Story Arcs

Learn all about story arcs

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One way to ensure your child is reaching their full potential in their story writing ability is to make sure they understand the importance of writing story arcs. Understanding story arcs really just means understanding how a story should be structured. The basic structure of a story includes the beginning, middle, and end. Writing story arcs can be a challenging task for children, so our goal with this article is to make that process for your child easier.

What is a story arc?

A story arc is the term used to describe the path a story takes, and is also known as a story's plot. Story arcs typically have the basic structure of beginning, middle, and end, where specific events take place in each. In order to have a successful story arc, it’s important your child understands how to build up their narrative.

Why are story arcs so important?

Constructing a story arc involves planning the events that will take place in your story, from the beginning, middle, and end. It’s important for stories to have a distinct beginning, middle, and end because otherwise, the events in your story arc will all blend together. If you can’t distinguish the beginning, middle and end, it probably means there isn’t enough action in your story.

How do you build up a narrative?

Building up a narrative is a very useful tool to use in any story where an important event happens in the middle or end of the story. This process involves getting your readers interested and invested in your story and characters. If you start your story without providing background information or context, or any type of lead-up to the big event, your story will not be nearly as successful. Building up to the main event of your story keeps readers engaged - eager to see what happens next. There are five common features of story arcs:

1. Exposition

The first element of a story arc is the exposition. The exposition component of a story arc introduces the story and includes background information that your readers need to know. Then, the story really begins and the plot starts to become engaging!

2. Rising Action

After the exposition, a rising action will occur, which is what starts to build up the narrative towards a climax. The rising action is some type of action that instigates change in order to successfully build towards the climax of a story. This action is important because it often changes the course of the story completely.

3. Climax

Next, the climax occurs. This is the main event in any story, and it can take many different forms. How the climax appears will depend on what the main event of your story is, what genre you’re writing, and how you want the climax to be received by your readers.

4. Falling Action

Following the climax is the falling action. This is where the tension built from the rising action and climax starts to fade in your story. The falling action will show that the biggest problems were solved in the climax and we are working towards wrapping up the story. It’s usually pretty clear in a story when the climax occurs, and the falling action is what follows that.

5. Resolution

A resolution is the typical way to finish off any story. This part of the story arc gives the readers a sense of how everything is left at the end of the story. The resolution should give the message that you want your readers to take away from your story. It should also show the final sentiment that is felt by your story characters, making your readers feel that same way.

How do you write a story arc?

Writing story arcs and story planning go hand-in-hand. When you're planning the basic structure of a story (beginning, middle, and end), it’s important to consider how the events in each section differ from each other, because that is how you write an effective story arc. Story arcs make a good story better, especially if you work to build up the narrative from the very beginning of the story. By nature, planning stories will make sure your story successfully follows a story arc.

Now that your child has a basic understanding of story arcs and why they make story writing so much more effective, we have a helpful template your child can follow when you write their next story. This template will help them to construct a story arc for their next story! Happy writing!

Infographic explaining story arcs
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