Elements of Fiction

FICTION TERMS

PLOT ELEMENTS

A. Stages
1. introduction – setting is shown
2. initial incident – central problem appears
3. rising action – various incidents related to central problem
4. climax – the greatest tension related to the central problem
5. falling action – more incidents but the ending is becoming clear
6. denouement – what will happen regarding the central problem is addressed
7. conclusion – the ending, with a hint of what the future holds

B. Types
1. determinate – everything is resolved at the end of the story, either happily or sadly
2. indeterminate – some incidents or problems are left unresolved, either happily or sadly
3. surprise – an unexpected ending which may leave the central problem unresolved

C. Conflict
1.person versus environment (external)
2. person versus person (external)
3. person versus supernatural (external)
4. person versus society (external)5. person versus self (internal)

CHARACTERIZATION

A. Types
1. protagonist – main character
2. antagonist – main force against the main character
3. confident – friend of main character
4. foil – friend or helper of antagonist
5. dynamic – a realistic character who significantly changes during the course of the story
6. round – a realistic character with strengths and weaknesses
7. flat – a character who plays a role but very few traits are revealed
8. stereotype – a character whose actions are entirely predictable
9. static – a character who does not significantly change during the course of the story

SETTING

A. Where the story takes place (city versus country, inside versus outside)
B. When the story takes place (year, season, time of day…)

STYLE

A. Point of View
1. first person – a character tells the story; ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘we’
2. second person – rare in fiction; common in recipes and manuals; ‘you’
3. third person – an outside narrator tells the story; ‘he’ and ‘she’ and ‘they’
4. limited omniscient – the thoughts of only one character are revealed
5. omniscient – the thoughts of many characters are revealed
6. objective – no thoughts are revealed

B. Techniques
1. foreshadowing – hints at what is coming2. irony – 3 types: verbal (someone says something and means something else); situational (something unexpected happens); dramatic (the reader knows what is happening but the characters do not)
3. dialogue versus narration

C. Figures of Speech

THEME

The central idea in a story that tells something true about real life. (E.g. All people are of equal value.)

 

 

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