Narrative Structure: Freytag's Pyramid (Best for writing tragedies)

Created by Rachel Miles Sijacic on


Freytag's Pyramid is a five-point dramatic structure inspired by the Greek tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripedes. It's named for Gustav Freytag, a 19th-century German novelist and playwright. Freytag's Pyramid is not a one-size-fits-all structure. It recognizes story components that are common to both classical and Shakespearean tragedies, such as a revelation or plot twist that transforms everything — resulting in tragedy for the hero. As a result, the pyramid is less useful when it comes to non-tragic stories in which the protagonist usually triumphs in some manner. Despite the fact that the pyramid's basis is drama, these concepts may be applied to novels, memoirs, and short stories alike because they are ultimately about storytelling. Use this recipe to come up with ideas for a tragedy or hone in on an idea you already have. All of this is meant to be a starting point. Please tweak any of this for your specific needs!

Recipe content
Help Jasper help you! Answer the following questions. Cut & paste them into the "Content description / brief" area on the left-hand side of your window. If you already have a summary for your story, then great! You can just put that in. What's your story about? Where does it take place? Who are the main characters involved? When does the story take place? Why is this important? How does the story unfold? Note: The three asterisks tell Jasper not to read above that content. If you want Jasper to read above them, be sure to remove them. *** Character Development - you can copy this as many times as needed for each character > write about {CHARACTER} > describe {CHARACTER} in detail > write about {CHARACTER}'s motivations > write about {CHARACTER}'s hopes > write about {CHARACTER}'s fears > write about {CHARACTER}'s deepest desire > write about {CHARACTER}'s secret *** Act 1: Introduction > write about the setting in detail > write about the backstory for {CHARACTER} > write about what {CHARACTER} discovers about {CHARACTER, PLACE, THING, ETC} > foreshadow the conflict between {CHARACTER} and {CHARACTER} > write about the inciting incident *** Act 2: Rising action > write about the increasing tension in detail > write about the stakes involved > write about the hope that {CHARACTER} feels > write about how {CHARACTER} develops *** Act 3: Climax > write about the plot twist > write about the turning point in the story > write about the path of no return > write about what {CHARACTER} realizes about themself *** Act 4: Return > write about the inevitability of the tragedy > foreshadow the tragedy that is to occur > write about the tension in the story > write about the difficulties that {CHARACTER} faces *** Act 5: Catastrophe > write about the catastrophe that {CHARACTER} faces > write about the lowest point for {CHARACTER} > write about the resolution of this story > write about what {CHARACTER} learned