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In literature, a form of plot in which the individual scenes and events are tied to each other more through a simple chronology than through any particular cause-and-effect relationship. In general, the scenes in a book with an episodic structure could be rearranged almost at random without hurting the work as a whole.

An example is Daniel Defoe's The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Three-score Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums, whose title is also a summary of the plot, which moves chronologically through the seventy years of Moll Flanders' life. While the ending is definite and happy, most of the events that take place in Moll Flanders' life are related only chronologically, rather than through some more complicated scheme.

The picaresque novel is an example of a novel type that uses an episodic structure, although a novel with an episodic structure does not necessarily deal with the barely legal adventures of the typical rogue-protagonist of the picaresque novel.

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