What is Plot Mountain?

Plot Mountain is a visual representation and a complex organizational chart of the structure of a story. It serves as a framework for organizing the key elements of a narrative and understanding their relationship to each other. Also known as the plot diagram or narrative arc, plot mountain is widely used in storytelling because it helps create a cohesive and engaging narrative by providing a clear progression of events. By following this structure, authors can effectively engage readers by creating anticipation and emotional investment in the outcome of the story.  Understanding plot mountain is essential for both writers and readers because it provides a blueprint for constructing narratives that are compelling and impactful. For writers, it offers guidance on how to structure their stories in a way that maintains reader interest and delivers an effective payoff. For readers, it provides a framework for analyzing and interpreting literary works by identifying key plot points and understanding their significance within the overall narrative.

Plot mountains offer numerous benefits for storytellers, writers, and readers alike. For storytellers and writers, utilizing plot mountains helps craft compelling narratives with well-structured plots. According to a study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, 68% of avid readers consider a well-developed plot as the most crucial element in a book. By using plot mountains as a guide, writers can create engaging stories that captivate their audience. Additionally, plot mountains aid in maintaining a consistent pace throughout the narrative, resulting in a more satisfying reading experience. For readers, plot mountains enhance comprehension and analysis. In fact, a study published in Reading Research Quarterly found that students who used graphic organizers, such as plot mountains, exhibited significantly higher reading comprehension scores compared to those who didn’t. By visually mapping out the story’s structure, readers can better identify key events, understand character motivations, and grasp the overall story arc, leading to improved critical thinking and enjoyment of the book.

Different Elements of Plot Mountain

The different elements of plot mountain are crucial building blocks in storytelling. From exposition to rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, each stage is carefully mapped out, allowing readers to analyze and understand the plot’s progression.

Exposition: This is where the story’s setting, characters, and initial conflict are introduced. The exposition sets the stage by providing essential background information that allows readers to understand the context of the story. Rising Action: The rising action comprises a series of events that occur after the exposition but before the climax. It involves developing conflicts, increasing tension, and introducing obstacles or challenges that prevent the protagonist from easily resolving their problems. Climax: The climax is considered the turning point or highest point of tension in a story. It is where conflicts reach their peak intensity or when crucial decisions are made. The climax often leads to a major change in the direction of the story and has a significant impact on the characters and their goals. Falling Action: After the climax, the falling action follows, which shows the consequences or aftermath of the climax. It is a period of decreasing tension and resolution of conflicts. The falling action helps wrap up loose ends and provides closure to some storylines. Resolution: The resolution is where all remaining conflicts are resolved, and the story reaches its conclusion. It ties up any remaining loose ends, reveals the final fate of characters, and offers a sense of closure for readers. The resolution can also provide insight or reflection on the events that occurred throughout the story. Each element plays a vital role in shaping the narrative structure and creating an engaging storytelling experience for both writers and readers.

Variations of Plot Mountains

Explore the diverse world of plot mountains and discover their fascinating variations. Dive into character-centric journeys or embrace interactive digital experiences—the possibilities are endless in this exploration of plot mountain variations.

Traditional Plot Mountain: The traditional plot mountain follows the classic narrative structure with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive overview of the story’s progression, allowing readers to identify key plot points and understand the narrative arc. This widely recognized format serves as a foundational tool for readers and writers, enhancing comprehension and storytelling skills. Modified Plot Mountain: The modified plot mountain offers a more flexible approach to storytelling. It allows for variations in the number of rising actions, climaxes, or falling actions, accommodating complex or non-linear narratives. This variation benefits writers seeking to experiment with unconventional story structures while maintaining a visual framework for readers to follow. By using the modified plot mountain, readers can navigate intricate plots, analyzing different storylines and character arcs effectively. Character-Centric Plot Mountain: The character-centric plot mountain shifts the focus from the overall story arc to individual character development. It highlights the key events and turning points that shape a character’s journey, showcasing their growth, motivations, and conflicts. This variation aids writers in creating well-rounded and relatable characters, ensuring their arcs align with the story’s progression. For readers, the character-centric plot mountain deepens their understanding of the characters, fostering empathy and connection. Genre-Specific Plot Mountain: The genre-specific plot mountain caters to the unique conventions and expectations of different literary genres, such as mystery, fantasy, or romance. It emphasizes genre-specific elements like foreshadowing, world-building, or romantic tension within the structure. This variation assists writers in crafting narratives that adhere to genre conventions, enhancing the overall reading experience. Readers benefit from the genre-specific plot mountain by gaining a deeper appreciation for the genre’s distinctive features and recognizing how they contribute to the story’s development. Interactive Plot Mountain: The interactive plot mountain takes advantage of digital technology, allowing readers to actively engage with the plot’s elements. It can be a dynamic online tool or an interactive worksheet template. Through interactive features like clickable sections, pop-up information, or drag-and-drop functionality, readers can explore the story’s structure in an immersive and interactive way. This variation enhances reader engagement, making the process of analyzing and understanding the plot more enjoyable and interactive for students in the 3rd-7th grade range to promote active learning.

