Elements of Short Stories
Short Stories Short story- a brief work of fiction intended to be read in a single sitting Elements of a short story- characters, setting, plot, conflict, point of view, theme Plot Characters Setting Conflict
Characters and characterization
Characters- the people or animals who take part in the action Characterization- the act of creating and developing a character Direct characterization- narrator makes direct statements about a character’s personality Indirect characterization- writer shows what a character is like by providing details about what the characters say and do, what other characters say about them, and how other characters respond to them Dialogue- character’s words; helps to move the action along
Setting Setting- the time and place of the story’s action
Characters live and act in a setting. Helps to set the atmosphere or mood.
Plot and plot structure
Plot- the sequence of events in a story Plot structure- the way in which story events are organized Exposition- introduces the characters and their situation Rising action- develops the conflict Climax- the turning point at which the story’s outcome is determined; moment of greatest intensity Falling action- sets up the ending Resolution- conclusion Chronological order- events unfold in time order Flashback- shows events from before
Conflict Conflict- struggle between opposing forces, calls on characters to act and drives the plot Internal conflict- takes place in the character’s mind character vs. self External conflict- takes place between a character and an outside force Character vs. character Character vs. nature
Point of view Point of view- the perspective from which a story is told First-person point of view- story is told from the perspective of a character in the story (I, me, my) Third-person point of view- story is told from the perspective of a narrator outside the story Omniscient third-person narrator- narrator knows everything that happens and reveals what characters feel and think Limited third-person narrator- reveals the thoughts and feelings of a single character
Theme Theme- a central message or insight about life
Stated theme- expressed directly by the author Implied theme- suggested by what happens to the characters Universal theme- message about life that has been expressed throughout time and in different cultures The details of a short story (characters, setting, plot, and conflict) work together to develop the story’s theme. Tips for identifying a story’s theme: Note changes in characters Trace the development of the plot, look at the choices characters had to make, and evaluate the resolution Pay attention to the setting Keep an eye out for irony (what happens is the opposite of what the reader or characters expects to happen)
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