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Main elements of a short story


the principal character in a work of fiction


the character or force that works against the protagonist in the story

Static character

a character that does not change from the beginning of the story to the end

Dynamic character

A character who changes in some important way as a result of what happens in the story. Change may involve some new knowledge or a different way of behaving or feeling.

Round character

A character who is well developed by the author and who many characteristics

Flat character

A character who is not very well developed; has few identifiable characteristics


The time, place, and environment in which action takes place


The main idea or meaning of a text. Often, this is an insight about human life revealed in a literary work


The emotional atmosphere of a work

What is conflict?

The problem or problems characters face in a literary work; can be mental or physical


The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.


Most exciting moment of the story; turning point


The ending to the story that states the final outcome of the conflict and/or what might lie ahead for the characters in the story.

Rising Action

A series of events that build towards the highest point of interest and add complications to the plot's problems

Falling Action

Events that occur between the climax and the conclusion


The sequence of events in a story

Internal Conflict

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

External Conflict

A problem or struggle between a character and someone or something outside of the character

Point of View

The perspective from which a story is told

First person point of view

This is where the story is told through a main character's eyes. The story is told using 1st person personal pronouns such as I, me, we, or us.

Third person omniscient point of view

The narrator is not a character in the story and is "all knowing" able to reveal the thoughts and feelings of any character and to describe events from the viewpoint of any character

Third person limited point of view

The narrator outside the story sees the world through one character's eyes and reveals only that character's thoughts.


The writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject of a story, toward a character, or toward the audience (the readers).

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