As a reader, have you ever reached the end of a novel or short story and thought to yourself, “That was a great ending”? Or perhaps, “That ending was a little disappointing”? The way a story ends can greatly affect our overall opinion of it. This is why understanding the elements of plot that refer to the ending of a story is crucial to being a skilled reader.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the different elements of plot that contribute to a story’s resolution, or the ending of the story. We’ll also examine how these elements work together to create a satisfying (or unsatisfying) conclusion for readers.
The Elements of Plot
Before we dive into the elements of plot that contribute to a story’s resolution, let’s quickly review what those elements are:
1. Exposition: The beginning of the story where the characters, setting, and conflict are introduced.
2. Rising Action: The series of events that build up to the story’s climax.
3. Climax: The highest point of tension or conflict in the story.
4. Falling Action: The events that occur after the climax, leading towards the resolution.
5. Resolution/Denouement: The conclusion of the story, where the conflicts are resolved and loose ends are tied up.
For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll focus on the resolution, or denouement, of a story and how it is influenced by the other elements of plot.
The Importance of Resolution
The resolution of a story is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it is the final impression the reader is left with. A weak or unsatisfying resolution can leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth, while a strong and impactful resolution can leave a lasting impression.
Additionally, the resolution is where all loose ends are tied up and conflicts are resolved. Without a resolution, the story feels incomplete and unsatisfying. It’s the payoff for the time and emotional investment the reader has made in the story.
How the Elements of Plot Contribute to Resolution
While each element of plot contributes to a story’s resolution, some are more closely tied to it than others. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
1. Exposition: While the exposition sets the stage for the story, it also provides crucial information about the characters and their motivations. This information can be used to inform the resolution and help the reader better understand why the conflicts were resolved in the way they were.
2. Rising Action: The rising action builds tension and sets the stage for the climax and resolution. The conflicts introduced during the exposition are developed further during the rising action, leading towards the climax and resolution.
3. Climax: The climax is the turning point of the story and sets the stage for the falling action and resolution. It’s often the most dramatic and emotional moment of the story, and the way it is resolved can greatly impact the reader’s feelings towards the story.
4. Falling Action: The falling action serves to wrap up loose ends and resolve any remaining conflicts. It can also introduce new information or events that inform the resolution. The way the falling action is structured can greatly impact the pacing and impact of the resolution.
5. Resolution/Denouement: The resolution is the payoff for the reader, where all conflicts are resolved and loose ends are tied up. It can be a moment of emotional catharsis or simply a quiet conclusion. The way the resolution is written can greatly impact the reader’s feelings towards the story and the characters.
Understanding the elements of plot that contribute to a story’s resolution is crucial for being a skilled reader. By paying attention to the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, readers can better understand the author’s intent and appreciate the story more fully.
A strong resolution can leave a lasting impression and satisfy the reader, while a weak resolution can leave them feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. By understanding how each element of plot contributes to the resolution, readers can better appreciate the story as a whole.
If you’re interested in reading more about plot and storytelling, check out this article from Reedsy on the basics of plot.