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Fictional Narrative Elements

Breaking down each of the features of a short story.

Bethany Lopez

on 19 August 2013

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Transcript of Fictional Narrative Elements

What you need to know!
Fictional Narrative Elements
The events that make up a story
Every story follows a specific structure. Each section describes a specific point in the action of the story.
Plot Structure
The exposition presents the facts necessary to understand the story. The setting (time and place) is established and the main characters are introduced.
Falling Action
Events that lead to the end of the story or the resolution.
Concludes the action and
reveals the outcome of the
The most tense, exciting or important part of the story.
Check out Plot Structure:
Watch the following short film and chart the plot structure. Use a pyramid to plot it.
Multiple plots
More complex stories can have multiple narratives within the one story. These plots take place alongside the main narrative but may not occur at the same time. These are called subplots. They usually
take up less time to be resolved than the main narrative. Some stories may have up to 3 plots occurring in one narrative and may take place in different locations or realities.
What are the two plots in this short film? Why do you think the director chose this narrative structure?
Characters are what fill your story and they are a focal element in a story. There are two main types of characters:
Protagonist and Antagonist.
(good guy) The central character in the story; all major events have some importance to this character. A
(bad guy) The character who opposes the protagonist
The perspective from which the story is told.
This relies heavily on your use of grammar.
Narrative Point of View
The following techniques help develop characterisation indirectly
Create Characters of S.T.E.A.L
Create in the readers mind what the character looks like
He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, grey eyes, set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, for his frock coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence.
-The Hound of the Baskervilles (A. Conan Doyle)
Define: Jut, frayed, keen, slovenly, dingy and benevolence.

What synonyms for the above words could be used instead? List them in your workbook.

What impression does this description create in the readers mind?

Using the description as a guide, sketch what you think this character looks like.
Is this accurate?
Actions of Character
Characters can be defined by what they do. This reveals their motivations and personalities.
Direct Characterization
Tells the audience the personality of the character
“The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their mother.”
What does this say about the characters?
Indirect Characterization
Indirect Characterization shows things that reveal the personality of a character. There are five different methods of indirect characterization:
What is revealed through
the characters private thoughts and feelings?
In the woods waits the only person with whom I can be myself. Gale. I can feel the muscles in my face relaxing, my pace quickening as I climb the hills to our place, a rock ledge overlooking a valley. A thicket of berry bushes protects it from unwanted eyes. The sight of him waiting there brings on a smile. Gale says I never smile except in the woods.
--S. Collins, The Hunger Games. p7.
What pieces of information do you learn about this character?
How do you think she feels about the character of Gale? What grammatical features gives you this idea?
How is this character's feelings revealed through her actions? Give examples.
What tense is this extract written in? How is this tense useful when developing a character?
How can thoughts be described through writing? Is it integrated in the narrative or seperate? Why?

How can the inner thoughts of a character be different from a characters actions?
What does the character say? How does the character speak?
What a character says and how they talk can reveal lots of information the character.

What can be revealed? Make a list of all the possible character traits that can be revealed though speech.

Pick two traits and describe how this can be achieved in your writing.
Why did he do that? She could have won the lollypop, she knew she could have. But none of them cared, not a bit. Now she wouldn't tell them anything more about the people she'd seen in the house next door, about the big black car and the men in their suits and black hats.
There were lots of things she wasn't going to tell them now. There were so many other things they didn't know that she knew. She certainly wasn't going to tell them about the gun.

-- U. Dubosarsky. The Red Shoe. p.23
What effect does the character have on other people?
How do other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character?
How does the character change those around them? What do they make them feel or do?

To create conflict, a character must do something or have something done to them, that is where the dramatic tension develops.

By the end of a story, a character may be profoundly changed as a result of another character.
What changes could occur and how might this happen?
The story is narrated by one character at a time.
One character's side of the story.
First Person Narrative
Whose point of view does first person narrative tell?
How could this limit the readers knowledge of events?
In which genres might first person narrative be most advantageous? Why?
First Person Pronouns
First person pronouns refer to the narrator or main speaker in your story. If they say 'I' they're are talking about themselves.

In plural form 'I' becomes 'we.' Indicating that the narrator belongs to a group.

eg: 'I have plenty of friends coming over tonight and we are going to have a party'
Third Person Narrative ~ Three Types
3rd Person Objective -
The author narrates the story in third person, but the narration lacks any comment on what characters are thinking or feeling. The reader sees events as they happen like being a fly on the wall, but the narrator doesn’t explain what is happening.

3rd Person Limited -
The author narrates the story in 3rd person, but the narration closely follows only ONE character; the narrator only presents the thoughts and feelings of one character.

3rd Person Omniscient -

The author narrates (tells) the story using omniscient (all-knowing) point of view. The author uses 3rd person pronouns: they, she, he, it. The narration moves from character to character with free access to thoughts, feelings, and motivations of all characters in the story.
Third Person Pronouns
Used for anything or anyone that the author is talking about,
eg: she, he and it.

She and he are used when gender are certain.

'It' is used for non-human objects, organizations, plants or where gender is unspecified.
The POV of a story is the angle from which the story is told. While there are many different POVs an author can choose from, the following four are the most common.
Point of View
1st Person
3rd Person Omniscient
3rd Person Limited
3rd Person Objective
Four Types of Point of View:
Plot Diagram
Rising Action
Rising Action: This is where the first conflict of the story is introduced. The tension and conflict increase.
Rising Action ~ Introduction of the Conflict(s)
Complication or development of the conflict.
Person vs. Person
– external struggle between two or more individuals.
Person vs. themselves
– internal struggle concerning emotion and decision.
Person vs. nature
– external struggle between person and an element of nature or the environment.
Person vs. Society
- The PROTAGONIST struggles against ideas, values, practices, or customs of the society in which he lives.
Person vs. Person
– external struggle between two or more individuals.
Person vs. self
– internal struggle concerning emotion and decision.
Person vs. nature
– external struggle between person and an element of nature or the environment.
Person vs. Society
- The PROTAGONIST struggles against ideas, values, practices, or customs of the society in which he lives.
Conflict: The struggle between two opposing forces in a piece of literature. There are several types of conflict.
Rising Action:
The first conflict of the story begins.
Tension increases.
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