How to Construct a Plot Mountain

Master the art of constructing a plot mountain with these four simple steps. From gathering materials to labeling and connecting story elements, learn how to create a visual chart that brings a narrative’s structure to life.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Obtain a blank printable plot mountain graphic organizer, such as a plot diagram worksheet template, suitable for 3rd-7th grade fiction reading. It will serve as the foundation for creating your visual chart.

Step 2: Identify Story Elements

Analyze the story’s key components, including the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Understand how these elements contribute to the overall plot development.

Step 3: Plot Placement

Map out the story’s progression on the plot mountain. Begin with the exposition at the base, gradually ascending through rising action towards the peak of the climax, and then descending through falling action towards the resolution.

Step 4: Label and Connect

Label each stage on the plot mountain and connect them with clear lines or arrows. Ensure that the connections accurately represent the cause-and-effect relationships between story events, guiding readers through the narrative’s flow.


How can a blank printable plot mountain chart help in organizing story elements?

A blank printable plot mountain chart and storyboard templates can be immensely helpful in organizing story elements. It provides a framework for writers to outline their ideas and plot points, ensuring they have a clear direction for their story. By filling in the different sections of the plot mountain, writers can map out the key events, character development, and plot twists that will drive their narrative forward. It acts as a visual guide, allowing writers to see the overall structure of their story and make adjustments as needed. This printable chart can be a valuable tool for both experienced and novice writers, helping them stay organized and focused throughout the writing process.

What are some alternative structures to plot mountains?

While plot mountain is a widely used and effective storytelling structure, there are alternative structures that writers can explore to add variety and uniqueness to their narratives.  One such alternative structure is the Circular Narrative. In this approach, the story begins and ends at the same point, creating a circular journey for the characters and themes. This structure often emphasizes cycles or patterns in life and can be used to convey themes of repetition, growth, or the eternal nature of certain aspects of human existence.  Another alternative structure is the Episodic Narrative. Instead of following a linear progression, an episodic narrative consists of interconnected episodes or chapters that can stand alone as individual stories but contribute to an overarching plot or theme. This structure allows for more exploration of different characters, settings, and events, providing readers with a diverse and multi-dimensional reading experience.

Where can I find a plot diagram and worksheet template for my writing?

There are several resources available online where you can find plot diagrams and worksheet templates, as well as sample writing templates and Venn diagram templates for your writing. Websites like Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers offer a variety of free and paid templates that you can download and customize to suit your needs. Additionally, many writing guidebooks, textbooks, and other books online also provide plot diagram templates that you can photocopy or use as a reference. These templates typically include sections for the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, allowing you to easily map out your story’s structure.

Why is it important to have a structured plot in a story or fiction?

Having a structured plot in a story or fiction is important because it provides a clear direction and purpose to the narrative. A well-structured plot helps captivate the reader or audience, as it allows them to become invested in the characters and their journey. It creates suspense and tension by building up to a climax and offers a satisfying resolution. Without a structured plot, a story can feel disjointed or confusing, making it difficult for the reader to engage with the narrative. A plot mountain helps writers maintain a structured plot by visually representing the key components and ensuring that the story flows smoothly.

Can a graphic organizer aid in maintaining coherence and clarity in storytelling?

Yes, a graphic organizer, such as a plot mountain, can aid in maintaining coherence and clarity in storytelling. By visually organizing the key elements of the story, writers can ensure that the narrative flows smoothly and that there are no inconsistencies or plot holes. The graphic organizer acts as a guide, allowing writers to see how different plot points and events connect and impact each other. It helps writers stay focused on the main storyline and ensures that all subplots and character arcs are properly developed and resolved. Overall, a graphic organizer contributes to a more coherent and engaging storytelling experience.

A plot mountain guide can help in creating engaging and captivating stories. Writers can effectively pace their stories as it helps them identify any inconsistencies in their narrative, allowing them to make revisions and create a more compelling story overall. By visually organizing the story’s arc, plot mountain brings clarity and depth to fiction reading, transforming it into an immersive experience. It serves as a compass, directing readers’ attention to key events, character development, and the overall impact of the narrative. Whether used as a teaching tool or a personal reference, plot mountain ignites curiosity and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the art of storytelling. Easily and quickly download and use our sample plot mountains and outlines, as well as other templates for reading such as book report templates and reading comprehension worksheets.