The Story Arc, or as it’s formally known, the Narrative Arc is something we learned in school. It was simplified and taught in a watered-down way in elementary school, re-taught to us in middle school, and finally, some time in high school we really got what our English teacher was talking about: it’s the path of the story or narrative.
In the old days (yes, I’m older than many of my readers), the Narrative Arc taught was always the Gustav Freytag version: Esposition, Inciting Incident (Complication), Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution, and Denouement. (I’ve always liked the word “Denoument,” it sounds quite lovely, almost like the name of an exotic character in a mystery novel).
Nowadays, there are many versions of the Narrative or Story Arc. It is useful for writers (and readers) to be aware of the various structures. When I write a story, it doesn’t always fit into the Gustav Frytag mold. But it is important for me to keep some format in mind when writing. Readers need to feel the story has a structure and the author has a plan.
I found a great post on Story or Narrative Arcs on speculative writer, Steven Southard’s blog: Shifting the Narrative Arc.
Enoy the post!