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What Are The 5 Parts Of A Story Structure (And How To Use Them)?

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For a story to be a success, there are 5 specific parts you should include. While the structure may be slightly different for non-fiction and informational books, the vast majority of successful fiction books follow these aspects.

The recommended parts to include are more commonly known as the dramatic structure. TV shows, movies, and even stage shows will often use this structure too. While it dates back to Aristotle, Shakespeare was also known to use the same format in his works.  

Gustav Freytag, a German playwright, created a pyramid, in the 19th century, to emphasize the 5 parts to a story that should be followed. It embodies the original dramatic structure used. 

The five stages he discussed were:

  1. Exposition
  2. Rising Action
  3. Climax
  4. Falling Action
  5. Resolution

To create a successful novel, you will want to incorporate these five elements into your own work. I will be covering these five elements in more detail and will also be discussing how you can use them, to help improve your writing skills.

The Five Parts Of A Story

1. Exposition

The exposition is the beginning of the story. It allows the reader to have a better insight into the characters, and it sets the scene of the book. This is where the main conflict of the story begins. The exposition introduces important aspects of the plot, and at the end, the “inciting incident” is introduced. 

How To Use Exposition:

The best way to use the exposition is to plunge the reader straight into the plot of the story, rather than building it up slowly. This helps to increase the interest in the plot, and leaves the reader wanting more.

You will also want to ensure that you have described and introduced the main characters well, while also world building. How much of this you do is down to personal preference and what is pivotal to the plot itself. The inciting incident should hint at what the plot is going to unfold. 

2. Rising Action

The rising action happens after the “inciting incident”, and this is where the suspense and plot of the novel builds. The incident is emphasized and continued, and the reader begins the journey through the plot. The atmosphere and momentum should build significantly.

How To Use Rising Action:

You want to ensure you are building up the suspense and interest in the novel. Here you should explore the ideas in more detail, and share some important moments of the plot with the readers. This section could include aspects such as a conflict of interest, or incorrect decision-making. 

3. Climax

The climax is the pivotal moment of the story, where it all comes to a head. It is often a turning point in the plot, and the overarching arc reaches its peak. The conflict is addressed, and solidifies the decisions the characters have made.

How To Use Climax:

How you create the climax is down to personal preference. It could be full of suspense and happen quickly, or it can be more of a slow burner. The most important thing to remember is that the decisions made here will impact the last two parts of the story. You want to carefully consider what the climax will be. 

4. Falling Action

The falling action will explain what happens after the climax and the decisions made by the characters. This often includes conflicts, or characters realizing their faults or mistakes. You can explore other themes that have arisen as a result of the conflict here. 

How To Use Falling Action:

How to use falling action will vary depending on the story. Even so, you will want to explore new possibilities, and the characters thoughts and feelings on the decisions they have made. It is a great section for reflection, and you can also include plot twists here too. 

5. Resolution

The resolution is essentially the conclusion of the novel. It is where the story rounds up, and the loose ends are tied. The conflicts are typically resolved in some form here, and the characters acknowledge and come to terms with the decisions made. 

How To Use Resolution

It can be difficult to finish a story, but here you will want to tie up the loose ends of the arc. You will want to make sure that the story falls in line with the overarching plot and that the actions are all resolved in some form, whether the outcome is positive, or negative.

Summary

These five parts to a story are quite self-explanatory, and are easy to use and include within your work. As it is a concept that the vast majority of people can recognize in books and the arts, often it is something that authors will subconsciously use in their writing. 

The most important aspect to remember is that you will want to use the structure in the correct order, and in a way that works for your novel and the overall pacing. While there are some instances where you may need to deviate from this structure, it is something to research and use where possible.

Author Community

If you are an author, whether you have recently published a book, or are in the final stages of the writing process, you will want to consider using Author Community. It is a free to use, text messaging based app that allows you to connect with your readers better.

The Author Community number can be placed in your book, and is a way of readers reaching out to you, the author. The automated service allows readers to share their thoughts and feelings on your book, and encourages them to review it on Amazon too. 

You can send unique insights into the novel through the service, and geo-located text messages to inform readers about any upcoming events you have in the area. It is such a useful service to use, and I would highly recommend it. You can trial the service here