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Short Story Elements. What is a short story?. A brief, imaginative narrative containing few characters, simple plot, conflict, and suspense which leads to a climax and a swift conclusion. Can be read in one sitting. THE 4 ELEMENTS OF THE SHORT STORY. PLOT SETTING CHARACTER THEME. #1. PLOT.

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What is a short story
What is a short story?

  • A brief, imaginative narrative containing few characters, simple plot, conflict, and suspense which leads to a climax and a swift conclusion.

  • Can be read in one sitting


The 4 elements of the short story
THE 4 ELEMENTS OF THE SHORT STORY

  • PLOT

  • SETTING

  • CHARACTER

  • THEME


1 plot
#1. PLOT

The chain of events in a story.

Consists of 6 main ingredients:

  • Introduction/Exposition

  • Inciting incident

  • Rising action

  • Climax

  • Falling Action

  • Resolution


Plot graph
PLOT GRAPH

An excellent way to map out a story’s plot


Introduction
Introduction

Introduces the reader to:

  • Setting

  • Basic situation

  • Characters involved

  • Narrative Hook: question or statement that grabs the reader’s attention


Inciting incident
Inciting Incident

  • The first major action in the story that sets the story in motion (gets the ball rolling).


Rising action
Rising Action

Incidents which carry the plot along. It often

includes the following:

  • Foreshadowing

  • Flashback

  • Conflict

  • Suspense


Foreshadowing
FORESHADOWING

  • A technique for hinting at events that may occur later in the plot.


Flashback
FLASHBACK

  • The insertion of an earlier event into the time order of a narrative.


Conflict
Conflict

  • It is what prevents the main character from getting what he or she wants

  • The plot is driven by climax and it is THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE OF THE STORY

  • There are two types of conflicts: Internal and External


Internal conflict person vs self
Internal Conflict PERSON VS. SELF


External conflict person vs person
External ConflictPERSON VS. PERSON


External conflict person vs society
External ConflictPERSON VS. SOCIETY


External conflict person vs the environment
External ConflictPERSON VS.THE ENVIRONMENT


External conflict person vs fate
External ConflictPERSON VS. FATE


External conflict person vs technology
External ConflictPERSON VS. TECHNOLOGY


External conflict person vs the supernatural
External ConflictPERSON VS. THE SUPERNATURAL


Suspense
SUSPENSE

  • The feeling of excitement and curiosity that keeps the reader turning the pages; created by making the readers wonder how the conflict will be resolved


Climax
CLIMAX

  • The highest point of interest in the story when the character(s) solves his/her struggles

  • Usually the point of highest emotion

  • The climax can be SUBJECTIVE (there may be different answers, so you must prove your choice)


Falling action
FALLING ACTION

  • The character completes the action of his/her decision


The resolution
THE RESOLUTION

  • The final workings of a story’s conflict

  • All of the loose ends are tied up (usually)

  • Narrative Twist: a surprise ending


2 setting
#2. SETTING

  • The time (time of day, season, present, past, future) and the location (country, planet, town, buildings, PLUS a description of the surroundings) where the action occurs

  • Helps to create the mood and atmosphere of the text


Atmosphere
ATMOSPHERE

  • The feeling that the setting evokes (i.e. mysterious, happy, eerie)


MOOD

  • The author’s emotional attitude toward the subject matter (i.e. excitement, nostalgia)

  • NOT the mood of the characters


3 characters
#3. CHARACTERs

  • Any personalities who are involved in the plot of the story (people, animals, fantasy characters)

  • Usually less than 6 in a short story


Protagonist
PROTAGONIST

  • Usually the “good guy” or hero in the story

  • The main character that we follow

  • The character that strives to solve the conflict


Antagonist
ANTAGONIST

  • The “bad guy” or villain in the story

  • Usually creates conflict for the main character


Secondary characters
SECONDARY CHARACTERS

  • Other characters who are necessary to moving the plot along, but may not be involved with the central conflict


Character traits
CHARACTER TRAITS

Physical and personality characteristics that

are revealed through:

  • What the character does

  • What the character says

  • What other characters say or do about the character

  • What the author states directly

  • What the author infers


4 theme
#4. THEME

The central idea about life that the story

highlights; THE MAIN IDEA (universal truths).

The message the author is conveying.

  • Determine the specific conflict

  • Decide what side of the conflict the story represents

  • How is the conflict resolved? Who wins? Who loses?


Theme
THEME

  • Theme is NOT the moral of the story

  • Theme is NOT plot

  • Theme IS the general subject matter of a work of art

  • Theme may contain a message


Theme1
THEME

  • Not all short stories have a theme; some are just for entertainment or fun


Theme or not a theme
THEME OR NOT A THEME?

1) Red Riding Hood is about how you shouldn’t trust strangers

2) Stars Wars is a movie about Luke Skywalker

3) Apocalypse Now is about the insanity of war.

4) This painting is about loneliness

5) That story is about two guys who steal a car

6) Romeo and Juliet is about love

7) Romeo and Juliet is about two families fighting

8) I saw a movie last night about survival

9) Hansel and Gretel is about two children

10) Cinderella is about poetic justice


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