Dramatic Arc Stages

Stages:

The Dramatic Arc consists of six basic stages. The precipitating event (inciting incident) introduces a conflict that creates increasing tension (rising action) as the characters deal with a problem. The tension rises to a climax at which point the problem begs for resolution while at the same time any resolution seems impossible. The events that resolve the problem realize the characters’ victory, increased understanding, or a return to status quo. Loose ends are then wrapped up through a resolution. The six stages of the Dramatic Arc are:

1. Exposition/Introduction:
Introduces the main characters and sets the scene. 

2. Inciting Incident: 
This concept refers to the moment where a problem or conflict is introduced, which drives the rest of the story.

3. Rising Action:
Intensity of events increases and the conflict grows.

4. Climax:
Turning point when events and situations change, for better or worse.

5. Falling Action:
Suspense is prolonged as difficulties are confronted and questions are recognized and sometimes answered. The central character typically overcomes conflict in this stage.

6. Resolution/Denouement:
Remaining issues are reconciled. A sense of normalcy is reinstated. Characters, choices, and actions are validated, and future possibilities are presented.

Stages

The Dramatic Arc consists of six basic stages. The precipitating event (inciting incident) introduces a conflict that creates increasing tension (rising action) as the characters deal with a problem. The tension rises to a climax at which point the problem begs for resolution while at the same...
Example

One example of deploying the Dramatic Arc is seen in Teri Balser’s story of finding a different way to approach teaching her subject. As a professor of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Balser cared about student learning and recognized the lack of enthusiasm that most of her...
Learning Applications

When to apply this structure:
Dramatic Arc narrative describes classical and traditional Western narratives so is prevalent in the literature and film of Western cultures. One key to recognizing or using this structure is that based on the beginning, the end is often expected. It is...