As a literature teacher, one aspect you often have to engage your students in is reading novels and stories. You have to help them understand plotlines, themes, and stylistic devices – all of which require that you explain the story’s plot to them. A plot diagram template can come in handy in such situations because it tells your students everything that happens in a story.
What Is a Plot Diagram?
A plot diagram is an illustrative representation of the events that occur in a story, usually in the form of a pyramid or triangular shaped drawing. By mapping out a story in this manner, it helps the audience visualize the key themes in a story so they can familiarize themselves with the plot. Plot diagrams are often used by teachers to help students understand a story but can also be used by writers to plan out their storyline before writing.
What Is a Plot Diagram Template?
A plot diagram template is a customizable diagram that can be filled in and edited to represent the main events of a story. If you don’t want to prepare a plot diagram from scratch, you can transfer all the important aspects of a story onto the template to help your students better understand it.
Plot Diagram Templates & Examples
Essential Elements of a Plot Diagram Template
There are many types of plot diagram templates but they all have similar elements that count toward the plot of a story. These universal elements are as follows:
- Exposition – The exposition is the beginning of a story and it introduces the audience to the characters, settings, timing, location, and mood of the story. It also identifies the protagonists and antagonists.
- Rising Action – The rising action often follows the exposition and includes the developments of the story’s characters and an explanation of the conflict. It highlights the events that come right before the climax, often leaving the audience in suspense.
- Climax – Otherwise called the ‘high point’, the climax is the most exciting part of the story. It outlines how the characters face the conflict described in the rising action.
- Falling Action – After the climax, comes the falling action, which explains any loose ends left after the conflict is resolved.
- Resolution – The resolution is the story’s end. Depending on your plans, you can leave the audience satisfied or with more questions. The latter is a wise choice if you are planning a sequel.
Types of Plot Diagram Templates
Plot diagrams are crucial to storytelling because they reveal the plot, without which the story would not have a good flow and the audience would fail to understand. Because writers and storytellers often have different styles of delivery, there are many types of plot diagram templates available for use. Some of the most common include:
- Simple template
- Plot curve diagram template
- Box plot diagram template
- Plot structure diagram template
- Color-coded plot template
- Plot graph
- Scatter plot template
- Plot graphic organizer
- Short story plot template
Remember, any template you choose to use should outline details in a way that makes you story simpler and more digestible to the audience.
Benefits of Making a Plot Diagram
By now, you know what a plot diagram is, its components, and the types of templates you can use to create one. But what is all the fuss about with these diagrams? Here is a look at the pros of using a Plot Diagram Template to represent a story:
- By now, you know what a plot diagram is, its components, and the types of templates you can use to create one. But what is all the fuss about with these diagrams? Here is a look at the pros of using a Plot Diagram Template to represent a story:
- A plot diagram can help you write the story faster because you don’t have to keep trying to remember the plot. It is outlined on the diagram already.
- Using it reduces your chances or getting stuck on an event or forgetting the story because you can always refer to the plotline.
- If your story includes heavy terminology or plot twists, you can spot them and prepare in advance to answer any questions your students might have.
- A plot diagram allows you to plan your delivery by tone, dramatization, and pace because you already know the major events.
- Because they are customizable, plot diagram templates allow you to modify the diagram details to your liking while maintaining the essence of the story.
- If you are a writer, using a plot diagram can save you from writer’s block as it provides you with an outline of the plot.
- It can also help you name your characters and locations.
- Plot diagrams foster easy understanding of literature among easily distracted children.
- They also teach them how stories are written if they want to write one.
How to Make a Plot Diagram in Microsoft Word
If you like using diagrams to illustrate relationships, you will love the SmartArt section of Word 2013. It contains multiple templates that can come in handy in this regard. Unfortunately, plot diagrams are not featured, so you have to make them yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Draw the Exposition
Open Word 2013 on your PC and open a new blank document. Click on the ‘Insert’ options, select ‘Shapes’ then ‘Lines’ and pick a basic line. Click and drag the pointer from the midpoint and left side of the page to a suitable length and press ‘Shift’ to keep your line straight. It represents the Exposition.
Step 2: Draw the Rising Action Line
As in step 1, draw a diagonal line upward from the end of the exposition line to a suitable length. This line will represent the rising action.
Step 3: Determine the Climax
From the end of the rising action line, draw another diagonal line downward. This is the falling action and the point where it meets the rising action is the climax.
Step 4: Draw the Resolution Line
Repeat step 1 and draw a horizontal line from the end of the falling action line to represent the resolution. Your diagram should now look like a triangle with no base and two horizontal lines at the bottom extending from the rising and falling action lines away from the triangle.
Step 5: Name the Elements
Select ‘WordArt’ under ‘Text’ on the ‘Insert’ tab and pick a style that appeals to you. Inside the text box that appears, type in ‘Exposition’ and adjust the size and angle of the text box until it is desirable. Next, drag it to the exposition line and position it as you desire. Repeat this step for the other elements.
Step 6: Make Notes
Add a ‘Simple Text Box’ form the ‘Text Box’ option on the ‘Insert’ tab and add a text to it that describes the plotline of your story. Do this as many times as is necessary to represent the entire plot.
When teaching children literature, a plot diagram template is an invaluable tool because it helps them understand the plot of a given story or novel. This is especially important because children often get distracted or confused when you introduce several characters into a story, change the setting, or describe a flashback or flash forward. A plot diagram can help them keep track of all of these changes and understand the progression from the beginning of the story to the conclusion.