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Elements of Story

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James Tilton

on 12 October 2017

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Transcript of Elements of Story

Elements of Story
Also called basic situation
The opening part of a story
Normally answers the questions "Who?" "When?" and "Where?"
Opening chapters: Meet the characters, introduced to Panem
Things that prevent the main character from achieving his goal
to the story
Prim gets chosen, Katniss volunteers, Peeta gets chosen, etc.
What are other complications?
The most exciting or suspenseful part of the story
Normally is either a breakthrough or defeat for the main character
Katniss and Peeta both are declared victors
Also called denouement
Wraps up the story
The "happily ever after" moment... or not
Katniss and Peeta take the train home, talk about their future
Main character or characters of the story
Most important class of character
There can be more than one protagonist
To find this character, "Who is this story about?"
Flat Characters
Any character that is the same at the end of the story as at the beginning.
These characters are also known as
Too many flat characters can make a book boring.
Direct Characterization
When the narrator tells us directly about a character's personality or history
Kind of like a Facebook profile
Consider this example from the Hunger Games:
The order of events in a story
In its simplest state, this is "what happens" in a story
Plot has four parts: exposition, complications, climax, and resolution
Plot can be illustrated in the following way...
Review #1
What is plot?
How many parts of plot are there?
What is the exposition?
What three questions does the exposition answer?
What are the complications?
What is the climax?
What is the resolution?
Point of view is the perspective through which a story is told, the eyes through which the reader sees the story.
The point of view answers the question, "Who is narrating this story?"
Every story has a point of view.
There are three basic points of view: first-person, second-person, and third-person.
To find point of view, you must look at the words in the story that are not in quotations
Point of View
Definition of Genre
Genre is the term used for the different categories of stories into which a book might fit
Books within a genre often have a similar mood,
and characters.
Books can fit into many genres at one time
Why is Genre Important?
Genre allows readers to instantly have an idea whether or not they will like a certain book.
Genre also gives people another book to compare the book to.
Genre is like a matching game.
There are many, many types of genre. There is no set limit.
Common genres include
romance, action, drama, historical, biographical, autobiographical, zombie, dystopian, young adult, graphic novel
, etc.
What kinds of genre are there?
Introduction to Character
Characters are the people (or sometimes animals) in a story.
There are
four classes
of characters: protagonist, antagonist, secondary, and subordinate.
There are
two types
of characters: flat and round.
Ever character in a story must be one class and one type--no more, no less.
The enemy or nemesis of the main characters in a story
Most important class of character
There can be more than one protagonist
To find this character, "Who prevents my main character from achieving their goal?"
Class of Characters
Important characters who are not the protagonist or antagonist
The basic plot doesn't absolutely depend on these characters, but they still add to the story.
Characters who are not important to the plot and add very little to the story
These characters are the book equivalent of extras in a movie.
They often have few or no lines and will only be in the book for a quick scene.
After that scene, they are not remembered by either the
or the protagonist.
Class of Characters (cont.)
Types of Characters
Round Characters
Any character that is different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning.
This change can be pretty much anything: physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational.
These characters are also known as
Too many round characters can make a book confusing or unrealistic.
Class: Protagonist, Antagonist, Secondary, Subordinate
Type: Flat or Round
Class: Protagonist, Antagonist, Secondary, Subordinate
Type: Flat or Round
Class and Type?
Class and Type?
The process by which the reader finds out things about characters in a book is called characterization.
Characterization is also the term used for the writer's method of revealing things about their character.
There are two types of characterization: direct and indirect.
Most descriptions use both of these types of characterization, moving easily from one to the other.
How do we find out about characters?
Direct Characterization
Indirect Characterization
When an author tells us what a character is like through their actions, words, clothing, food preferences, friends, etc.
Kind of like stalking
Consider this example from the Hunger Games:
Characterization Practice
