The five plot elements of a story are the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. These elements come together to create a sense of conflict. Contained within these five elements are all of the events that occur from the beginning to the end of the story.
A plot's exposition introduces the reader to the main characters and overall setting of the story. It may contain some hints about the major conflict to come, but the writer usually does not explicitly reveal the main source of conflict at this point. Next comes the rising action component of the plot, in which the author builds tension and excitement, and the main conflict becomes clear.
The climax is an higher tension point in the story. During the climax, the protagonist is working hardest at resolving the conflict, and the reader is wondering whether he succeeds in the end or not. The conflict may consist of physical struggles, such as a dangerous enemy that the protagonist must destroy, or mental struggles, such as heartbreak or self-doubt.
During the falling action, the reader learns the protagonist's fate, including whether he managed to overcome the conflict. The resolution ties up any loose ends and reveals the overall plot outcome.