A plot or structure of story, is the arrangement of tied-together chronological events which have causal and thematic connections. The particular plot is something the novelist and short story writers are driven to. It is what is left after the whittling-away of alternatives.
Friedman asks three questions before considering a set of alternative repotheses for defining the form of a given plot; First, who is the protagonist?; Second, what is his character and how do we respond to it?; Third, which is the principal part and how are the other two related to it?
Friedman in his book Form and Meaning in Fiction discusses plot under Part two of his book: The Problem of Form Chapter Five, Forms of the Plot, he proposes to have terms in defining the form of plot, for differentiating its structure effect from those of other plots. Since anyone of the parts an action may serve as the principal part, we may have plots of fortune, plots of character, and plots of thought.
· Kinds Of Plot
A. Plots of fortune
a) Action plot. This is the most common, and the sole interest lies in what happens next. This resembles the idea of plot which Forster called in opposition to character.
b) Sympathetic plot. Here we have a sympathetic protagonist who undergoes fortune through no particular fault of his own.
c) The tragic plot. If, however, a sympathetic protagonist has also stressed of will in addition to certain degree of sophistication or ability change his thought, his responsibility for what he does or cause happen may be correspondingly greater and hence our satisfication his downfall is thereby made clearer.
d) The punitive plot. Here we have protagonist whose character is essentially unsympathetic in that his goals and purposes are repugnant, who may perhaps be admirable for his strength of will.
e) The sentimental plot. Coming now to those plots in which the change fortune is for the better, we have a very common type involving sympathetic protagonistwho survives the threat of misfortune and comes out all right at the end.
f) The admiration plot. A change in fortune for the better which is caused by a sympathetic protagonist’s nobility of character results in a some what different effect.
B. Plots of character
a) The maturing plot. The most common with plots which turn upon arrange in character involves a sympathetic protagonist whose goals are mistakenly conceived or not yet formed, and whose will is rudder-ky and vacillating.
b) The reform plot. Similar to the maturing plot is another form of character change for the better, in which the protagonist’s thought is sufficient in the beginning.
c) The testing plot. A sympathetic , strong and purposeful character is ensured in one way or another to compromise or surrender his noble and ways.
d) The degeneration plot. A character change for the worse occurs when we start with a protagonist who was at the time sympathetic and full ambition, and subject him to some crucial loss which results in his utter disillusionment.
C. Plots of thought
a) The education plot. The most common type involves a change in thought for the better in terms of the protagnist’s conceptions, beliefs and attitudes. It resembles the maturing plot in that his thought at the outset is somehow inadequate and is then improved, but it doesn’t continue on to demonstrate or confirm the effects of this beneficial change on his behaviour.
b) The revelation plot. This type hinges upon the protagonist’s ignorance of the essential facts of his situation. It is not a question of his attitudes and belief’s but of his knowledge, and he must discover the truth before he can come to a dicision.
c) The affective plot. There is a change in attitude and beliefs here, but not of the general and philosophical sort which characterizes the education plot. The problem is to see some other person in a different and truer than before, with involves a change in feeling.
d) The disillusionment plot. Here a sympathetic protagonist starts out in the full bloom of faith in a certain set of ideals and after being subjected to some kind of loss, threat, or trial loses faith entirely.
· Plot Structure
A short story, in theory, and putting exceptions aside, should probably be as much of a oneness as possible; and probably it is something of a fault in a short story if there is an abvious separation between its beginning, its middle, and its end. It is probably good to begin and end a story as near the middle as possible.
Ø Beginning , = it is certainly true that every story must have a beginning, in the sense of s first sentence with a capital letter, but the beginning of a modern literary story is not likely to do all the things that the books on writing say a beginning ought to do.
Ø The Middle, = “complication” and “development” are two terms related to the plot of the middle of the story.
Ø The end, = The ending of a modern short story does not require a long summary of what happened after the complication has been resolved. The contemporary short story writer need make no kore explanations in his endings than in this beginnings, still he must avoid being obscure.