Plot 103

The standard format for a story goes like this:

1. Introduction
2. Rising action
3. Climax
4. Falling action
5. Conclusion

Assume for the moment that we're not dealing with flashbacks or non-linear plots or anything too complicated, and that the above linear model is a decent place to start off before trying other things.

Perhaps the easiest way to think of these five parts is that they have different levels of suspense associated with them. 1 and 5 are relatively calm compared to 2 and 4, and 3 is the high point of it all. The five do not usually, however, take up equal space in the story. Actual results differ from one plot to the next, but under normal circumstances, the rising action usually ends up taking up most of the story. And because rising action is the backbone of most plot development, character development, and will get the most attention from your reader, we're going to address it right away and get you to write a rising action in one paragraph per situation listed.

In a way, this is sort of what you have been doing in the previous cause/effect exercises, but instead of getting from introduction to conclusion, this time you are specifically leading to a climax. The difference is subtle, but it's there.


1. Jim wanted to buy a car.
2. [Write a paragraph here.]
3. And so he slit the demon's throat.
4. Then he drove home in his new car.
5. And he lived happily ever after.



1. Leisonnah the nymph went strolling through the woods one day. Then she ran into a hunter holding an AK-47...
2. [Write a paragraph here.]
3. "Goodbye, cruel world." Thus, Leisonnah jumped and ended it all.
4. The hunter went home and thought, "Another job well done."
5. The moral of this story is, "Watch the company you keep."

Hint: try not to use any dialogue other than what's already there; you'll just get hung up in it.