Narrative Arc - What is Narrative Arc in Literature?


Sometime simply called "arc" or "story arc," narrative arc refers to the chronological construction of plot in a novel or story. Typically, a narrative arc looks something like a pyramid, made up of the following components: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

  1. Exposition: The introduction the story in which characters are introduced, setting is revealed.
  2. Rising Action: A series of events that complicate matters for the protagonist, creating a rise in the story's suspense or tension.
  1. Climax: The point of greatest tension in the story and the turning point in the narrative arc from rising action to falling action.
  2. Falling Action: After the climax, the unfolding of events in a story's plot and the release of tension leading toward the resolution.
  3. Resolution: The end of the story, typically, in which the problems of the story and of the protagonists are resolved.

More Literary Terms Defined


Also Known As: arc, story arc