Fiction Terms

Fiction Terms - Prose Fiction Terminology Short Stories...

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Prose Fiction Terminology Short Stories Short Story: A fictional tale of a length that is too short to publish in a single volume like a novel. Stories are usually between five and sixty pages: they can be read in a single sitting. Usually, short stories concentrate on relatively few characters and events. The short story is considered to have three elements: plot, characterization and setting - as well as several devices or features. As well, stories contain the following devices: theme, conflict, point of view, suspense, foreshadowing, flashback, deus ex machina and in medias res. Theme is so vital to the short story that some critics prefer to consider it the fourth element, rather than a device or feature. Elements A. Plot : The events of the story or the series of actions that take place in the story are referred to as the plot. Basically, the plot is what happens in the story. Traditionally, it is divided into five parts. 1. Introduction : The reader meets the characters and discovers the setting. Reader interest is aroused here. The conflict that drives the story’s action is discovered at the end of the introduction, with the initiating incident. 2. Rising action : This builds up the story, is the longest part of the story and is a series of steps that lead to the climax. You get more information about conflict and character here. 3. Climax : Here, the reader finds out what happens to the conflict, or how the conflict is resolved. It may not yet be finished, but the reader now has a good understanding of what way it is going to go. 4. Falling action : The plot begins to wrap up in this section of the story, which is usually brief. 5. Denouement/Conclusion : This part follows quickly after the climax and provides the last pieces of information for the reader. Denouement is French for “unknotting”; you may therefore think of denouement as the unknotting or untangling of the plot. Another word for denouement is conclusion. There are four types of denouement or conclusion and they have a variety of names: 1. expository happy (all loose ends are tied up and explained and the ending is happy) 2. expository sad (all loose ends are tied up and explained and the ending is sad) 3. surprise or twist (something happens that the reader does not expect at all) 4. unresolved/indeterminate/cliffhanger (the reader is left with questions and has to, in part, supply the ending him or herself. Some loose ends are left to dangle)
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Plot Diagram : Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid, the story diagram or plot diagram, was invented in 1864 by Gustav Freytag to visually represent the five plot parts and their relationship with one another. Modern stories may or may not tidily fit Freytag’s Pyramid. B. Characterization
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Fiction Terms - Prose Fiction Terminology Short Stories...

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