Denoument, also known as the resolution, is part of the falling action of a novel.
It is a very simple thing but essential for the reader to have a complete and satisfying experience.
Before we talk about this let’s get rid of the word first.
The word is really and truly spelled dénouement.
But, as Hemingway said, “it’s a poor mind that can’t think of more than one way to spell a word”.
The word is frequently misspelled in America and, just as frequently, no one knows how to pronounce it (denim what?)
Let’s Just Call it What It Is
It is a very natural thing. In fact, you would find it very odd if it was missing in your everyday life.
The driver crossed the finish line with the checkered flag and that was it. Nope, you don’t get to see the champagne popping and the celebrating afterwards.
Or how about a fight with your spouse. The fight ends with the last crashing plate and then the next thing you’re doing is talking normally about what to have for dinner. What, no make up?
Even the worst thunderstorms have a resolution with the rain thinning out after the last cloud burst and here comes the sun.
Without the denoument or dénouement we just wouldn’t know what to do.
Like Waves Rising And Falling
A resolution is part of the natural order of things so it must be there after your novel’s climax.
This is the part of the book where all the loose ends are tied up. There must be nothing forgotten. If there was a mystery about who a character’s real father was it must now be revealed.
If you don’t provide this the reader will feel cheated.
They’ve stayed with for a few hundred pages and now you’ve left them flat. You might write another book, but they won’t read it.
This Is Important To Understand
The resolution is an important part of the overall dramatic structure of the novel.
But the rising action and falling action rhythm should exist throughout the book. It should exist from scene to scene and even within scenes.
It helps to give the reader an occasional breather.
Think about it. What if the whole movie was a chase scene without time for the characters to slow down and fall in love?
And now for the denoument or dénouement of this page. Drum roll please…
Rising action, falling action, climax and resolution follow the natural rhythm of life and so should your novel.