I'm using the story of Cinderella as an example.
The words in capitals are the ones Mr Watts uses for his eight points.STATIS.
At the beginning, Cinderella is living with her ugly stepsisters and stepmother, sweeping up.
Next comes the inciting incident, or trigger that starts the story into action.
An invitation to the ball arrives. Both of her stepsisters are excited about going to the ball and meeting the prince! Cinderella dreams of going, but knows she won’t be going, her family wouldn’t allow it. Then the trigger appears, in the form of a fairy godmother who says – you will go to the ball.
The fairy godmother changes the white mice into footmen, changes a pumpkin into a carriage, finds her a dress and glass slipper. The story elements set into motion by the trigger, continue and build momentum.
This stage takes up most of the middle part of the story. Cinderella goes to the ball. There are obstacles and complications, her family are there and she has to make sure they don’t see her. The prince asks her to dance, she has to make the decision to dance with him, even though she knows she’s hiding her identity…
CRITICAL CHOICETime is ticking down to midnight. At midnight she’ll lose her beautiful dress, and the carriage will disappear. But she’s still entranced by the prince, dancing with him. When the clock strikes the first peal of midnight, she makes the critical choice – and runs away, leaving her glass slipper behind her.
CLIMAXThe prince is determined to find the mystery woman again, and searches all the houses in the land. In the climax he arrives in Cinderella’s house, and tries the slipper onto the feet of her stepsisters. This is the highest point of tension in the story. He’s so close, but she’s in the shadows, not considered, until…
Mr Watt’s states that the reversal should be the consequence of the critical choice and the climax, and it should change the status of the characters – especially the protagonist. In Cinderella’s story, the reversal comes the moment that the prince asks ‘Is there no other female in the house?’ notices Cinders in the shadows, and calls her forward to try on the glass slipper. As her foot slips into it, he recognizes her.
RESOLUTIONThe final point of the story. A new statis. Now, instead of being the downtrodden step daughter, Cinderella’s life has changed forever. She’s in love with the prince, and loved in return. The difference between this new reality from the statis at the beginning of the story perfectly illustrates the story arc.