Narrative Structure, Screenwriting, and Movie Shorts Fiction Elements Elements of Narrative Fiction are like the who, what, where, when, and why of a news story. -Characters (who): the people, and/or animals in the story -Setting (where and when): where and when the story takes place -Theme (why): the message about life and human nature the author is trying to convey -Plot (what): the series of events in the story Character The person or people who are responsible for the thoughts and actions within a story, poem, or other piece of literature Characters are extremely important because they are the medium through which a reader interacts with a piece of literature. The different attitudes, mannerisms, and even appearances of characters can greatly influence the other major elements in a literary work, such as theme, setting, and tone. Character There are major characters and minor characters in most literary works – Major: figure prominently in the story, critical – Minor: not critical to the movement of the plot, not central to the story Protagonist: – A protagonist is considered to be the main character or lead figure in a novel, play, story, or poem. – The protagonist may also be referred to as the hero of a work. Antagonist: – Character in a story or poem who deceives, frustrates, or works again the main character, or protagonist in some way. – The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be an person. It could be death, the devil, an illness, or any challenge that prevents the main character from living “happily ever after.“ – In fact, the antagonist could be a character of virtue in a literary work where the protagonist represents evil. Character Characters reveal themselves in four important ways: – Act – Say – Appear – Think How the main character changes from the beginning of the story to the end is a key to the theme of the work. Character Characters reveal themselves in four important ways: – Act – Say - dialogue – Appear – Think How the main character changes from the beginning of the story to the end is a key to the theme of the work. Character Characters reveal themselves with their personality traits: shy, smart, rude, kind, loyal, brave, etc Character reveal themselves with their motives for their actions: hunger, revenge, fear, jealousy, desire for fame, forgiveness Characters can be dynamic (they change) or static ( they say the same) Character Create a character that you might use in a story or screenplay by answering the following questions, then writing a paragraph describing that character. What is his her full name? What does he/she look like? (height, weight, age, skin- eye-hair color) What is their personality like? (shy, brave, nerdy, action oriented, talkative) What is his/her birthday; under what sign of the zodiac was he/she born? Where do he/she live? What is their house, apartment, condominium like? How is it furnished? What type of neighborhood is their house in? What is his/her history, childhood, past? Where did he/she grow up? What is the main problem he/she is facing in their life right now? What is the motivation behind the way that he/she acts? What is it that he/she wants to own, achieve, pursue? Setting Setting: the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs. Settings include the background, atmosphere or environment in which characters live and move, and usually include physical characteristics of the surroundings. Settings enables the reader to better envision how a story unfolds by relating necessary physical details of a piece of literature. A setting may be simple or elaborate, used to create atmosphere, lend credibility or realism, emphasize or accentuate, organize, or even distract the reader. Theme Theme is a story’s central idea. Theme differs from the subject of a story in that the theme is a message about life or human nature that a writer wants to convey. Themes can be directly stated, but more often, readers must infer themes from clues in key story elements, such as: – • the story title – • how characters change and the lessons they learn about life – • conflicts in story action – • words or phrases that express important ideas such as courage or freedom Theme Plot Diagram 3 4 2 1 5 Plot (definition) Plot is the organized pattern or sequence of events that make up a story. Every plot is made up of a series of incidents that are related to one another. 1. Exposition This usually occurs at the beginning of a short story. Here the characters are introduced. We also learn about the setting of the story. Most importantly, we are introduced to the main conflict (main problem). 2. Rising Action This part of the story begins to develop the conflict(s). A building of interest or suspense occurs. 3. Climax This is the turning point of the story. Usually the main character comes face to face with a conflict. The main character will change in some way. 4. Falling Action All loose ends of the plot are tied up. The conflict(s) and climax are taken care of. 5. Resolution The story comes to a reasonable ending. Putting It All Together 1. Exposition Beginning of Story 2. Rising Action Middle of Story 3. Climax 4. Falling Action End of Story 5. Resolution Conflict Most stories are built around a central conflict, or struggle between opposing forces. Usually there is one central conflict in a story. Many stories, however, have more than one struggle. Stories can involve two types of conflict: – • external conflict—A character struggles against an outside force, such as nature, a physical obstacle, or another character. – • internal conflict—The struggle takes place within a character’s mind, often as the character chooses between two courses of action.