Kishōtenketsu is a traditional plot structure in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean literature and poetry, originating from the classic Chinese four-line poems.
What makes it unique
Kishotenketsu derives its narrative tension from contrast: the baseline in the first two acts vs the twist in the third. It may feature conflict but, unlike the traditional [[!Three-Act Structure]] in Western storytelling, it is not driven by conflict. I have heard it described as a reverse three-act: what the three-act calls the inciting incident, kishotenketsu calls the climax which changes the status quo of the first two acts.
Kishotenketsu is similar to the [[!Three-Act Structure]] in that it also goes beyond traditional storytelling and is used in poetry or even arguments and sentence structure.
- Introduction (ki) - Exposition and information introducing characters, setting, etc.
- Development (shō) - An expansion upon the introduction, leading up to the twist but not introducing major changes.
- Twist (ten) - An unexpected development, the biggest in the narrative. "This is the crux of the story, the yama (ヤマ) or climax".
- Conclusion (ketsu) - The ending or reconciliation bringing together the previous acts and how they all fit together.
- Is conflict necessary?: Kishōtenketsu and the conflict-less plot
- The significance of plot without conflict
- TV tropes