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Elements of a Story - What Makes A Good Tale

Static/dynamic characters, theme, internal/external conflict, POV, tone.

Janis Bellon

on 6 September 2012

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Transcript of Elements of a Story - What Makes A Good Tale

Elements of a Story
...what makes a good tale. Major Story Elements Characters Theme Setting Point
Of View Conflict Plot We have reviewed one of the story elements: plot. However, there are FIVE more!
They are:
Theme A conflict is simply a problem within a story. Stories usually have multiple problems, with one problem being the crux, or the center of the plot. Three types of conflict exist:
Man vs. man (physical) = A type of external conflict. Typical person vs. person conflict. Something doesn't agree between two characters.
Man vs. self (psychological) = Also known as internal conflict. The character struggles with guilt, conscience, or right vs. wrong.
Man vs. nature/environment (social) = A type of external conflict. The character clashes with systems around them (nature itself, laws, rules, customs, settings. A theme is a universal statement in a story. What does that mean?
Theme is a controlling idea - this idea directs the story in a particular direction
The theme usually shows what the author wants the reader to learn from the story.
Theme examples: Love is blind, believe in yourself, people fear change, "don't judge a book by its cover" THE main character is always the protagonist. The opposer of the main character is the antagonist. All characters, however, can be described in one of three ways.

Dynamic characters have the ability to change personalities within the story.
Individual characters are well-rounded and have complex personalities.
Static characters usually exist as a stereotype; they have one or two personality traits that never change. Point of view is the perspective from which the story is told. When certain characters tell the story, the point of view can be altered.
In literature, three points of view are usually used by a writer:
First person: The "I" point of view. The protagonist is telling the story.
Third person limited: The narrator is telling the story from the protagonist's POV only. We only know what the protagonist experiences from an outsider's POV.
Third person omniscient: The "God point of view". The narrator knows the reasons behind the actions and thoughts of every character. The setting is the environment in which the story is told. A story's environment can be affected by several factors:
Location: The actual "where." This can be as general as a room or a country, or as specific as a small town Wal-Mart.
Time: This isn't just the time of day, but also the time period in history.
Weather conditions: not always a factor, but can be important if emphasized.
Social conditions: Depending on time and location, different rules for behavior can affect ways of life in a story.
Mood: Is the environment gloomy or happy? What is the attitude of the characters? Think of this as "emotional weather." Plot is easy; we know that there are seven elements that complete the plot of any story. They are:
inciting incident
rising action
falling action
dénouement More Conflict!
Man vs. Divine Force - With this type of conflict, the author will explicitly state that a god or gods have intervened with the destiny or fate of a character or situation.

Man vs. Society - Like Man vs. Nature/Environment, A character is not just fighting their immediate physical surroundings, but an entire social structure.
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