What is plot? What is plot structure?
Plot - the main story arc of a literary work
Elements of the Story Arc:
Exposition - introduction of the main characters and setting; “en medias res” in shorter forms
Rising Action - one (or more) characters in crisis
Climax - point of highest emotion; turning point
Falling Action - resolution of character’s crisis
Denouement - “untying of plot treads”; resolution
Plot Structure - one of a finite number of plans in which to tell a story
All stories contain four elements that determine structure: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. While each is present in the story, one generally dominates the others.
Which one dominates? The one that the author cares about most. This is why we often consider the process of discovering the structure of a story a process of self-discovery: What is your story about? Who is the central or viewpoint character? Where is your story set? What is the purpose of your story? Once you have considered each of those questions, then you can ask, Which aspect of the story matters most to you? That is the aspect that will give you your story's structure.
Let's take each element in turn and look at the structure that would be required if that is the dominant element in the story.