Falling Action Definition- Story Pyramid for Kids

Help kids understand what falling action is with a definition in kid terms. This simple definition of falling action includes picture and examples.


What is falling action?

You know how a story gets exciting for a while, but then at some point, the action changes and the story starts slowing down until it ends? The slowing down part is called “falling action.”

Technically speaking, a falling action definition is, “Falling action is made up of the events after the climax of a story that wrap up the plot and lead to resolution.” But why do we need falling action?

We need falling action in a story to lead the reader toward a satisfying ending. Let’s back up a second because every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end and falling action is closer to the end.


How Falling Action Fits in a Story

A story starts at the beginning (a.k.a. The Exposition), when we introduce the main character and the basic plot. Then the middle comes, and the action starts. We call this Rising Action- the events that tell why the character can’t get what he wants and how he tries to overcome obstacles. During Rising Action there is conflict, excitement, suspense. But at some point, the action reaches a climax, like the final showdown between a good guy and bad guy. After that, things change. That’s where Falling Action starts. There is still action, but it’s slowing down, getting calmer, and the falling action tells the reader how things turn out and how the conflict is resolved.


Definition of Falling Action- Story Pyramid Picture

What is Falling Action- Definition in Story Pyramid Picture

This printable worksheet shows how falling action is related to the the exposition and rising action in a story. Designed for kids, this is a version of Freytag's pyramid, which shows us how dramatic stories are typically structured.

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Falling action definition- Examples

To see how falling action works, let’s use this really simplified story idea:

A lizard + wants to be a rockstar + but he can’t sing

{Beginning of the story, a.k.a The Exposition. Introduce main character and set up the story} A tall, florescent green lizard stood admiring his shimmering form in the mirror. Running his bulbous fingers through is wild, blue hair he popped himself into a dance pose he was sure would get the audience screaming. He was born to be a rockstar-- with one teensy problem. The only thing making people scream was his awful singing. When Lizard (he pronounced is Liz- arggh, kind of like a pirate), opened his mouth, the noise that came out had people screaming for him to stop. If he was going to be the rockstar he knew he was born to be, he needed to learn how to sing.

{Middle of the story, a.k.a Rising Action. Add conflict and action.} One day while he was browsing through cds at the record store, Lizarggh overheard some rockers talking about a secret grotto at the top of Rockopolis Mountain. Legend says that anyone who drinks from the dark pool in the grotto instantly gains a voice as smooth and deep as its waters. Lizzarggh knew what he had to do. He laced up his combat boots, slipped a power bar in his satchel, and started climbing.

{Add a twist of more Rising Action until the Climax} After hours of hacking his way through brush and struggling over boulders, the tip of the grotto peaked above the next hill. With a rush of renewed energy, Lizzargh took off, bounding over rocks until they felt like they were shaking loose under the impact of his feet. Wow, he must have some strong feet, he thought, because they were really starting to tumble now. Oh no! He realized Rockopolis Mountain was really rocking! It was an earthquake shaking loose the stones. He leaped and grabbed for a tree branch, and swung his legs up to capture the bough. He popped his suction cup fingers into action keeping a death grip on the branch.

{Add Falling Action} Finally, the leaves stopped shaking, the ground settled, and Lizzargh lowered one toe, gently nudging the rock beneath him to check for stability. No rocking. No rolling. He straightened is leather jacket, shook his blue hair back into a stylishly wild disarray, and sprinted up the mountain like a pack of biker lizards were after him.

{The End, a.k.a Denouement. Wrap up the action and create resolution} He should have been wary. He should have been careful. But blame it on the rocking and rolling of that mountain, Lizzargh was too amped to hold back. He dove in and gulped down the silky water. He rose above the surface, flung his sodden locks out of his eyes, and wailed his highest note. It was awesome. It soared. It rocked and it rolled. He was going to make it. Finally he could be the rockstar he was born to be.

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