Writing Tip for Today:
- First, what is story arc? Think of it as an important structural element, the story bones. Story arc is the overall story shape, and it charts the rise of action, the climax and its resolution.
- Begin at the inciting incident, which simply means the event or change that sets the story into motion. Think of inciting incident as the point after which nothing will ever be the same.
- After the story’s inciting incident, events must successively rise in both tension and importance to the story’s outcome. Things get worse.
- The climax comes near the story’s end. The climax is your protagonist’s do or die moment. No more dithering. Character must act.
- The resolution is the last bit of the arc, where the action and tension level off. They lived happily ever after (or not)–end the story as quickly as possible.
In addition to this classic story arc, your main character and supporting cast need their own character arcs, which shows how they grow and change over the course of the story.
Try This! (new feature) Draw an arc for your story in progress. Start at the bottom for the inciting incident, and draw an arch for marking critical scenes along it, culminating at the high point, the climax scene. The resolution will be the only spot on the arc that dips down after the climax. Does your WIP conform to this model? If not, what’s your reasoning for telling the story this way?
Coming up: The Inciting Incident: Start your story at the right time and place.