Second Try-Fail Cycle
The second try-fail cycle should be a much larger cycle than the first one.
The protagonist should try harder to solve the problem, bringing more resources to bear. The antagonist should try harder too.
There should be at least three total cycles, but there can be more.
The thing to remember is to make each successive cycle more intense.
The suspense must build.
The Final Try-Fail Cycle
Escalate to the breaking point.
Reach the point of no return.
Either the protagonist or antagonist must finally reach his or her goal.
The longest try-fail cycle.
Both sides put in the most effort and the most planning.
The conflict at this point usually affects the most people and those people the most deeply.
At this point, someone gets what he or she wants.
There is often a reversal involved, in which the antagonist appears to be winning, but the protagonist turns the tables.
Should be the point of highest tension, and near the end of your story.
Once this happens, the story needs to wrap up quickly.
This is a French word for the “falling action” of the story.
Here you wrap up the loose ends.
You must relieve the stress/pressure that was built up because of the conflict.
A story without a denouement can feel disappointing.
If it is not the final part of the story, still tie up some loose ends, provide some resolution.
Never forget = this is the payoff for the reader.
Some cultures do not wrap things up at the end. (such as Japanese stories)
This can be very frustrating for Western readers.
This is called an ‘open ending’ Ex: The protagonist has a choice of two doors. He opens one, but the reader is not told what is behind.
Resolving a Story
We witness how characters have progressed.
We witness the price of victory/defeat.
We have a resolution of conflicts.
If the story continues, at least resolve some conflicts.
We tie up loose ends and answer questions.
We reward the reader for reading.
1. The first and most obvious attempts have failed for the following problems. What do you do next?
a. In the first class of the day at high school, David’s girlfriend dumps him in front of the whole class.
b. A ravenous dragon flew into town and scorched the entire village, leaving a sole survivor.
c. The bank is going to foreclose on the diner that is Mrs. Baker’s sole source of support if she can’t come up with enough money in one week.
2. A violent gang is threatening to kill the mayor because of his crackdown on crime. How could you:
a. deepen the conflict?
b. broaden the conflict?
c. bring the conflict to a climax?
d. create a denouement?
3. Plot out your remaining try-fail cycles, the climax and the denouement.