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Plot typically refers to the events and their ordering in a work of narrative fiction. Use this tag for questions regarding plotting, outlining, and narrative arc.

This tag should be used For questions relating to the sequence of events of a novel, also known as its storyline.

In any work of fiction, there are three critical elements that must always exist:

  • The setting (the place in which the story happens; the scope of the setting can change but ultimately broadens to a span of time within a "universe" in which certain things are accepted as fact which may or may not differ from the "real" universe),
  • The characters (fictional or fictionalized people who populate the setting), and
  • The plot or storyline (the sequence of events that happens to the characters in the setting).

The plot of a story constitutes the bulk of most fiction-writing efforts; it is essentially everything that happens, whether known or unknown, internal or external to a character's mind, between the earliest time period documented by the novel and the latest. The structure of a novel or other work of fiction may involve skipping backwards or forwards in place or time for dramatic purposes, but there generally should be a single linear timeline along which all events occur (unless the subject matter itself deals with making changes to the timeline such as time travel).

The plot tag is for the story and structure questions in the writing process. "What order should these events happen?", "How do I turn distinct events into a cohesive plot?". Questions related to show-telling and the feel of the story should instead use the tag.

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