Many good stories, whether we read them in books, hear other people tell them, or watch them in movies use the “story arc” or “dramatic structure.” This is a photo I snapped last week in Holland, Michigan, of a story arc drawing a teacher was using.
Freytag’s pyramid is a five part model also referred to as “dramatic arc: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement.”
This is a another version of Freytag’s pyramid but is called a “story arc” on the website Crafting Fiction to describe typical plot development in the Stargate SG1 series.
This image is also on the website, “Learn the Elements of a Novel.” I’m not sure who the original artist / author / owner of this image is. That website also includes a good description of “Basic Three Act Structure” with the setup, confrontation and resolution phases. The blog “Digital Worlds – Interactive Media and Game Design” has a good post from 2008 on “Story Arcs, and the Three Act Structure.”
What online resources do you use, or other resources, with students to discuss story arcs and Freytag’s pyramid?
My favorite example to use for this writing and storytelling method is Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. All the action and plot elements lead up to the climatic battle on the Death Star, when eventually it is destroyed by Luke Skywalker. What’s your favorite literary or theatrical example of the story arc to discuss with students?
It’s important to understand the story arc and dramatic structure, not only to better understand books and movies but also to write and create our own.
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