The Elements of Fiction

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1 The Elements of Fiction

2 Fiction Where do stories come from? Some are whispered in the glow of a campfire. Others are discovered in a book. Wherever you find them, all stories begin in someone's imagination. Stories that come from a writer s imagination are called fiction. Two types of fiction are short stories and novels. Both contain the elements of plot, character, setting, and theme.

3 Fiction Cont Historical Fiction-A fictional story based on actual events or on real people which includes invented elements such as additional characters or dialogue. The purpose of fiction is to entertain, but it can also provide the reader with a deeper understanding of life.

4 Setting The writer s descriptions help readers picture the setting in their minds. Setting can help determine what happens to the characters and how they respond to problems. The setting of a story is the time and place in which the action of the story happens. The time may be the past, present, or future. It can also be daytime or nighttime; or any season of the year. The events of the story may unfold in a real or imaginary place.

5 Character The characters in a story are the people, animals, or imaginary creatures who take part in the action. Usually a story focuses on the events surrounding one character-the main character. Other characters-minor characters- interact with the main character and help move the story along. Characters are revealed by their traits, or qualities.

6 What is Conflict? A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces. There are two main kinds of conflict in stories: internal and external.

7 External Conflict A struggle between a character and an outside force is an external conflict. Characters may face several types of outside forces. The outside force may be another character. It may be the community. The outside force may also be forces of nature. For example, a story might be the main character struggling against the arctic cold.

8 External Conflict Examples: Character vs. Nature (Ice Age) Character vs. Fate/Chance/Destiny (Harry Potter and the pressure of being the chosen one ) Character vs. Character (Po vs Tai Lung) Character vs. Society (Shrek from Shrek )

9 Internal Conflict Internal conflict concerns your main character's self-doubt - his or her dilemma over the best way to achieve goal of the story. A struggle that takes place in a character's mind is called internal conflict. For example, a character may have to decide between right and wrong or between two solutions to a problem. Sometimes, a character must deal with his or her own mixed feelings or emotions.

10 Internal Conflict Man vs. Himself Marlin struggles to open up emotionally. He refuses to let other get close to him after what happened to his wife and kids. Because of this he pushes people away. Woody struggles with the emotional let down that he is no longer Andy s favorite toy.

11 Theme The theme of a story is the main message the writer wishes to share with the reader. This message might be a lesson about life or an insight into human nature. Most themes are not stated directly; the reader must infer them from the details and events of the story. Different readers may find different themes in the same story.

12 Themes cont Themes can be revealed by: Thinking about the meaning of the title of the story. Skimming the story for key phrases and sentences about big ideas such as courage, freedom, or honesty. Examining how the main character changes or noting what he or she learns about life.

13 Plot The sequence of events in a story is called the plot. A plot is usually built around a conflict-a problem or struggle between opposing forces. Although the development of every plot is different, most plots develop in five stages.

14 Exposition Rising Action Climax Falling Action Resolution

15 1. Exposition This 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).

16 2. Rising Action This part of the story begins to develop the conflict(s). A building of interest or suspense occurs.

17 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.

18 4. Falling Action All loose ends of the plot are tied up. The conflict(s) and climax are taken care of.

19 5. Resolution The story comes to a reasonable ending.

20 Application Watch these short video clips and complete a plot diagram

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