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Storytelling arc is the sequential and chronological order set to narrate it in a sequential manner. The storytelling arc, also called the narrative arc, is the structure and sequential order of the whole story. A story, which lacks a sequential order and a proper structure is a highly imbalanced one.
The narration of a play could not be done haphazardly by a writer. It must follow sequential order to grab the attention of the audience in a story. For instance, if a dress was stitched in a certain pattern, the result would be impeccable. Likewise, a play, movie, or novel goes through predefined sequential order to engage the readers and audiences wholeheartedly.
The idea of the storytelling arc was originated from the German novelist, Gustav Freytag, who divided the structure and sequence of a story into five parts. The five parts create a sort of pyramid or hill shape for story writing. The five parts are consists of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Whereas, a simple storytelling arc is consists of introduction, climax, or conflict, and resolution. However, following the pyramid told by Gustav Freytag makes a play more appealing to the audience.
Five parts of the storytelling arc:
It is the initial step of the storytelling arc that introduces the involved characters, circumstances, surroundings, and many more. The more vividly this part of the narrative arc is described, the more it’s engaging and appealing to the readers. Consider it a first impression of what the readers should expect later on. It is more like a marketing tool to grab the attention of readers toward the play or story. This part of the storytelling arc also introduces and explains the expected ‘WH’ questions. Thus, the writer must provide a thorough and catchy exposition.
The ignition of a conflict or a problem is there in this part of the storytelling arc. This part of the narration must be intriguing and inviting in nature. The readers get to know the whereabouts of the story in this part. It incites the reader to continue reading the story. This part decides whether the reader is going to hook to your story or remain uninterested. If the plot or the whereabouts seem interesting and appealing, the readers further promote the story through positive affirmations. This part of the play also provides a brief glimpse of the upcoming events of a story.
The pinnacle or climax is where the characters are prone to choosing between two or more decisions. Or are with disappointment and defeat. This part increases the suspense and curiosity of the audience. The characters are provided with a table-turning choice during a peak point of frustration and tension. This part of the storytelling arc is also a point of convergence. the characters may confront a hidden truth. It is the point, where the audience is wholly and solely involved in the haste of reading the next scene of the story.
This part of the storytelling arc is where the character decides and chooses during the lingering problem. This part paves the way toward a resolution of the problem. It’s where all the loose ends of the story are slowly wrapping up and where the tension gradually decreases. Thus, the point of tension dissipation is there in this part of the storytelling arc.
This part of the storytelling arc is where the story heads towards the ending of the story. This part usually is a happy ending rather than a sad ending. However, this part never discloses the aftermath of the story or the gruesome impact of the events set upon the involved characters. This part of the storytelling arc is set in a manner. That only gives glimpses of the feelings of involved characters eventually.
Difference between the storytelling arc and plot:
The plot of the story is the events occurring to the characters, whereas, the storytelling arc is the chronological order of the plot. The sequential order of the plot creates a sort of organized flow.
Thus, the storytelling arc is like the spine of the story. It supports and assists the standing position of the numerous events of the story. The identification of beginning, mid-point, and end must be decided prudently. The expected characters and their actions must have been selected thoroughly. The storytelling arc is perhaps a tedious task because it creates harmony and progression among the events.
Even though Freytag has outlined these parts of storytelling, but there is no hard and fast rule of following it exactly. The writer can willingly adopt different storytelling arcs, that seem elusive and creative in exposition. The story writer must be creative to create a best-suited pattern and sequence for his/her story.
The more the writer is restricted and expected to be bound in terms of a defined pattern, the more he/she loses the potential of creativity in the story writing. Thus, a free hand and a free choice greatly help the writer become more creative. Generally, Freytag’s pattern or pyramid of storytelling arc is followed in dramas, fictional or non-fictional novels, etc. However, there are no strict rules for story writing. It depends upon the mood and choice of the writer. The Freytag pattern has universal acceptance. In short, the arc of the story evokes the reader to take an interest in your story.