What does "rising action" mean exactly?

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Rising action refers to the events in a text that lead up to the climax, the moment of greatest interest or most tension in a story. Rising action typically begins immediately following any exposition offered by the narrator. Exposition refers to any background information that readers might need or that might be helpful in order to understand the characters or events that take place in the story.  However, not all stories make use of exposition; sometimes, instead, readers are simply plopped right into the story as it is already unfolding.  This is referred to as in medias res, when the story begins in the middle of things.  In the case of a story told in medias res, like The Odyssey, rising action often begins right away since there is no distinct exposition and background details are simply revealed in other ways throughout the text. 

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