Plot and Sequence Fiction includes novels, short stories and other writings that tell about imaginary people and events.  The plan or main story in a piece of fiction is called the plot. Understanding the order of events in a plot is important when you are reading.  You probably expect the narrator, or storyteller, to start the beginning of the plot, go on to the middle, and then to the ending.  But not all stories are written in sequence, or the order in which the events occur.

An author may choose to open a story at a very exciting moment – even if that moment is toward the middle or end of the plot.  The author then may go back and explain what led up to that exciting moment.  Some stories never do give an ending; instead the author leaves it to the reader to infer what happened.

When you read a passage in a short story or novel, keep a mental list of the events that happen and the order in which they happened.  To help you tell which event came first, second, third, and so on, watch for key words and phrases.

Terms

Narrator: the voice that tells the story

Plot: the plan or main story in a piece of fiction

Sequence: the order in which the events occur

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