Plot Structure Exposition – introduces the setting, the characters and the basic situation Inciting Incident – introduces the central conflict Rising Action – events leading up to the climax
Climax – high point of interest or suspense Falling Action – events after the climax that lead to the resolution Resolution (Denouement) – general insight or change is conveyed
Setting The setting is the time and place of the action.
Time Time can include not only the historical period – past, present, future – but also a specific year, season or time of day.
Place Place may involve not only the geographical place – a region, country, state, or town – but also the social, economic or cultural environment.
Characters A character is a person or animal that takes part in the action of a literary work.
Protagonist The main character, or protagonist, is the most important character in a story. This character often changes in some important way as a result of the story’s events.
Antagonist An antagonist is the character or force in conflict with the protagonist.
Other Character Classifications Characters are sometimes classified as round or flat, dynamic or static.
Round and Flat Characters A round character shows many different traits – faults as well as virtues. A flat character shows only one trait.
Dynamic and Static Characters A dynamic character develops and grows during the course of the story. A static character does not change.
Characterization Characterization is the act of creating and developing a character.
Direct Characterization In direct characterization, the author directly states a character’s traits.
Indirect Characterization In indirect characterization, an author provides clues about a character by describing what a character looks like, does and says, as well as how other characters react to him/her. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions.
Point of View The writer’s choice of narrator determines the story’s point of view, which directs the type and amount of information the writer reveals.
First Person When a character in the story tells the story, that character is a first person narrator.
First Person This person may be a major character, a minor character, or just a witness. Readers see only what this character sees. The first person narrator may or may not be reliable.
Third Person When a voice outside the story narrates, the story has a third person narrator.
Third Person Omniscient An omniscient, or all-knowing third person narrator can tell readers what any character thinks or feels.
Third Person Limited A limited third person narrator sees the world through one character’s eyes and reveals only that character’s thoughts.
Theme The theme is the central message or insight into life revealed in a literary work.
More Elements Conflict Foreshadowing Mood Irony Symbol
Conflict A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces. Characters in conflict form the basis of short stories, novels, and plays.
External Conflict In an external conflict, the main character struggles against an outside force: Another character Societal standards or expectations Nature
Internal Conflict The character is in conflict with him/herself.
Foreshadowing Foreshadowing is the use of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur. This technique creates suspense, keeping readers wondering what will happen next.
Mood Mood is the feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage. The mood is often suggested by descriptive details.
Irony Irony is the general term for literary techniques that portray differences between appearance and reality, or expectation and result.
Verbal Irony Words suggest the opposite of what is meant
Dramatic Irony There is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be true.
Situational Irony An event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience.
Symbol A symbol is anything that stands for something else. In addition to having it’s own meaning, a symbol also represents abstract ideas.