The Park Ridge Writers Group offers a friendly space for helpful critique, as well as encouragement for your writing goals. We meet on the second (in person, at the Library) and fourth (via Zoom) Wednesdays of each month. Most meetings begin with a short discussion of a particular craft topic, then move to discussing member works. We welcome all forms of writing – fiction, poetry, memoir, non-fiction – please join us! Click here to register.
Read below to learn about some common forms of story construction talked about in the group.
How We Write
19th Century German Playwright
Freytag's Pyramid is what we would consider traditional western structure. The story starts with exposition. An inciting incident leads to rising action. The top of the pyramid is the climax, where the action of the story comes to a head. This is followed by the falling action, where story problems are wrapped up. The story ends with the denouement, where the life for the characters has returned to an even keel.
Most forms of writing/story follow this model in some way. It is a helpful diagram to consider as a writer constructs their plot.
Simple Shapes of Stories
20th Century Author
Vonnegut famously distills the shapes of stories to a graph: the x axis is the beginning and end of the story, while the y axis is good fortune to ill fortune. A character starts with good or bad fortune, then their lives take a turn in the opposite direction.
Kishotenketsu is a four-act plot structure common in Asian storytelling. The introduction (ki), the development (sho), the twist (ten), and the conclusion (ketsu). Compared to more familiar narratives, the conflict act is missing, which is somewhat unfamiliar to a western audience.