In the novel A Little Princess, author Frances Hodgson Burnett writes, "Everything's a story—You are a story—I am a story." Why do you think stories are important? Do you think that everyone has a story worth telling? Why or why not?
Maps are created to help us get from one point to another. When we read, we all have expectations that the author has created a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. The same is true with our own writing. When we write—whether it is an essay for history class or an entry in a journal—we begin with one idea and work our way towards an ending, a conclusion.
Writers who set out to tell stories use a device known as a plot map, or diagram, to help their stories stay organized. The elements of the plot diagram are designed to help readers and writers understand how parts of a story fit together in a logical order.
Before you start learning the terms, take a moment to read the well-known children's story Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak; we'll use this story to help you gain a better understanding of the terms on the plot diagram. If you would like to, you can watch this reading of the story:
Try practicing this on your own by thinking about your favorite book or movie and organizing its plot into these sections. In order to practice, draw a map of your main character's journey, beginning at the exposition and ending at the resolution. You can create symbols that represent the events that create the rising action, the climax, and the falling action.