Indirect Characterization
What are the four classes of characters?
What are the two types of characters?
How many classes and how many types must every character be?
What is the protagonist?
What is the antagonist?
What is a secondary character?
What is a subordinate character?
(as illustrated by the Hunger Games)
What is genre?
Why is genre important?
How many different genres are there?
What is Point of View?
First person point of view is when the story is being told by a character within the story.
First person point of view uses words like "I," "me," "my," "we," and "us."
Consider this example:
First Person Point of View
Second Person Point of View
Second person point of view is when the story or directions are being told directly to the reader.
Second person point of view frequently uses or implies "you."
Consider this example:
Third Person Point of View
Third person point of view is when the story is being told by some narrator (known or unknown) outside of the story.
Third person point of view frequently uses words like "he," "she," "him," or "her." It does not use words like "I."
Consider this example:
Imagine the same story was told in first-person and third-person. Which version would be able to give more details?
Is a first-person story more or less trustworthy than a third-person story?
What are some first-person narrators whom you would not trust to tell the story accurately?
What are some situations in which second-person would be used?
What is point of view?
What are the three types of point of view?
When trying to discover a story's point of view, which words should the reader be looking at?
What is first person point of view?
What are some words which indicate first person point of view?
What is second person point of view?
What are some words which indicate second person point of view?
What is third person point of view?
What are some words which indicate third person point of view?
What is Suspense?
How do authors create suspense?
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Suspense is the enjoyable feeling of uncertainty that occurs when a reader is unsure what will happen in a book and must keep reading to find out.
Suspense occurs almost constantly during the "Complications" section of the plot and usually resolves during the "Climax" section of the plot.
Suspense is one of the main ways authors try to keep their audiences entertained.
Authors use a variety of techniques to create suspense.
The success of these techniques depend on two things: 1) the reader must care deeply about the characters; and 2) the reader must be given reason to think that the story will not necessarily end happily.
Why do you think an author will have trouble creating suspense without these two things?
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
The Cliffhanger
End a chapter or book right in the middle of a dangerous or exciting situation.
Make the reader keep reading to find out what happened to the character in that situation.
Used often on television shows
For an example of The Cliffhanger, check out page 232 of the Hunger Games.
The Countdown
Use time to create a sense of pressure on the character and story
Suspense comes from the fact that time can't be stopped, even when the reader or character wishes that it could
Used often in film and television-- "You have until noon tomorrow, or I kill her."
For an example of The Countdown, check out page 148 of the Hunger Games.
Worries and Fear
Reveal the character's inner worries and fears to help the reader see what is on the line if the character fails
Creates suspense by reminding the reader of what would happen if the character fails
For an example of suspense created by worries and fears, check out page 103 of The Hunger Games.
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
Create suspense by placing the character in a dangerous setting
Creates suspense by placing the character's very life in jeopardy, not only from other people but also from their surroundings
Can you think of an examples of danger in The Hunger Games?
Create suspense by placing the character in a dark place
Creates suspense by preventing the character from seeing what is around them and by playing on human's natural fear of the dark
Can you think of any examples of darkness in The Hunger Games?
Create suspense by placing the character in a situation where they will be tested
Causes the reader to wonder how the character will do on the test and to worry that the main character will fail
Plays on the fear many people have of tests
Can you think of any examples of tests in The Hunger Games?
Have the main character lose something important to them
Creates suspense by causing the reader to worry that the character will lose something else, perhaps even more important
Reminds the reader that the author is not necessarily set on a "happy ending"
Can you think of any examples of loss in The Hunger Games?
What is suspense?
What does suspense do for the reader?
What two things must be true for an author to create suspense?
What are eight techniques used by authors to create suspense?

