The very beginning of a story is the introduction. We learn about the characters, setting and any important background information. Often, we are introduced to the main conflict or main problem. This part of the story is also called the exposition.

Every story has some kind of conflict. (Without it, you have no plot!) This is a struggle or problem that characters must face. The conflict usually takes place during all three phases: rising action, climax and falling action. It's the conflict that adds suspense and excitement to a story. And we learn more about a character's beliefs and personality by watching how they deal with the main conflict or problem.

There are 4 main types of conflict. (Many stories will have more than one type of conflict.)

1. Character vs. character: It's the most common type of conflict in a story. This is any kind of struggle between two or more people. Often it's “good guy” vs. “bad guy,” but not always. It's also called “man vs. man,” but doesn't only mean men. This type of conflict includes women too.

2. Character vs. nature: This is when a character must overcome some natural obstacle or condition. Floods, hurricanes, insects and animals may represent conflicts with nature. It's also called “man vs. nature.”

3. Character vs. society: A struggle against society occurs when a character is at odds with a particular social force or condition produced by society, such as poverty, political revolution, a social convention or set of values. Also called “man vs. society.”

4. Characters vs. themselves: Within a character, parts of his or her personality may struggle for dominance. This conflict is usually about making a choice. The choice could be emotional, intellectual or moral.

Rising Action: This is the middle of the story. The main character(s) face problems and solutions. There's a building of interest or suspense... What's going to happen next?

Climax: This is the turning point of the story. Usually the main character faces an ultimate challenge or conflict and changes in some way.

Falling action: This occurs towards the end of the story. Tension decreases and everything begins to settle down.

Conclusion: This is how the story ends. The conflict has been resolved or ended, and loose ends of the story are wrapped up. It's also called "denouement" or "resolution." The classic fairy tale conclusion ends with “and they all lived happily ever after.”

This story comes from our vocabulary song, "The Date,".which reviews 6th grade vocabulary words like "cultivate," "idiom" and "verdict." Watch now!

Tests and answer keys are only available for paid subscribers.

Click below to sign up for a digital subscription.

Plans & Pricing