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a message that the author is trying to communicate to the reader about people, about being human, about how people treat each other, or about basic human needs


techniques an author uses to show the reader a character's personality, history, values, physical attributes, etc.


a character who works against the main character/hero


the main character in a story

dynamic character

a character that changes because of what happens to him or her

static character

a character who stays the same throughout the story, who doesn't learn or grow


the action or sequence of events in a story; short stories have one plot line, novels have many


the beginning to a story that provides background information and introduces characters, setting, and conflict

rising action

events in a story that move the plot forward and build toward the climax; rising action involves conflicts and complications


the turning point in a story

falling action

action that occurs after the climax; this is when conflicts are resolved


where the story comes to a satisfying end; the lesson or resolution is further explained

point of view

the identity of the narrative voice

first person point of view

a character, often the protagonist, tells the story

third person point of view

no character narrates the story; can be omniscient (all-knowing) or limited to know only one character's thoughts


the time and place where a story occurs; also includes the cultural, emotional, and social environments


the problem in the story

external conflict

a problem between characters, between a character and nature, or between a character and society

internal conflict

a problem within the main character

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