Before you go to London, remember to leave your keys under the doormat.

I asked Sam to help me with my Happy New Year mailing, and we somehow got the project done early during the last week of December in spite of our packed schedules. I’m quite proud of us and ended up calling the project ours instead of mine.
He walked up to the bar and asked for tall whiskey. The bartender looked at him strangely for a second. The man was tall and dark with a crooked nose and foggy eyes. "You aren't from around here, are you?" the bartender asked. The man didn't answer. He simply stood up and left.
Sixty seconds. That's how long we're required to stand on our metal circles before the sound of a gong releases us. Step off before the minute is up, and land mines blow your legs off.
1. Remove the protective plastic covering surrounding the various pieces.
2. Connect piece A and piece B according to the diagram provided.
She watched him silently from across the room. He was talking to some other girl, some skinny girl whose blonde hair fell from behind her ear every time she laughed. And this blonde girl laughed a lot.
Besides, if he wants kids, Gale won't have any trouble finding a wife. He's good-looking, he's strong enough to handle the work in the mines, and he can hunt. You can tell by the way the girls whisper about him when he walks by in school that they want him. (pg. 10)
Haymitch Abernathy, a paunchy, middle-aged man, who at this moment appears hollering something unintelligible, staggers onto the stage, and falls into the third chair.
The door opens and a young man who must be Cinna enters. I'm taken aback by how normal he looks. Most of the stylists they interview on television are so dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered they're grotesque. But Cinna's close-cropped hair appears to be its natural shade of brown. He's in a simple black shirt and pants. The only concession to self-alteration seems to be metallic gold eyeliner that has been applied with a light hand. It brings out the flecks of gold in his green eyes. And, despite my disgust with the Capitol and their hideous fashions, I can't help thinking how attractive he looks.
Bright and bubbly as ever, Effie Trinket trots to the podium and gives her signature, "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!" Her pink hair must be a wig because her curls have shifted slightly off-center since her encounter with Haymitch. She goes on a bit about what an honor it is to be here...
That's why my mother and Prim, with their light hair and blue eyes, always look out of place. They are. My mother's parents were part of the small merchant class that caters to officials, Peacekeepers, and the occasional Seam customer. They ran an apothecary shop in the nicer part of District 12.
Caesar Flickerman, the man who has hosted the interviews for more than forty years, bounces onto the stage. It's a little scary because his appearance has been virtually unchanged during all that time. Same face under a coating of pure white makeup. Same hairstyle that he dyes a different color for each Hunger Games. Same ceremonial suit, midnight blue dotted with a thousand tiny electric bulbs that twinkle like stars.
I'll say this for Caesar, he really does his best to make the tributes shine. He's friendly, tries to set the nervous ones at ease, laughs at lame jokes, and can turn a weak response into a memorable one by the way he reacts.
Eight Ways to Create Suspense
The Reveal
The author leaves the reader wondering for a while before answering an important question. They can do this by focusing on other, less important details or by having the answer be located in a letter that must first be opened and read.
Used a lot in game shows...
Can you think of any examples of the reveal used in the Hunger Games?
Mood is the feeling or emotion a story is trying to make the audience feel.
Mood is often related to genre. For example, a story of the tragedy genre might have a depressing mood. Similarly, a story in the horror genre might have a terrifying mood.
What is Mood?
There is not a set limit of moods.
More than one word may be used to describe mood. Many synonyms may be used to describe one mood, such as "creepy," "scary," "terrifying," and "horror."
Authors use three main techniques to help create mood.
Mood (continued)
Technique #1: Setting
One of the most common ways author create mood is through their
(locations of a story). These settings are supposed to symbolically reflect the emotions of the reader.
Ask yourself, "Where does this story or scene take place?"
Technique #2: Character's Feelings
Authors often use the feelings of the characters to influence the feelings of the reader. This works because an engaged reader starts to identify with the characters.
Thus, when one character is terrified, the reader becomes more afraid. The mood created would be one of horror.
Similarly, if one character is laughing, the reader becomes more lighthearted. The mood created would be one of playfulness.
Technique #3: Connotation
refers to
the idea that certain words or things are loaded with feelings beyond their literal meaning.
This can be very different from
, which is a word's
meaning as found in a dictionary
. For example, "retarded" has a more negative connotation than "mentally disabled," even though their denotations are similar.
Similarly, snakes have a far creepier connotation than lizards, even though both are reptiles.
When reading, look for words or things that are loaded with meaning. This could help you discover the mood of the story.
What is mood?
How many different kinds of moods are there?
What are the three ways that authors create mood?
What is the meaning of the word connotation?
What is the meaning of the word denotation?
The wind howled like a ghost, the thunder rolled, and the lightning drew zigzag lines across the sky. With the sights and sounds of the thunderstorm cloaking his room, Charlie awoke from his night’s sleep. As he peeked out from under the covers, a dark, shifting shadow appeared on the wall of his room.

One of the ways we can improve life on planet Earth is to use more solar energy. The sun’s solar power is a cleaner form of energy than fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum. If our sights are firmly fixed on using solar energy, Earth’s pollution will decrease. The atmosphere will be clearer, global warming will slow down, and fewer animals will lose their habitats as people search for new oil supplies. Definitely, solar energy is a ray of sunshine for our planet.
The class will write one scene from a horror story (750+ words, due Wednesday). The story must use one of the following four pairs of sentences.
There's nothing like the laughter of a baby. Unless it's 1 a.m. and you're home alone.
Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.
There is a picture in my phone of me sleeping. I live alone, and I have no idea how it got there.
She asked why I was breathing so heavily. I told her that wasn't me.
What kind of mood would a romantic comedy likely have? What about a superhero movie?
What mood might the author be trying to create if the setting is a dark forest full of shadows? What mood might the author be trying to create if a scene occurred in the rain? What about if the scene occurred at a carnival?
What are some things a reader should pay attention to in order to discover a character's feelings?
What are other words or things that are loaded with connotative meaning?
Examples of Connotation
In many ways, the sentences which follow are similar. However, the connotation associated with the word choices give each passage a very different mood, not to mention a very different understanding of the characters involved.
More Examples of Connotation
More Practice with Connotation
Sentence #1

Sentence #2
More Practice with Connotation
Rewrite the following sentences as if you were a gangster.
Sentence #1
"Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but I would now like to direct your attention to the lady on my right."
Sentence #2
"Hey, fool, check out that chick over there."
Sentence #1

Sentence #2
Many of my adolescent acquaintances use illegal substances such as marijuana, so I asked my father to help me understand the dangers of such drugs.
All my friends smoke weed, so I asked my old man why I shouldn't smoke too.
Policemen always carry a firearm in case they need to protect themselves or others.
Cops are always packing heat in case something goes down.
Greetings, my friends! What would you all like to do today?
Rewrite the following sentences as if you were a nerd.
Rewrite the following sentences as if you were a cheerleader.
Hold up, you mouth-breather. That there's my ho, so you better back off before you get yourself capped.
I sometimes enjoy going to the mall and just walking around with my friends.
Characterization Practice
Characterization Practice
Characterization Practice
Characterization Practice
Review #2
Let's see how the parts of plot fit into this short story.
Full transcript