the elements of fiction

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					9 CP1 English                                                                            Elements of Fiction
Mrs. Buono                                                                                          THEME

                                       The Elements of Fiction

In the same way that a painter uses shape, color, perspective and other aspects of visual art to
create a painting, an author uses the elements of his or her genre to create good, long-lasting, and
powerful stories. These elements are:

                Theme         Characterization           Plot        Setting        Style

These aspects of fiction writing are known formally as the elements of fiction. An understanding of
these elements will enhance a reader’s appreciation of any piece of fiction, as well as his or her
ability to share perceptions and opinions with others.

While the list of formal elements may encourage us to divide a story into parts, we must remember
that these elements blend together in a text to create a whole. They are not separate entities in
themselves. However, when one or more element is underdeveloped in a story, the integrity of the
text is lessened.

Theme is…

When discussing literature, a theme is always stated in a complete sentence. Therefore, while
“friendship” may be an important concept in a story, the word itself isn’t specific enough to stand
alone as being a theme. What specific message about friendship is the author trying to get across?
It could be that “Good friends are difficult to find” or “Friends are replaceable, but family is forever”.

Think of a few themes from stories or books you have read. Write them here in complete sentences.

1. _______________________________________________________________________________

2. _______________________________________________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________________________________________

Words to know:

 aspect:                                          genre:

 text:                                            entity:

 integrity:                                       impart:

9 CP1 English                                                                           Elements of Fiction
Mrs. Buono                                                                             CHARACTERIZATION

 Characterization is…

It is crucial to most stories that its characters are relatable. If a reader cannot identify with in some
way with a character, the theme he or she is trying to impart will probably get lost.

Some characters can be identified as playing a certain role in the story. These are…
Protagonist:                                    Antagonist:

Characters can be described in certain terms based on the way the author crafts them.
Round:                                         Flat:

Dynamic:                                                 Static:


In many works of fiction, a character may be crafted in a specific way so that he or she is easily
recognizable and his or her actions and motives are predictable. These characters, while they may
all have unique personalities, are called character archetypes.

archetype: An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype

Some examples of character archetypes are heroes, villains, hopeless romantics, damsels in distress,
etc. Name some examples of specific archetypal characters you have encountered.

1. ___________________________________ 2. ____________________________________

3. ___________________________________ 4. ____________________________________



9 CP1 English                                                                             Elements of Fiction
Mrs. Buono                                                                                  PLOT & SETTING

 Plot is…

                                       Subplot:                 Climax:


    Exposition:                                   Resolution:


 Setting is…

Imagery, a literary device, is a useful technique for relating a story’s setting. Some types are:

visual:                                           auditory:

kinesthetic:                                      olfactory:

gustatory:                                        emotional:

Setting can be revealed in subtle ways in the text. Readers must be on the lookout for clues about setting
revealed in the dialogue and behavior of characters, as well as the description of many aspects of a
society. All aspects of a setting develop the mood of a story, which refers to the feelings experienced by
the characters as well as the reader. Mood can also be explained as the emotional atmosphere.

9 CP1 English                                                                              Elements of Fiction
Mrs. Buono                                                                                             STYLE


 Style is…

Some Literary Devices:
Figurative language:

 Metaphor                                       Sentence structure:

 Simile
                                                 Irony: Irony is an implied discrepancy between what is
 Onomatopoeia                                   said and what is meant.
                                                 Three kinds of irony:
 Allusion                                       1. verbal irony is when an author says one thing and
                                                 means something else.
 Hyperbole                                      2. dramatic irony is when an audience perceives
                                                 something that a character in the literature does not
Foreshadowing:                                   know.
                                                 3. situational irony is a discrepancy between the
                                                 expected result and actual results.


POINT OF VIEW: who tells the story and how it is told

Objective Point of View
With the objective point of view, the writer tells what happens without stating more than can be inferred
from the story's action and dialogue. The narrator never discloses anything about what the characters
think or feel, remaining a detached observer.

Third Person Point of View
Here the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters, but lets us
know exactly how the characters feel. We learn about the characters through this outside voice.

First Person Point of View
In the first person point of view, the narrator does participate in the action of the story. When reading
stories in the first person, we need to realize that what the narrator is recounting might not be the
objective truth. We should question the trustworthiness of the accounting.

Omniscient and Limited Omniscient Points of View
A narrator who knows everything about all the characters is all knowing, or omniscient.

A narrator whose knowledge is limited to one character, either major or minor, has a limited omniscient
point of view.