|Gustav Freytag, the 19th Century German playwright and novelist, drew a simple triangle to represent dramatic structure and highlighted seven parts he considered necessary to storytelling: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement (French for “the ending”).
7 elements of dramatic structure in Freytag’s Pyramid:
1. Exposition: The storyteller sets the scene and the character’s background.
2. Inciting Incident: The character reacts to something that has happened, and it starts a chain reaction of events.
3. Rising Action: The story builds. There is often a complication, which means the problem the character tried to solve gets more complex.
4. Climax: The story reaches the point of greatest tension between the protagonist and antagonist (or if there is only one main character, the darkness or lightness of that character appears to take control).
5. Falling Action: The story shifts to action that happens as a result of the climax, which can also contain a reversal (when the character shows how they are changed by events of the climax).
6. Resolution: The problem or conflict is solved.
7. Denouement: French for “the ending,” the denouement is often happy if it’s a comedy, and dark and sad if it’s a tragedy.
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