Story Terms Plot and Conflict Setting Characters Point of View Theme
Plot Definition: what happens and how it happens in a narrative.
Structure of a Short Story Exposition - establishes characters and setting. Inciting Incident - propels plot forward; usually introduces primary conflict. Rising Action - events that complicate or intensify the central conflict. Climax - moment of highest interest or emotional involvement in the story. Falling Action - logical result of the climax. Resolution - final outcome of the story.
Climax—emotional high point of the story Resolution—outcome of conflict Exposition—introduction of characters and conflict Rising action—events leading to the climax Exposition Resolution Rising action Climax Writing a Short Story
Conflict Definition: struggle between opposing forces. Plot must contain conflict(s). Conflicts can be internal or external: –External conflict: conflict with an outside force (person, group, animal, nature, fate, or the supernatural). –Internal conflict: conflict against oneself.
Conflict Examples Character versus character Hector and his best friend James are both trying for first prize in the school talent show. Character versus environment Miguel gets caught in a blizzard and must find ways to stay warm until help arrives. Character versus situation Cynthia battles city hall to start a meal delivery service for seniors in her community.
Plot Techniques Atmosphere - overall effect of the setting and descriptive details to create an emotional response in the reader. Suspense - excitement or tension. Foreshadowing - hints about what will happen later on in the story. Flashback - interrupts the normal sequence of events to tell about something that happened in the past. Surprise Ending - conclusion that the reader does not expect (use of irony). Symbol - something concrete that represents something abstract.
Setting Definition: time, place, and society within which the action occurs. –Time: day, era, history, time of life, etc… –Place: physical environment, weather, scenery, buildings, rooms, furniture, etc… –Society: companions, dialects, customs, occupation, way of life, morality, psychological conditions, etc...
Function of a Setting Creates mood and atmosphere. Makes action seem more real. Can be the source of conflict or struggle. Can symbolize an idea.
Setting a student warming up on trumpet; microphone feedback; muffled conversations SoundsSmells faint hint of wood cleaner; musty clothing and mothballs; a girl’s strong perfume; hairspray Sights a jam-packed auditorium, students pacing backstage, red velvet stage curtains Use sensory details—words describing sights, sounds, and smells—to help readers picture the setting.
Character Types of Characters: –Major characters Protagonist Antagonist –Minor characters Stock character Foil character –Round characters –Flat characters –Dynamic characters (undergo change) –Static characters (stay the same)
Characterization Definition: how an author reveals what a character is like and how they change throughout the story. Two methods: –Direct presentation - the author tells the reader about the character directly. –Indirect presentation - the author reveals a character through a physical description, their thoughts and actions, as well as the thoughts and actions of other characters in the story. (Show, don’t tell)
Direct Characterization …and I don’t play the dozens or believe in standing around with somebody in my face doing a lot of talking. I much rather just knock you down and take my chances even if I’m a little girl with skinny arms and a squeak voice, which is how I got the name Squeaky. »From “Raymond’s Run” by T. Bambara
Indirect Characterization The old man bowed to all of us in the room. Then he removed his hat and gloves, slowly and carefully. Chaplin once did that in a picture, in a bank - he was the janitor. »From “Gentleman of Rio en Medio” by J. Sedillo
Writing Exercise – Show, Don’t Tell T. S. Eliot, coined the phrase "objective correlative" to designate what he believed was the most important element in writing: Rendering the description of an object so that the emotional state of the character from whose point of view we receive the description is revealed WITHOUT ever telling the reader what that emotional state is or what has motivated it.
Writing Exercise – Show, Don’t Tell A middle-age man is waiting at a bus stop. He has just learned that his son has died violently. Describe the setting from the man's point of view WITHOUT telling your reader what has happened. How will the street look to this man? What are the sounds, odours, and colours that this man will notice? What will his clothes feel like? Write a 250 word description.
Types of Character There are two primary types of character: –Flat character - only one or two distinguishing traits; not fully developed –Round character - fully developed character; reader may feel they exist in life.
Round Characters –Physical appearance –Personality –Background / personal history –Motivation –Relationships –Conflict –Do they change?
Point of View Definition: the perspective from which a story is told. Two main types: –First Person - told from perspective of a character in the story. –Third Person - told from a removed perspective. Third Person Omniscient = all-knowing perspective. Third Person Limited = access to inner thoughts of some characters, but not all.
Theme A central message, idea, concern, or insight into life that is expressed through a literary work. You can use a variety of story elements to contribute to the development of theme. If your Creative Response is going to be a short story reflecting on one of the major themes of the play, decide what the play is saying about that theme, and try to recreate those ideas within an original narrative.
Planning BEFORE you begin writing, have some idea of where the story is going to go. What events will take place? How will you position those events throughout the story to ensure the structure is balanced and engaging?
Make every word count. Every sentence should have a purpose.
“The first draft of anything is shit” - Ernest Hemingway
Avoid Clichés! The fastest way to make your writing feel juvenile and basic is to use clichés and explain/describe things in predictable ways. Find original and surprising descriptions and phrases.
The Creative Response Demonstrates your understanding of the text. Explores ideas introduced by the text. Must be an original creation.
Creating links between your text and the play Try using symbolism in a similar way to the original text. Example – The Removalists uses its characters to represent different parts of society.
Don’t try to do too much with one story Write a story that is your own exploration of ONE of the central themes in the text. Don’t attempt to write a story that covers all of the themes that are present in the play.
Rubric CriteriaAdvancedEstablishedDemonstratedSome EvidenceLittle Evidence Understanding of purpose and structure of chosen medium Highly developed understanding of purpose and structure of medium chosen Well-developed understanding of purpose and structure of medium chosen Satisfactory understanding of purpose and structure of medium chosen Some understanding of purpose and structure of medium chosen Limited or no understanding of purpose and structure of medium chosen Application of techniques relevant to medium Sophisticated control of the techniques relevant to medium Well-developed control of the techniques relevant to medium Satisfactory control of the techniques relevant to medium Some control of the techniques relevant to medium Little or no control of the techniques relevant to medium Demonstrated links to text/topic Makes sophisticated and insightful links to text/topic Makes substantial links to text/topic Makes some appropriate links to text/topic Makes limited links to text/topic Few or no links to text/topic Imagination, originality of thought and distinctive style Creates with a distinctive style, demonstrating a high degree of imagination, originality and flair Creates with imagination and originality with evidence of a distinctive style Some use of imagination and originality of thought Creates with little evidence of imagination, or originality of thought and/or relies on clichés Lacks imagination and originality and /or relies heavily on clichés with no symbolism evident
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