Elements_of_Fiction by gdcroteau


									Name ____________________________________________

                                    Elements of Fiction/Writer’s Craft

The purpose of this document is to provide you with a reference for discussions about literature. You
will consult this list as you blog about your independent reading; you are also expected to use these
terms when discussing texts in class.

Setting – Time, place, and surroundings of a story, including
    1. Time in history
    2. Time of day
    3. Geographic location
    4. Place of action
    5. Mood

Narrator – A character who speaks directly to the audience, introducing the action and providing
commentary between scenes; may or may not be a character in the action (limited, objective,

Point of View – The perspective through which the story is told, can be in
   1. First person (I, me, we) – Is part of the action in the story
   2. Third person limited (he, she, they) – Knows only the thoughts and feelings of the main
   3. Third person omniscient (he, she, they) – All-knowing – knows thoughts and feelings of other

Character/Characterization – A person represented in a work of literature. We learn about
characters in literature through their characterization. Sub-definitions are:
   1. Flat Character – A character that is built upon a single idea or quality and is not very unique.
   2. Round Character – A complex and more realistic character, with complex thoughts, emotions
      and motivations.
   3. Static Character – A character who does not change throughout a work.
   4. Dynamic Character – A character that changes throughout a work
   5. *Protagonist- the leading character, hero, or heroine.
   6. *Antagonist- the character who opposes the protagonist

Plot – The design and ordering of events in a literary work. DO NOT confuse plot with story; story is a
bare timeline-esque summary of the events, plot relates events in reference to character.
    1. Exposition- The introduction of a story
    2. Conflict – The main problem in a story
    3. Complication (rising action)- the problem in a story is introduced
    4. Climax- the most exciting part of a story
    5. Falling Action- the events after the climax
    6. Conclusion (resolution, denouement)- the end- wraps up loose ends—“tying the knot”

Red Herring – An attempt made by the author to throw your predictions of what’s to come off track;
this can come in the way of wrong clues.

Cliffhanger – An abrupt ending at an exciting and often dangerous time in the plot. Its purpose is to
keep the reader reading. It is usually found at the end of a chapter, but occasionally a book will end
this way. (Not all open endings are suspenseful enough to be called cliffhangers.) Recently, books in
some science fiction and fantasy series have ended in a cliffhanger, which encourages the reading
of the other books in the series.
Foreshadowing – The hint or clue in a narrative of future developments/outcomes.

Conflict – The struggle within OR between characters that is often the basis of a plot. Conflict may be
external between characters or characters and society, or internal between ideas or within an
    1. Internal- Conflict that happens inside a character
           a. Character vs. self
    2. External- Conflict that happens between a character & an outside force
           a. Character vs. character
           b. Character vs. society
           c. Character vs. technology
           d. Character vs. nature
           e. Character vs. supernatural

Theme – A significant idea in a literary text. Theme is also a central idea or concept illustrated in a
literary work. We may think of theme in a few different ways:
     1. Main idea (of a passage)
     2. Lesson/moral (of a fable)
     3. Point an author makes, intentionally or unintentionally (longer work)

Irony – Implying something very different than what is said. Irony is a general term for the contrast
between appearance and reality; a contrast between what appears to be true and what is true.
    1. Verbal Irony – Occurs when a character says one thing and means something else; this is
       usually a source of humor for the audience (especially in a play).
    2. Dramatic Irony – Occurs when the reader knows something a character does not know; the
       character is unaware of how things he or she does and says contrast with the truth.
    3. Irony of Circumstance/Situation – Occurs when a character's actions bring unexpected results;
       events turn out opposite of what is expected or what should be.

Flashback – Occurs when the author narrates an event that took place before the current time of
the story. Flashback is more than memory; it is as if the character is reliving the event or experience as
if it is happening to him/her in the present. The opposite effect is called a flash forward.

Symbol – A person, place, object or event that stands for an abstract idea or condition; a tangible
object that represents an intangible concept.

Language Use – The way the writer uses words to cause a reaction in the reader; may include (but is
not limited to) the following: alliteration, onomatopoeia, puns, clichés, idioms, personification,
repetition, imagery, sensory language, simile, metaphor, slang, dialogue and dialect.

Structure – The design of the narrative. The plot is the series of events and actions that occur in a
story. The structure of the plot is the method or sequence in which incidents in a narrative are
organized/presented to the audience/readers.
    1. Chronological order – Beginning, middle, end
    2. Epistolary novel – A plot that is delivered through a correspondence of letters, diary/journal
    3. Fragmented narrative – This could be when an author goes back and forth between multiple
        realities, or when the time sequence is reordered in a fashion that is not chronological

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