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Elements and Structure of Fiction

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theme
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
characterization
techniques an author uses to show the reader a character's personality, history, values, physical attributes, etc.
antagonist
a character who works against the main character/hero
protagonist
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
plot
the action or sequence of events in a story; short stories have one plot line, novels have many
exposition
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
climax
the turning point in a story
falling action
action that occurs after the climax; this is when conflicts are resolved
resolution
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
setting
the time and place where a story occurs; also includes the cultural, emotional, and social environments
conflict
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