If you’ve been following along with our blog series on the Story Map, you’ll remember that last time we ended on a high, with a post about the climax of your story. The next point along the way is the falling action. The hero has achieved his goal, whatever his goal may have been. He slayed the dragon, he got the girl, he won the big game or he saved the school from being torn down. But the story isn't over yet.Why is falling action so vital to your story ideas? Think about how you would feel if the story simply ended directly after the climax, at the height of the action. Wouldn't you wonder what happened next? If we didn't get a chance to see the fruits of the hero's labor, then we would feel incomplete. The falling action gives us satisfaction that the guy you've been rooting for, been invested in, is going to get his reward. It's not enough to see Rocky finally beat Apollo Creed in Rocky II after 15 grueling rounds of battle. We also want to see the beaten and battered Rocky hoist the championship belt up in the air and tell his wife, who is watching at home, 'Yo Adrian, I did it!'
Falling action is a rewarding element of a story that resolves the loose ends of the plot and leads the story toward closure. During the falling action, the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning or losing against the antagonist. The falling action may contain a moment of final suspense, in which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt.
Here are some tips for creating strong falling action in your business story:
1. Re-read the climax of your story. Ask yourself, "What happens next?" Be creative, but not so wild as to be something out of the blue for characters the reader feels he has come to know. Make it logical, yet creative. If you’re using a real life story, this should be easy to do – after all, YOU are most likely the hero of your story.
2. Return to a new normal. In a story, the characters should return home, pick up their lives and go on. This doesn't necessarily mean that their lives should be the same as before the events in the story, but it should be whatever would be normal after the climax. Same goes for when you’re telling a story in a business presentation. For example, if your presentation was about struggling with the acceptance of a new process or product, you should wrap up your story describing how you went back to your job, and the impact this change had your team, your department, or yourself.
3. Finally, remember the classic ending, "they lived happily ever after." You’ve crafted a great story thus far; don’t blow it by dragging it out unnecessarily after the climax. Keep your falling action concise and streamlined, and plan on wrapping up your story in short order!