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The series of related events that make up a story or drama. The underlying structure of a story. Is constructed, composed, and artistic; not a mere sequence of events. Purposes are to convey meaning and provide an enjoyable or moving reading experience.


A struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions

External Conflict

A character struggles against some outside force: another character, society as a whole, or some natural force

Internal Conflict

A struggle between opposing needs, desires, or emotions within a single character


Background information on characters and events necessary for understanding the story

Rising Action

Intensify the conflict and create suspense

Technical Climax

Turning point of the plot, outcome is determined, and the protagonist often changes or has an oppurtunity to change but does not

Falling Action

Action that takes place after the climatic scene


All the problems or mysteries of the plot are unraveled

Dramatic Climax

The point of greatest interest or intensity in the story. This type of climax is not related to plot structure

Plotless Short Story

In some modern fiction, plot has a relatively minor function. These works may focus instead on characterization and point of view


The use of clues to hint at what is going to happen later in the plot


The time and place of events in a literary work


The mood or feeling of work in a literature


Fictional personality created by an author.


The process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character


Direct; telling more direct, quicker, less attention getting, factual


Indirect; showing more indirect, less quick, more attention getting. The reader has to exercise her own judgement, putting clues together to figure out what a character is like


Central character the reader focuses on; the person whose conflict sets the plot in motion


The character or force that blocks the protagonist

Round Character

A character who has more dimensions to their personality; he/she is complex and multi faceted like a real person

Flat Character

A character who is not well developed, but rather one dimensional; he/she has only one or two personality traits

Dynamic Character

A character who grows, learns, or changes as a result of the story's action

Static Character

A character who does not change much in the course of the story

Foil Character

A character who is used as a contrast to another character; the contrast emphasizes the differences between the two characters, bringing out the distinctive qualities in each


The reasons that cause the characters to act as they do


The teller of the story

Point of View

The vantage point from which a writer tells a story

First Person

The narrator is a character in the story, uses the pronoun "I"

Second Person

The narrator tells a listener what they have done or said, using the personal pronoun "you"

Third Person Objective or Dramatic

The basic mode of presentng action and dialogue. The narrator reports events in a way that is analogous to a hovering or tracking motion picture camera. An impartial report

Third Person Omniscient

The narrator is outside the story, a god like observer who can tell the reader what all the characters are thinking and feeling, as well as what is happening anywhere in the story

Limited Third Person

The narrator is outside the story, but tells the story from the vantage point of only one character; the narrator can enter the mind of this chosen character but cannot tell what any other characters are thinking except by observation


The central idea or insight of a work of literature; most themes are implied rather than directly stated


The attitude a writer takes toward the reader, a subject, or a character; tone is conveyed through the writer's choice of words and details


A person, place, thing, or event that stands for both itself and for something beyond itself


A writer's word choice


The arrangement; the ordering, grouping, and placement of words within a phrase, clause, or sentence


A contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality

Dramatic Irony

When the reader or audience knows something important that a character in a story or drama does not know

Situational Irony

What actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate

Verbal Irony

When a speaker says one thing but means the opposite


A play on the multiple meanings of a word, or two words that sound alike but have different meanings

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