Elements of a Novel or Short Story

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Elements of a Novel or Short Story Powered By Docstoc
					What is a “genre”? A genre is a type or kind of literature. Each genre has its own elements that make it
unique and different from another genre.

Non-fiction is a genre that gives all factual information. Some genres that are non-fiction are biographies,
autobiographies, encyclopedias, etc.

Poetry is another genre that contains lines of poetry, stanzas, or rhyme or rhythmic patterns. Some genres
of poetry include free verse, haiku, limerick, etc.

A novel is another genre. A novel must contain all of the elements defined below. You are probably most
familiar with different types of novels. Examples of novels include mystery, science fiction, romance,
horror, fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, etc. Novels are usually longer and some can have complex
plots and many characters.

A short story is another genre. It is shorter and usually less complicated than a novel, but it must contain
all of the elements defined below.

                                 Elements of a Short Story or Novel
Setting: the time, place, and conditions under which the story takes place

Point of View: the perspective or view from which the story is told (who is telling the story); the narrator
is the person telling the story:

       1st Person: the narrator is one of the characters in the story (“I”)

       2nd Person: the narrator is addressing someone in the story or the reader (“you”)

       3rd Person: the narrator is always outside the story (“he” or “she”)

             3rd person objective (camera view): the narrator is outside of the story observing the action; there are
              no feelings of characters given at all

             3rd person limited omniscient*: the narrator is outside the story but shares the thoughts and
                                            feelings of one character

             3rd person omniscient: the narrator is outside the story but shares the thoughts and feelings
                                   of more than one character (usually most or all of the characters)

            *NOTE: omniscient means all knowing

Characters: people, animals, or things (like robots or trees) in the story
         Characterization: the way a character is portrayed or shown in a story (What kind of character traits
             does a character have? How do you form your opinion about the traits a character possesses?)

               Appearance: How is the character described by the narrator or seen through the eyes of the other
                characters? Does their physical appearance or condition give any clues about their lives or their
                personality? (Ex: sad, strong-willed)
               Speech: How does the character speak to other characters? What kinds of things do they say? How
                do they say these things? (Ex: soft-spoken, rude, or polite)
               Morals, Ideas, and Values: What choices or decisions does the character make? How do these
                choices or decisions impact other characters? In your opinion, are they good decisions and choices?
                What does their choice or decision show you about the kind of person they are inside? How do their
                ideas and values give you insight into or shape their personality? (Ex: responsible, proud, honest,
               Interaction: How does the character get along with other characters? What kinds of interactions do
                they have with others? What do other characters say or think about them? (Ex: helpful, mean,
                sneaky, caring)
             Protagonist: the central or main character
             Antagonist: the “force” against the main character—most of the time it is another character or
              characters, however it could be society, nature, fate, the character’s own “self”
             Round Character: fully developed with many traits- good and bad—the reader feels like the character
              is as real as a person
             Flat Character: not fully developed—the reader only knows one side of the character or only knows a
              little bit about them—usually a minor or supporting character
             Dynamic Character: makes an important change in their inner-character or personality during the
              story—the change is a “big one” and is usually a change in a decision, a moral, an idea, a value, or even
              an acceptance or denial of others or of self—this could be a change for the better or the worse
             Static Character: makes no change in their inner-character or personality during the story—this is not
              necessarily a bad thing, especially if they are a likeable character

Theme: the message(s) the author wants to get across to the readers

Conflict: struggles or problems in the story; There are 4 major types:
    Man vs. Man (Person vs. Person): two characters are in conflict with one another
    Man vs. Self (Person vs. Self): a character struggles with his/her own values, morals, judgment, decisions,
       etc. and/or has trouble accepting something
    Man vs. Nature (Person vs. Nature): a character struggles against the forces of nature
    Man vs. Society (Person vs. Society): a character struggles against social order, the government, a group of
       people, etc.

Plot: the sequence of events in the story that reveal the author’s theme(s); Plots generally follow a specific format that
include the following:
        Exposition: the setting, characters, and conflicts are revealed
        Rising Action: the central part of the story during which conflicts arise, leading up to the climax
        Climax/Turning Point: the peak in the action of the story where a significant change occurs.
        Falling Action: the events that occur after the climax/turning point and lead to the ending
        Resolution: the ending of the story, when most conflicts are resolved

                                            climax/turning point

                           rising action
                                                                     falling action

              exposition                                                              resolution

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