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The Elements of Fiction
Transcript of The Elements of Fiction
Point of View
The time and place
where a story happens.
Point of View
The point of view is the perspective from which the story is told.
The person telling the story is called the narrator.
Types of Point of View
The events of the story
People, animals, or imaginary beings
in a piece of literature.
The Elements of Fiction
What is fiction?
Fiction is literature that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not real, but rather, imaginary and theoretical—that is, invented by the author.
Fiction can include real things, but if parts of the story are made up by the author, the story becomes fiction. For example, in historical fiction, a story is based on real events (like the Civil War). However, if the author makes up characters and tells a story he made up about these characters during the war, it is fiction.
Types of Characters
Static vs. Dynamic
Static characters stay the same throughout the story. Dynamic characters change as a result of something that happened in the story. The change happens in the character's ideas, beliefs, morals, or wants.
Flat vs. Round
Flat characters are pretty basic. They only show one side of who they are. Round characters are more complex. The reader gets to see more than one side of the character and gets to know them on a deeper level.
The main character in the story.
The character or force opposing the main character.
When describing the setting, think in broad terms as well as specific terms.
For example, the setting could be as broad as the country and time period in which the story takes place (United States in the 1800s).
It could also be as specific as the exact place and date (an elevator in an apartment building in New York City on May 11, 2014).
The narrator is a CHARACTER in the story.
Uses pronouns such is I, me, my, we, etc.
A 1st person narrator can only tell his or her own thoughts and feelings.
In 2nd person, the narrator speaks directly to the reader.
If the narrator uses the word "you" outside
of the dialogue, it's a clue that the story is written in 2nd person.
This isn't used very often in fiction.
A 3rd person narrator is a voice OUTSIDE of the story.
The narrator will NOT refer to himself. Rather, he provides all the information you need to know about the characters in the story. He can tell you what the characters are thinking and feeling.
There are two types of 3rd person narrators:
A LIMITED narrator can reveal the thoughts and feelings of ONE character only. This would be the main character.
Ex. Harry Potter
An OMNISCIENT narrator can reveal the thoughts and feelings of any character. Many times he will focus on a few characters, but he has the power to let you into the mind of any character in the story.
Ex. The Westing Game
5 Stages of Plot
Stages of the Plot
The beginning of the story where the characters, setting, and conflict are introduced.
Characters are faced with problems they must continually overcome as they try to solve the main conflict.
These obstacles or problems are called complications. They keep the conflict from being solved right away.
The rising action builds suspense and tension as the story moves toward the most exciting part.
The story reaches a critical turning point. Tension has reached its highest point.
This is usually a turning point in the main conflict.
Tension eases and things start to get worked out in the story.
The main conflict is usually resolved and worked out.
Everything is wrapped up and the story ends.
Sometimes new conflicts may be introduced that lead into a sequel.
The main problem that drives the story
A problem that takes place within a character’s own mind such as a struggle between opposing needs, desires, or emotions.
A problem in which a character struggles with an outside force such as another character, society as a whole, or a natural force.
Watch this video for more information.
Types of conflict include:
Man vs. Man (external)
Man vs. Nature (external)
Man vs. Society (external)
Man vs. Self (internal)
If you want to get really specific, you might also include:
Man vs. Machine
Man vs. Supernatural Power
Man vs. Destiny
A main idea or message that the writer
wishes to convey through a piece of literature
Some notes about theme:
It's universal meaning it can be applied to life in general, not just one specific situation.
There can be more than one theme.
Depending on your background and personal experiences, you might see different themes than other people reading the same story.
There should be evidence in the text to back up the theme you see.
A theme can be stated explicitly or implied which means you'll have to do some thinking and searching.