Answers the question "What Happens?" in a story. It is the (deliberately arranged) sequence of events in a short story or novel.
First stage of a plot, where the author presents the information about characters or setting that a reader or viewer will need to understand the subsequent action
Struggle between opposing forces (protagonist and antagonist) in a work of literature.
Stage in a story's plot during which the action builds in intensity.
Point of greatest tension or importance, where the decisive action of a play or story takes place. Also referred to as crisis.
Stage in a story's plot during which the intensity of the climax subsides.
Also called the denouement, this is the final stage in the plot of a drama or work of fiction. Here the action comes to an end, and remaining loose ends are tied up.
Departure from chronological order that presents an event or situation that occurred before the time in which the story's action takes place.
in media res
Latin phrase describin g works that begin in the middle of the action in order to catch a reader's attention.
Principal character of a drama or a work of fiction; the hero.
Character who is in conflict with or opposition to the protagonist; the villain. Sometimes a force or situation (war or poverty) rather than a person.
Well developed characters that are closely involved in the action and responsive to it.
Static, stereotypical characters, or characters operating as foils for the protagonist.
Characters that grow and change in the course of the action.
Characters that remain unchanged throughout the course of the action.
Those characters who act as a counterpoint to another character, usually the protagonist. Their qualities, physical and/or psychological, and behavior explain other characters by providing contrast. Assistants and sidekicks are examples.
Five Basic Means of Portraying Characters
Appearance, Speech, What Others Say, What Characters Do, Character's Names
Background against which the action of a work takes place; the historical time, locale, season, time of day, weather, and so on.
surroundings, especially of a social or cultural nature
A subjective narrator, often the protagonist, who tells the story as he/she experienced it, as it affected him/her, as it pleased or pained the character.
A typically objective narrator who is not a character but a watcher with a voice and vantage point created by the author.
A narrator who knows only what the characters say and do.
All-knowing narrator; knows what characters think and feel as well as what they say and do. Provides insight and understanding.
How an author selects and arranges words to express ideas and, ultimately, theme. Manner of writing.
Attitude of the speaker or author of a work toward the subject itself or the audience, as determined by the word choice and arrangement of the piece.
Atmosphere created by the elements of a literary work (setting, characterization imagery, tone, and so on). The feeling that a story arouses for readers.
Answers the questions, "What is this story really about?, What does the story really mean?"
Central or dominant idea of a piece of literature, made concrete by the details and emphasis in the work itself.
A literary device that uses contradictory statements or situations to reveal a reality different from what appears to be true.
A technique by which a writer deliberately suggests two or more different, and sometimes conflicting, meanings in a work.
A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.