About Plot, Part III – the Resolution

romeo 3The first two parts of the series on plot development looked at the Set-Up and the Confrontation.  The last part is the Resolution.  This final section of a story features the final conflict resolution of the plot and subplots.  It is when all the lose ends of the story come together.  Typically it includes the transformation, looming confrontation with antagonist, confrontation, and resolution sections, and accounts for 25 to 30% of the storyline.  It should include the climax of the story, a time in which the major tension of the story explodes, bringing all of the emotional and dramatic elements of the storyline together.  

Let’s take a look at each of the sections.  And remember my disclaimer (I have purposefully split this a little differently the the -act ballet, or the 5-act play.  It is for illustrative purposes only, not a set in stone division.  I leave that level of analysis to people with more expertise than me!)

  1. Transformation:  This is the major internal change for the protagonist – the point at which he/she rebounds from the depth of despair and has the best chance of thwarting the antagonist.  In Romeo and Juliet, this happens at two points.  For Juliet, it is her decision to fake her death and thereby “cheat” her fate of marrying Paris.  For Romeo it is his decision to actually take his life when he believes Juliet is really dead.
  2. Confrontation Looming:  This is the moments before the major climax –  when the protagonist prepares for the final battle.  It is when Romeo prepares to take his life, and when Juliet prepares to take hers.
  3. Confrontation:  This is the final climax of the story – the thing the entire plot has moved towards.  For Romeo and Juliet, it is their death.
  4. Resolution:  This is the last bit that ties the lose ends.  It need not be a happy ending.  Romeo and Juliet certainly isn’t.  But it must leave the reader with a sense of completion, even if it is a creepy version on it.  In Romeo and Juliet, it is the discovery of the dead lovers and the decision by both families to end their senseless and bitter hatred of each other.

So there you go – the complete plot line. 

Do you guys keep plot lines for the stories you write?  I do.  And they have saved me every time I get stuck or the characters run away with the story.

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