Topic 4 Narrative flow: Structure

All stories have a beginning a middle and an end; this also applies to playwrighting. The structure of a play refers to the progression of the plot and subplots. As we saw in the videos, the climax is the heightened moment of a play and deals with and overcomes a problem, obstacle or barrier that a character in the play is facing.

  • exposition – introduces background events and characters
  • rising action – a series of events that create suspense in the narrative
  • climax – the part of the story where the suspense reaches its highest part
  • falling action – the main conflict starts to resolve
  • resolution – the conclusion of the story where questions are answered and loose ends are tied up BBC, 2022

Scenes separate moments in the play and typically a change in scene is due to a change in location.

We have learned about plot, and we have learned about a basic structure. Now we will begin to create the world of the play and think of a story to tell!

To assist you with thinking of a story, choose one of the basic 7 plots, and map out the structure of your play. Consider the following questions when you are brainstorming:

  1. How is your lead character driving the story forward? Are they addressing their problem head on?
  2. How can you ensure that the audience has enough information about the character and their story to be able to achieve the climax of the play?
  3. What actions are you taking to raise the stakes for the characters?

You should feel free to change your plot as many times as you like until you are happy with the direction you are moving towards. Watch the video highlighting playwrights from the National Theatre in the UK about their approach to writing narrative. If you are having trouble thinking of a plot, check out these writing assistance generators.