world.

Falling action: The boy or girl has to choose whether they want to be ordinary or superhuman.

Denouement: The boy or girl escapes from those who are chasing them to live the life they want to choose.


 Action adventure: (ex. The Wizard of Oz, Princess Bride, Brave, The Man in the Iron Mask)

Exposition: A boy or a girl lives an ordinary life on a farm or in a quiet neighborhood when suddenly…

Rising Action: The boy or girl wishes for a life beyond their ordinary day to day existence.

Inciting incident: The boy or girl wants to run away to live their dream.

Climax: The boy or girl finds amazing adventures outside of their comfort zone.

Falling action: The boy or girl is on top of the world and realizes how they have reached their full potential.
Denouement: The boy or girl either goes back home with their new memories or continues their new life never forgetting where they originally came from.


Romantic: (ex. The Titanic, The Great Gatsby, West Side Story, Twilight)

Exposition: A girl and a boy are living their own live in their own little worlds when suddenly…

Rising Action: Something happens that makes their worlds collide.

Inciting incident: The girl and boy get to know each other and their relationship blossoms.

Climax: The girl and boy face opposition from others, the world, or within themselves.

Falling action: The girl or boy says or does something that makes them drift apart.

Denouement: Something causes the girl or boy to change their mind and they are reunited and live happily ever after.


Comedy: (Malcom in the Middle, The Bill Cosby, Sister – Sister )

Exposition: A girl or boy is planning something mischievous to ruin someone’s plans such as date when…

Rising Action: The plan is starting to go into action and all is happening well.

Inciting Incident: Something else starts to happen that messes up the original plan.

Climax: The perpetrator of the plan witnesses chaos and tries to make everything better.

Falling Action: The people affected by the plan calm down and laugh it off.

Denouement: The mischievous boy or girl wonders what he/she can do next. 




Filed under Bloggin' with Britney

3 responses to “Creating Basic Storylines for Plot

  1. Rose Calkins

    Britney, Thank you for your blog post! Could you send out an e-mail by Monday reminding people there is a DWG meeting next Monday, Nov. 11th at 7:00pm. Could you please post that in FB too? Please could you check to see if we have received and incoming e-mails for writers interested in joining DWG? If so,can you forward them to me. The e-mail address was given out in a mailing from the library. Thank you! Warmly, Rose

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Paulette Winston

    I have a new email address: Thank you. Paulette Winst

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