Plot Structure Of A Novel: The Fichtean Curve

Virtually all bestsellers have one thing in common; a good plot structure. Like buildings, every story requires a structure—a plot structure. For a story to make an engaging and interesting read, you need it. It is even safe to consider it as the DNA of every story.

What is a plot structure?

Basically, it is the outline or series of events that take place in a story and its overall framework.  Regardless of which plot structure you decide to use for your story, every good story should have a rise and a fall. There are different plot structures every writer should know, ranging from Freytag’s Pyramid, Save the Cat, In Medias Res to the Fichtean Curve as they are the essential components of every good story. In this article, we’ll be focusing only on the Fichtean Curve.

The Fichtean Curve—What is it?

Many novels use this as it is the perfect choice for fantasy and science fiction.

The Fichtean Curve is a narrative structure that features a multitude of conflicts.  As the name implies, there are many ups and downs.

The main character goes through a multitude of conflicts (mini or major conflicts) to achieve their goals.

This means you should expect at least three crises within the very first few pages leading to the climax. After the climax, which is about two-thirds of the way, the rest of the pages is spent on falling actions, resolution, or denouement.

Such stories are packed tight with tension and keep your readers turning pages.

Components of The Fichtean Curve

The Fichtean curve has three major components, which are; rising action, climax, and falling action.

Rising Action: The story begins and moves straight to the rising action after just a few pages. The rising action contains a series of events such as the backstory, exposition, character’s background, and a series of conflicts and challenges the character must overcome. Though these crises will always put your main character through the ringer, it is a mission they didn’t want to get involved in initially. Sometimes in the rising action phase, every effort fails as things backfire.

Climax: At this point, about two-thirds of the way, conflict becomes most intense. We can say that the story has reached its climactic conflict. It is a point of no return for the main character. At this point in the story, they either face the challenge(s) head-on or live with the dire consequences of their inaction. This phase is packed tight with tension and dramatic events as the reader’s commitment finally pays off.

Falling Action: Things are wrapped up in the falling action phase as the story moves toward its conclusion. The conflicts, all of it, come to an end at this point. It is at this stage that you get to see the results and consequences of the choices your main character made in the Climax stage. No new conflict or dramatic tension. Loose ends are also tied up.

Why Use The Fichtean Curve?

Writers use the Fichtean curve for two major reasons. First, it’s to arouse the curiosity of readers. Secondly, it’s to keep them hooked. The Fichtean curve keeps your readers turning pages in a libidinous way. Plus, it makes an awesome plot for building a bestseller.

Key Features of The Fichtean Curve

  • It contains multiple levels of conflict. But no new conflict arises after the falling action.
  • The series of actions does not allow the readers to get bored.
  • It is more common in fantasy and science fiction. But it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other genres.
  • The “wow moment” is experienced after the climax.


If you want to keep surprising your readers, increasing their curiosity and keeping them hooked on your story, the Fichtean Curve will make the best choice. This is because it is packed tight with actions, conflicts, and dramatic tensions. It makes one of the best plot structures for many bestselling novels out there.

Have you plotted your novel using the Fichtean Curve?

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