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4 Things That Need To Happen In Your Rising Action

The rising action is the plot point after the inciting incident and before the climax, forming a magnificent portion of a story. It powers every narrative, developing the plot and the main character as they confront conflict and reach the boiling point. There are things that need to happen here that affect the success of your story. This article explains four of those things that your rising action must possess.

1. Fulfil the promise of your genre or subgenre
In your story, the rising action tells readers what happens next and delivers on the promise of your story premise. It delivers on the expectation you have created in your readers. If your story is a mystery, the rising action should be the detective trying to solve the case. In a romance, this is where we see the main character falling in love. If at this point, the readers don't see the defining elements of your work at play, then you haven't delivered on the promise of your premise. Or maybe your book is a victim of improper editing. Thus, your rising action reflects your story's genre or subgenre. And before you begin writing, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with what readers in your genre expect. Also, ensure your blurb doesn’t woefully misrepresent your book.

2. Develop the internal and external conflict of the main character
Every story has two types of conflict: internal and external. External conflict is where someone or something tangible prevents the character from getting what they want. Internal conflict is where the main character struggles with their desires, fears, and other aspects of their personality, worldview, or current course of action. An effective rising action develops both of these conflicts. In a mystery, this is where the detective grows frustrated by the evasive tactics of the culprit and the community's negative response to his repeated failure to find the culprit. At the same time, we see our detective struggle with personal problems. Perhaps he has unresolved family issues, an addiction problem, or insecurity that the case is exposing. Both internal and external conflict should mingle and feed each other in your rising action.

3. Introduce many roadblocks on your main character's path
Roadblocks are physical challenges preventing the main character from moving toward their objective. They might go completely broke, lose a fight, or get lost far from civilization. The odds get stacked against them, as they seem to be running out of time and options. If you are writing a romance, this is where your protagonist is trying to impress her crush, and things don't go well. Perhaps she trips and embarrasses herself. She tries to get him a gift and buys something he finds offensive. And when they finally go on their first date, a waitress spills red wine on her gorgeous white dress. These roadblocks should develop your plot and main character. In our example, these embarrassing events may have slowed the heroine down, but soon she decides these blunders wouldn't stop her from getting the man of her dreams.

4. Perfectly pace the action in your story
Uninterrupted tension can be pretty intense to read. This explains why most stories don't move from one challenge straight to another. Often, there are periods of rest balancing the tension created from an intense confrontation with difficulty. The crisis can be progressive in intensity, but the main character gets a moment in a bar or around friends and family where he tries to lick the wounds of his failures. Even in an action-packed sword-and-sorcery fantasy novel, your protagonist wouldn’t be fighting dragons and rival warriors in every scene. This give-and-take of tension and relief helps your story’s pacing. Too many resting moments slow your pace and bore your readers, and too much action leaves them confused. But a well-paced rising action involves both big, dramatic moments of tension and small moments of relief.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen