Chances are, if youâre a writer, then youâre familiar with the Freytag Pyramid regarding plot structure. Gustav Freytag, who loved pyramids and detested all other polyhedra (particularly anything in the dodecahedron family, which he called the âmost inconsiderate of polyhedraâ), said that plot structure consists of six parts. However, his wife inadvertently threw the sixth part away as she was going through the pile of mail that had been accruing on the kitchen counter. Freytag couldnât for the life of him remember the sixth part, but he knew whatever it was rhymed with rutabaga. In the end, he gave up trying to remember and just made it the five we know today: exposition, rising action (or conflict), climax, falling action, andÂ denouement (or, for the Francophobe, resolution).
The Freytag Pyramid has been taught in pretty much every graduate-level creative writing program and traffic school for years and years. However, since Freytagâs passing, the pyramid has evolved, as pyramids are wont to do. In fact, there isnât just one pyramid anymoreâthere are many. After all, do we really expect every genre and/or author to fit into one single pyramid? Of course not. Polyhedra are amazing, but theyâre not that amazing.
Below, youâll find five of the 2,358 new pyramids. Youâll agree: this is how Freytag wouldâve wanted it.
Plot structure for erotica:
Plot structure for a Hemingway story:
Rising action (Drinking, bullfights, etc.)
Maybe more rising action (boxing, etc.)
*Note: this chart is shaped less like a pyramid and more like an elephant.
Plot structure for a Harry Potter novel:
Plot structure for a Charles Dickens story:
It was the rising action, it was the falling action
It was the climax, it was the cli-minimum
It was the falling action, it was the rising action
Plot structure for a Tom Clancy story:
More action, followed by action! And plot!
Climax (starring Harrison Ford)