Freytag’s Triangle: parts of modern story (short story, novel, etc)

1) Setting/exposition, 2)inciting incident, 3)Rising Action, 4)Climax, 5)Falling Action, 6)Resolution, 7)Denoument/ “The Recognition”/Catastrophe




Sample Freytag’s Triangle Phases:



OPEN BOAT by Stephen Crane



By Maupaussant

1) SETTING/EXPOSITION: the setup, the starting scene/ situation or quick intro


Men are in a lifeboat after a shipwreck

Setting up history of 1st war against Sauron/ innocence of hobbits


Brief setting: town and widow

2) INCITING INCIDENT: single incident that triggers the main conflict

Captain sees a light house

Ring identified by Gandalf


Son killed

3) RISING ACTION: unfolds/ intros complications, conflicts, & problems between the “wants” & “haves”/’done’ of the characters


Men try to row the boat to the shore


Running from enemies, forming fellowship, quests


Swear revenge, training the dog

4) CLIMAX:   a)moment of greatest uncertainty, b)the emotional high point, c)the main test or greatest question


Men jump off the boat into the water as the boat overturns


Big battle while reaching Mount Doom lava pit with Gollum – time to throw in ring


Dog let loose

5) FALLING ACTIONS: ‘final’ actions as individual characters’ questions, conflicts & “wants” are being resolved


Men swim to shore

Post Battle, destruction of Sauron, Rescue of hobbits

Man fights dog, rolling around on the ground


6) RESOLUTION: Loose ends tied up, answers to main conflicts/ questions


Reporter, cook, captain rescued, but oiler drowned


Dark forces leave in disarray, Aragorn crowned king, hobbits honored

Dog kills man

7) DENOUMENT/ THE RECOGNITION/ OR CATASTROPHE: the aftermath of falling actions, a final discovery, thought or understanding

Body of oiler brought in, other three realize the power of sea and luck in surviving

Families, elves leaving, Frodo leaving as well on boats

People remember an old man (disguise); old woman can finally sleep