Transgressive Fiction Plot

What is Plot?

Types and Stages of a Plot

Should You Plan A plot?

Inciting incident

Plot in Transgressive Fiction

As I explained in previous article, "Characterization", I have focused so much on characterization in the development of a transgressive fiction, plot has tended to be ignored. For many outlining never works in fiction writing, mainly because planning plot has never worked for them. For them the story can become flat if they try to stick to an outline. So, if you're one of those writers, even with a general idea in mind of where the story is going, you'll most probably let it grow away from any plans. As an example, King in his book On Writing, mentions that there are three parts in a novel: narration, description, and dialogue. He adds that, "I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and, second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible." (163) Before we go further, let's talk about plot.

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What is Plot?

In a literary work, "the plot is the sequence of events where each affects the next one through the principle of cause-and-effect." (source) Plot is similar to the term storyline, however, there's a difference between them. A plot is the way a writer tries to make the readers interested in what he/she tells. So, a "storyline" is a series of events that happen through time but a "plot" is the telling of these events in ways that create interest for the reader through the use of narration and dialogue to create emotional attachment to a character. However, plot can also mean a narrative summary or story synopsis without having a specific cause and effect sequence. So what makes a good plot?

  1. A plot should explain a series of connected events events in a story.

  2. It also needs to shows a cause and effect relationship between each event.

  3. It has to link the actions and events in a logical way.

Types and Stages of a Plot

Plots can be as simple as a traditional ballad or complex structures including a subplot or imbroglio. To create a plot, I recommend you to use Japanese manga style "Rough" that is called the nemu which actually is equivalent to "storyboard". In this style, they first create the roughs which are quick sketches arranged within a suggested page layout. The main goals of roughs outline are to:

  1. Lay out the flow of panels across a page

  2. Ensure the story successfully builds suspense

  3. Work out points of view, camera angles, and character positions within panels

  4. Serve as a basis for the next stage of development, the "pencil" stage, where detailed drawings are produced in a more polished layout which will, in turn, serve as the basis for the inked drawings. (source)

In general, there are 5 aspects or stages in a plot according to Freytag:


1) Exposition

Exposition is the starting point of a story and clear the way for following events. It is in this part that main characters are introduced, the setting is built, and main conflicts are revealed. In addition, this is where your character’s backstory should be presented to show why the main characters think and behave in a certain way.

2) Rising Action

Here the main problem or conflict is revealed. During this period, the main character will struggle to accept the conflict that could be character vs. self or character vs. antagonist, nature/society. Here we learn how the main characters handle the problems that comes their way.

3) Climax

It is the turning point in the story and mostly focus on main character's most difficult challenge. It is the most exciting part of the story and creates a turning point in the character’s life. Here you need to write about what new information your character will receive and whether he/she accepts the information or not.

4) Falling Action

The falling action happens immediately after the climax and clarify the details of the good or bad consequences that the main character have to deal with. Here you will be needed to set the stage for the resolution.

5) Resolution

Resolution is the part that we see the result of the events and the fate of the main character and antagonists are revealed. Here you need to show how the main character solves the conflicts and connect the loose ends of the storyline.


Should You Plan A plot?

The question of whether or not to plan, and how much planning to do, is a specifically is asked when a writer wants to write a novel. The reason is that novels are such a massive undertaking by any measure, outlining might seem both practical and necessary. However, it depends on what do you prefer. For me, that depends on what I'm writing. For longer fiction like novels, I plan but not for the whole story. I plan a section and I see where it goes and then I plan the next section accordingly. I can say, this method works if you don't want to spend too much outlining or if you get bored knowing what will happen at the end.

Plotting is not necessary to write a novel or any other type of story, the only thing that is necessary is actually start writing it. A good example of an author who doesn't plan is King. He explains that he sees stories as entities that create themselves organically and should be allowed to grow as they go along. I do agree with him as for me, the stories and characters grow gradually and I don't dictate them who they need to be (in my world, I'm a democratic goddess). I believe that forcing a plan for plot never seems to work out well. Once characters have their own backgrounds, voices, and motives, plot seems to generate around the characters and not the other way around.

Of course the plot is important but keep in mind that the role of plot is simply second to characterization. I always start by creating character and as I mentioned in my previous article, I start with giving them a name. For example, in ENARO, Geras, was the created way before I wrote this novel. I got the idea of creating him from one of my short stories, "Enunchism", in my first Anthology, Ideo: The Bitter Recipes of the Truth. In writing fiction, the opening events that set your story in motion are crucial because of how they set the tone and mood, build the key details of character and setting , and establish intrigue. But what is inciting incidents?

Inciting incident

The inciting incident is a plot point that hooks the reader into the story. This specific moment is when an event put the main character into the main action of the story. The inciting incident can fit in Campbell’s description of the "hero’s journey" and he defines the inciting incident as the "call to adventure".

Simplified Journey Illustration by Reg Harris

So how do you create a compelling inciting incident?