Conceivably Gustav Freytag, novelist and playwright of the 19th century, would shake his head in wonder if he watched a 21st century movie. His Pyramid 5-part plot structure still rings true today.
The Pyramid of Gustav Freytag (1816–1895) is seen in various formats now but the basics of drama stay the same. He based his Pyramid on Greek tragedy and Shakespearean drama and it has been copied by scholars and followed by writers ever since.
Read a book, watch a film, or listen to someone telling a story. Notice the pattern: an introduction, the build up, intensity peaks, a gradual resolution and the final scene. My writing teacher demonstrated with a coathanger. It had baubles and beads hung on it but underneath the basic structure remained firm.
I bet Herr Freytag would have a good laugh over the continued consistencies of human nature. He wrote the novel ‘The Journalists’ (1854) which is still regarded as one of the most successful German comedies of that period.
Okay, kiddies, dust off your keyboard. Your Freytag’s Pyramid Challenge is to write a punchy 500 words (or less) short story using exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, with a dog and cat as your two main characters.
Harder than you think? Tip: Denouement is not the same as an epilogue.
I am going to do Freytag’s Pyramid Challenge myself – because I have just this minute made up the idea! Apologies if some smarter person has already done this. I will post my speculative effort under my blog heading Freytag’s Pyramid Challenge Part Two and my sub-heading ‘Hey Freytag, Look What I Wrote’.
I would love to see your work, your words or illustrations! NO prizes, no follow-up, just the satisfaction of completing an exercise. You can participate in Freytag’s Pyramid Challenge in your own time by posting on your own blog. Add your wordcount and use the name ‘Freytag’ in your catchy title.
Let’s see what drama your dog, cat and the Pyramid create!
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward