All terms

What is falling action?

The events following the climax, leading to the resolution.

Wrapping it Up: Understanding the Falling Action of a Story

In creative writing, the climax of a story is often considered the most exciting moment, where tension, conflict, or uncertainty culminate in a dramatic turning point. But what comes next? That's where the falling action comes in.

During this phase, the reader sees the consequences of the climax play out and loose ends begin to get tied up, but the pace of the story slows down compared to the climax. The falling action is where the author can show the reader what the aftermath of the climax looks like. This is where characters reflect on the changes that have occurred and begin to return to a new, stable life. It is the last stage of the plot before the story ends.

Whether the falling action is quick or leisurely, it functions as a way to bring the story to a satisfying close. By capturing the emotional and psychological changes that the climax has wrought in the characters, the falling action provides readers with a sense of resolution and closure. So while the climax may be the most memorable moment of a narrative, it is the falling action that allows the story to come full circle.

Falling into Place: Examples of the Falling Action in Literature

The falling action is a common feature in narratives, and here are two great examples.

The Lord of the Flies

In William Golding's The Lord of the Flies, the boys who had been stranded on the deserted island are rescued. As they leave, they realize the damage they have caused in their brief time on the island and try to come to terms with it.

Pride and Prejudice

In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, after the central characters clear up misunderstandings, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet finally come together in the falling action of the novel.