Storytelling's basic structure: plot

Many people may say they like new stories, but in reality, audiences often seek out the same narratives again and again, looking to hear the same story told in a way that makes it feel new.

It is this tendency that sometimes leads audiences to find themselves disappointed by unconventional conclusions, left with a sense of betrayal after a completely unexpected ending. Put simply, stories never vary too greatly from one another in content, but can be distinguished through the different methods used to tell them.

In spite of this reality, the concept of story remains important; consider how the main plot points of classics and ancient mythology still resonate today. Revenge, heroic triumph, overcoming hardship—such basic themes will always be powerful. The key to preserving the freshness of such plot devices is to innovate new ways to present them. Theatrical genres such as melodrama, the plots of which were known for taking on lighter, more uplifting topics, still adhered to standard plot conventions. Pre-established patterns can be employed in various ways. If the plot challenges these patterns, it goes against the rules of the genre, which can elicit negative reactions.

Thus, storytelling is driven by the ability to stay faithful to basic plot devices while expressing them in innovative ways.

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This article is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)