January 24, 2017

Plot Arc

(photo credit here.)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about character development, and I provided a chart of character traits to fill out when creating characters. I've finished the characters I'm developing for my own novel, and I'm going to work on developing a solid plot for the story. 

A plot is composed of five separate parts, all shown in the diagram above, starting with the exposition.

The exposition is everything that builds up to the rising action. This is where you get to know the characters in the book, establish their routine, and the inciting incident that leads to the rising action.

The rising action is the bulk of the story. This is where the characters develop, and the inciting incident is elaborated on to create the plot. The conflict is introduced, though not necessarily met head on yet. Your protagonist is going to meet other characters, set off on their journey, and build the necessary information to get readers to the climax.

The climax is the turning point of the story. This is where your rising action reaches their breaking point. It's typically a huge battle, or an argument, but it can also be an emotional climax. This is also the point where characters tend to go through a large change, and the story shits in mood. The climax prepares the story for the falling action.

The falling action of a story is where everything starts to settle back into place after the climax. Your characters have all changed in some way, rather it be big or small. The issue addressed in the climax has been hashed out, and all of your characters are dealing with the consequences. Not all of your characters should be satisfied yet, this is the stage where everybody is just dealing with the aftermath.

The resolution is where your characters find comfort after the chaos. Everybody has come to accept the climax, and the falling action, and they have settled into how they have changed as people, and how their situations have changed. In romance novels, this would be the 'happily ever after.' In other novels, this is almost a reflection on where the characters have learned things, what they have learned, and how they have changed/adapted since the beginning of the novel.

This is my next step in the novel writing process, and I will be doing this in one of my upcoming days off. The best way I've found to do this is on a piece of the thick poster board. Draw out the diagram I've posted above, and plan out each of the 'chapters,' or the events that are going to unfold and where they will land on the diagram. Personally, it helps to start with the exposition, climax, and resolution, then figure out your best way to get to these points through the rising and falling action.

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