Can your story do this?


It's Freytag's Pyramid. You know old Fry, right? No? I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with it from writing courses or school.

Take a look at your novel and see if it follows this structure. I would think that, even if you've never heard of it, your novel can't help but follow this pattern. If you're a reader, and I certainly know you are, it's instinctual to follow this structure when attempting to write a book. (Even if you didn't know you were.)

So, how about you? Are you adhering to the doctrine of Herr Freytag?

12 comments:

Kelly said...

I think I am!! Do you watch True Blood? We thought the season finale climax and resolution was way too soon in the episode, then the denouement was half the episode!

Ron Smith said...

Totally agree on that, Kels. I was a little dissapointed with the finale.

They should have looked at Freytag's Pyramid!

GhostFolk.com said...

I don't know. I think exposition at the beginning might be worng for today's market... although, a lot of writers still pull it off with strong first-person voiced narrative.

I pay more attention to movies than novels when I am thinking about structure. Of course, Okay Go on youtube is my real model.

Ron Smith said...

Thanks for stopping by Ghostfolk!

Movies are indeed a good way to look at plotting and structure.

K. M. Walton said...

I used to use that model when I taught kids how to write fiction. Me personally, as a reader, I like books that have a few climaxes and maybe even a big zinger at the end.

As a writer, I think my one book definitely matches that multiple climaxes formula. My other three books follow the 'all things lead to the one climax' formula.

p.s. how's querying going????

Ron Smith said...

Hi Kate,

Yes, I think the pyramid is a guide, but writers can use it to better effect when you switch things up.

Querying is going well. I haven't written about it on the blog but suffice to say I have a few fulls out at the moment and am waiting for good news I hope.

Hope your new work is going well!

GhostFolk.com said...

Wow, Ron, congrats of the fulls going out!!

Tina Lee said...

I'm not sure if I am or not. Whatever I am doing I assure you it is either instinctive or counter-intuitive or a little of both. I have been trying to take apart Kelly Link's stories and think of them as a model for novel beginnings. I wonder how they work as a comparison in terms of tension. Hmm.

Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Ghostfolk.

Tina, I'm looking forward to reading Kelly Link. I wonder if the short story follows the same model?

Tina Lee said...

I'm pretty sure it doesn't. But I think short stories are pretty artful to do what they do in such a little package. Robert Olen Butler in From Where You Dream said that novels should have one of those crystallized moments of climax(those are my words, I can't remember just exactly how he put it)early on in the book. Maybe that is more comparable to the short story. In the end it's probably just good to pay attention to all these things! Thanks for the food for thought.

Big Plain V said...

I pretty much adhere to that. Only the front half of my pyramid would stratch out to the edge of your desk (or whatever else your computer happens to be sittting on at this particular moment).

Susan R. Mills said...

I agree with you. You really can't help but follow that pattern even if you've never learned it. It's a natural progression. Great post.