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– 4 – - Plot and structure I

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

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Summary

The short story as a way into discussions of plot. The event-plot short story. Synchronised (reader and character) moments of discovery as a key pleasure in fiction. Poetic justice. The relationship of the character to the theme. The Chekhovian / slice-of-life / anti-plot short story. Plot is sidelined as a prime focus in favour of narratives reflective of human experience. Plot and time: plot is only available in retrospect and the location of the reader in – and in relationship to – the narrative defines the meaning of the story. Telling it slant: the usefulness of an indirect route to meaning.

‘Plot may depend not so much on a sequence of events unfolding chronologically as on what the protagonists and the reader know about the events and when they know it.’

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The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write
A Handbook for Fiction Writers
, pp. 35 - 54
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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