daytworeadB - ELEMENTS OF FICTION In the same way that a...

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ELEMENTS OF FICTION In the same way that a painter uses shape, color, perspective, and other aspects of visual art to create a painting, a fiction writer uses plot , character , setting , point of view , theme , and various kinds of symbolism and figurative language to create artistic effect in fiction. Knowledge of these elements of fiction is necessary for most critical discussions of fiction. PLOT Plot refers to the series of events that give a story its meaning and effect. In most stories, these events arise out of conflict experienced by the main character. Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. The conflict may come from something external, like a dragon or an overbearing mother, or it may stem from an internal issue, such as jealousy, loss of identity, or overconfidence. Types of conflict are sometimes identified as Human vs. Human , Human vs. Nature , Human vs. Society , and Human vs. Self . Plot structure often functions so that the story begins with exposition which leads to rising action as the character experiences conflict and crisis. This conflict reaches a climax , after which the conflict is resolved, and the falling action leads quickly to the story's end or resolution . CHARACTER In fiction, character refers to the people (or animals, things, etc. presented as people) appearing in a literary work. The story's protagonist is also its main character, and this individual can embody the story's theme. The antagonist is a character that is in opposition to or conflict with the protagonist. The author’s development of a fictional character is known as characterization . Some methods of characterization include: showing the actions of the character and of those reacting to him/her, revealing the thoughts or dialogue of the character, showing the thoughts and dialogue of others in relation to the character, or describing the character’s physical appearance. SETTING Setting , quite simply, is the story’s time and place. Setting includes the following: the geographical location (ex. Philadelphia, Paris, Hong Kong, or the moon), the time period (ex. the Restoration, during the Civil war, today, or 3045), the socio-economic characteristics of the location (ex. Jewish ghettos during WWII, wealthy enclaves in Beverly Hills), the specific building, room, and so forth (ex. a classroom, a bus, a boat, the Empire State Building). Because particular places and times have their own personality or emotional essence, setting is also one of the primary ways that a fiction writer establishes mood , the underlying feeling or atmosphere produced by a story. POINT OF VIEW 1
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Point of view is the perspective from which the story is told. To determine point of view, ask 1) Who is telling the story? 2) How do we know what is happening? In the
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2011 for the course LEARNING L 110 taught by Professor Afrancis during the Spring '11 term at Community College of Philadelphia.

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daytworeadB - ELEMENTS OF FICTION In the same way that a...

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