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The Elements of a Good Story. Plot . Defined as, “ a series of related events, each event connected to the next, like links on a chain. ” Own words:. Bare Bones of a Plot. Exposition. Characters, conflict , and setting are introduced. Complication/Rising Action.

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  • Defined as, “a series of related events, each event connected to the next, like links on a chain.”
  • Own words:
  • Characters, conflict, and setting are introduced
complication rising action
Complication/Rising Action
  • Conflict attempts to be resolved, but more complications ensue
  • Climax: Most exciting, terrifying, or tense moment where our emotional involvement is at its greatest

Falling Action: Any scenes that lead to the end

  • Resolution/Denouement (unraveling the knot): Struggles are over, and we know what is going to happen to the characters.
a good story always has a
A good story always has a
  • Protagonist and Antagonist

The main character A person who actively opposes or acts against the protagonist

setting mood
Setting & Mood
  • Setting is defined as, “The time and place of a story or play.”
    • Setting is established in the exposition of the story.
    • Can help reveal mood of story as well.
  • Mood is defined as, “the story’s effect on the reader.”
    • What mood does the setting of “TMDG” create? Textual support.
  • Defined as “a struggle [in the story].”
  • Two types: internal and external
    • Internal conflict is inside character’s mind.
      • Man vs. Self
    • External conflict is between character and something/someone else
      • Man vs. Nature
      • Man vs. Man
      • Man vs. Machine
      • Man vs. Society
  • Hints or clues that suggest what is to come in the story


what is symbolism
What is symbolism?
  • Symbol- a sign which has further layers of meaning. In other words, a symbol means more than it literally says.
  • Clues for finding symbols:
  • Check the Title
  • 2) Look for repetition of object mentioned in story
  • Symbolism-practice of investing things witha symbolic meaning
point of view
Point of View
  • The vantage point from which a writer tells a story
first person
First Person

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress.

  • One of the characters is telling the story, using the pronouns “I,” “my,” and “me.”
  • Only know what this character knows and observes.
  • Unreliable narrator- Does not always know what is going on in the story or the narrator could be lying or only giving part of the story
third person limited

“Harry sat up and examined the jagged piece on which he had cut himself, seeing nothing but his own bright green eye reflected back at him. Then he placed the fragment on top of that morning’s Daily Prophet…”

  • The narrator zooms in on the thoughts and feelings of just one character
  • We learn about the other characters only through the eyes of this one character.
  • Narrator plays no part in the story
third person omniscient
  • The person telling the story knows everything there is to know about the characters and their problems, including their thoughts
  • Narrator is not in the story at all

Ex.) Charlotte’s Web

third person objective
  • Narrator describes only what can be seen, not what is going on inside the head of the characters
  • Like a reporter recounting a story this point of view should be completely unbiased
three types of irony
Three Types of Irony

1) Situational Irony-describes an event that is not just surprising but actually contrary to what is expected

  • Ex.)
dramatic irony
Dramatic Irony
  • Contrast between what the audience knows and what the characters know
  • Ex.)
verbal irony
Verbal Irony
  • Verbal—contrast between what is said and what is meant
  • Sometimes verbal irony is also sarcasm but not always
  • Ex.)
what is theme

What is Theme?

Defined as the “central idea of the story…not the same as subject.”

Subject is a short phrase.

Theme is a statement.

Own words:

Theme reveals truth about human behavior.


A theme is not a word; it is a sentence.

You don’t have to agree with the theme to identify it.


Money can’t buy happiness.

It is better to die free than live under tyranny.

What is theme?

identifying themes
Identifying Themes

Themesare not explicit (clearly stated).

Themesare implied.

Themes are bigger than the story.

Big World of the Theme.

Applies to the “Real” World.



of the


clues for finding themes
Clues for Finding Themes
  • Symbols
  • Characters
  • Major Conflicts and Relationships between characters or between a character and society
  • Resolution of a story
easy theme finder

Easy Theme Finder





Possible Theme(s):

dynamic character
Dynamic Character

A character who undergoes an important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude


static character
Static Character
  • A character that doesn’t progress or change by the end of the story


  • The process of revealing a personality of a character in a story
  • There are two types: direct and indirect.
direct characterization
Direct Characterization
  • When the writer/author tells you directly what a character is like or what a person’s motives are.
  • Is the character sneaky, cruel, brave, and so on?
indirect characterization
Indirect Characterization
  • When the writer/author shows us a character but allows us to interpret for ourselves the type of person we are meeting.



Effect on other characters



direct or indirect
Direct or Indirect
  • “The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue…”
  • “Oh, but he was a tightfisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!”
  • Characterization is defined as, “the process of revealing a personality of a character in a story.”
  • Own words:
  • Two types:
    • Direct: Author tells reader directly
    • Indirect: Author gives clues and lets reader decide
      • Character’s thoughts
      • Character’s speech
      • Character’s actions
      • Character’s appearance
      • Others’ reaction to the character

Indirect Characterization (Think STEAL)

  • Speech-(What does the character say? How does the character speak?)
  • Thoughts- (What is the character thinking? What are others thinking about the character?)
  • Effect on others toward the character (What is revealed through the character’s effect on other people?)
  • Actions- (What does the character do? How does the character behave?)
  • Looks- (What does the character look like? How does he or she dress?)