EXPOSITION – The exposition provides the background information needed to properly understand the story, such as the problem/conflict in the beginning of the story, characters, and setting. Also to summarize the topic.
RISING ACTION – During rising action, the basic internal conflict is complicated by the introduction of related secondary conflicts, including various obstacles that frustrate the protagonist’s attempt to reach his goal. Secondary conflicts can include adversaries of lesser importance than the story’s antagonist, who may work with the antagonist or separately, by and for themselves or actions unknown, and also the conflict.
CLIMAX – or turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs. If the story is a comedy, things will have gone badly for the protagonist up to this point; now, the tide, so to speak, will turn, and things will begin to go well for him or her. If the story is a tragedy, the opposite state of affairs will ensue, with things going from good to bad for the protagonist.
FALLING ACTION – During the falling action the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning or losing against the antagonist. The falling action might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt.
RESOLUTION – The dénouement or resolution comprises events between the falling action and the actual ending scene of the drama or narrative and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. Etymologically, the French word dénouement is derived from the Old French word desnouer, “to untie”, from nodus, Latin for “knot.” Simply put, dénouement is the unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot. Some modern works may have no dénouement, because of a quick or surprise ending.