In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the plot points may be described as follows:
Rising Action: Lily and Snow Flower become laotongs, or special sisters. They begin to go through their rites of passage together such as learning to cook and having their feet bound. Afterwards, the village is raided and they must run for cover in the mountains. The women have a difficult time--their bound feet are not really meant for walking long distances let alone climbing mountains. Lily and Snow Flower manage to survive for months in the mountains. Upon their return, Lily is married to a well-to-do man while Snow Flower gains a husband who is not so prosperous. Here, the women's relationship begins to suffer.
Central Conflict: After being special sisters and bound for life, Lily begins to pull away from Snow Flower because she thinks that Snow Flower has betrayed her. Lily stops communicating with Snow Flower, and when Snow Flower requests that their daughters become laotongs, Lily refuses the request.
Resolution: In the end, Lily hears that Snow Flower is dying, so she breaks her silence to go to her friend's side. Lily promises to be an aunt to Snow Flower's children, and when she grows old, she tells her story to the children.