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The Basics Of Plot Structure: Freytag’s Pyramid In Fiction

Freytag's Pyramid

Graphic Of Freytag’s Pyramid¹

Freytag’s Pyramid or dramatic structure is the structure of either a piece of literary work (a book, a story or play) or even a film. Gustav Freytag arrived at creating this arc by examining Ancient Greek and Shakespearian dramas. But this arc can also be applied to many modern forms of fiction successfully too. He divided the parts of a drama into five acts or parts. They are:

Where the writer sets up the story for the reader with important background information, such as: setting, prior events, and the back story of characters.

Rising Action
The story sets up various related incidents for the reader, generally where the reader becomes ‘hooked’ into the story being told.

The epicentre of conflict where action begins, also the turning point for the protagonist(s) or characters. Comparable to a punch line when a joke is told.

Falling Action
The conflict between protagonist and antagonist unravels…

Dénouement (resolution, revelation or catastrophe) Old French: untying of the knot.
Comprises the events from falling action into resolution, or the ending.

Below is a video and downloadable PDF graphics which discuss Freytag’s Pyramid:

Plot Structure, feat. Freytag’s Triangle

Downloadable Blank Worksheets PDF’s of Freytag’s Triangle

Blank Freytag’s Pyramid PDF 1

Blank Freytag’s Pyramid PDF 2

Enjoy and write on!

¹Freytag’s Pyramid Arc. Graphic. Dr. Kip Wheeler. Freytag PDF. Carson-Newman College,  2003. Web. 18 Jul. 2015. ‹