Elements of Fiction

Essential Questions for this Unit:
How does discussion deepen my understanding of reading?
How do author’s create meaning?
How do writers create engaging stories?

  1. Informational Writing Rubric 2015
  2. Template for informational writing about fiction How does setting affect characters or plot?
  3. Cause-effect graphic organizer.
  4. Story Structure
  5.  Connecting Ideas With Signal Words (transitions)
  6. Indenting for quotes
  7. Big Grabber Beginnings: Writing The Lead
  8. Sentence starters to expand ideas
  9. Conflict Map
  10. Target graphic organizer

The world of narration according to Eleanor Catton


We will be reading short stories examining the elements of fiction and authors’ use of craft in order. We will be discussing these with classmates, and learn ways to write responses to literature as a way of exploring and explaining the meaning we see in  the various pieces. We will apply the elements of fiction, and various author’s craft techniques to create our own stories, and share them with others.

Elements of Fiction

An online interactive review of the elements of fiction.
Crossword puzzle, Elements of Fiction Crossword.

Elements of Fiction handout
Literary Terms for this unit.
Links to a list of literary terms #1, #2

Practice Quiz Elements of Fiction for “All Summer in a Day”: HERE

See here for types of genres and their characteristics.

1. Wide awake reading: Go inside the story. Notice important details and inferences.
2. Going deeper into looking closely at a text and making notes.
3. Character: Flat vs. round or dynamic characters. Methods of characterization. Character motivation. 
4. Extending thoughts, explaining thinking: Using graphic organizers. laddercluster, book critique, character analysis, story map, story stem. Use of dialog.  Character’s thoughts and feelings. Socratic seminar. Creating questions.
5. Theme: Using questions to develop theme.  Characters at different points in the story. Character and different plot elements (how different plot elements influence each other.) Thinking across the story. Unity of story. Symbolism.
6. Point of View: Using evidence and rereading. Connection of text to self. Review symbolism.


Watch a video review of the elements of fiction here.

SETTING. How do the time and location of a story affect the plot characters?

Five elements of setting:
1)  Place – geographical location.  Where is the action of the story occurring?
2)  Time – When is the story taking place? (historical/ present/ futuristic, time of day, year, etc.)
3)  Weather conditions – Is it snowing, raining, sunny, etc?
4)  Social conditions – What are characters every day lives like? Does the story contain local color (writing that focuses on the speech,  dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place)?
5)  Mood or atmosphere – What feeling is created at the beginning of the story?  Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?


The narrator telling the story defines the story’s point of view. Consider how reliable and perceptive a character is as you interpret a characters’ actions. Be aware of the author’s characterization techniques and your own life experiences, values, and background knowledge in order to determine how trustworthy the narrator is.

  1. first person– a character in the story tells the story. (I)
  2. third person– the narrator is outside the story. (he, she)

omniscient narration– the narrator can see into every character’s thoughts and feelings. (He/she is used.)
limited omniscient– the narrator can see through only one character’s view.
objective (camera)– the narrator observes from a distance and can see in no one’s thoughts and feelings. (He/she is used.)


Additional information about characters and characterization in fiction is located here.

Verisimilitude. We can identify with the character and believe that they could actually exist.  The word means “very similar to the truth.” Verisimilitude is what makes the character believable.What are characters like?  Character traits-list.

1. Internal and external personality qualities. Round characters have both internal and external personality qualities. Adjectives can help you describe the character’s traits.

2. Type – Flat (static) or Round (dynamic)
Flat characters stay the same throughout the story.
Round characters change, usually as a result of the antagonist or a thing in the story that the protagonist struggles with or against.

3. Protagonist / Antagonist 
Protagonist, the central or main character (hero)
Antagonist, the character or thing that is against or creating conflict with the protagonist

4. Motivation, what compels the protagonist / antagonist during the story? What does the character want or want to do?

Plot – Plot is the order in which the author has chosen to convey the events of a literary work. Plot is what takes place–what the story is about.

PLOT ELEMENTS:  All narrative works of fiction have these elements.

Exposition: setting (time, place, weather, social conditions, mood), characters + identify the protagonist.

Rising Action (complication):

  • sequenced events adding / creating suspense
  • Engages reader


  • Highest point of excitement
  • Conflict decided one way or the other
  • Leads into resolution
  • [False climax can lead reader and protagonist leads the readers and protagonist to think that the resolution has been reached.]

Falling Action: the action after the climax before the very end. Follows the climax.


  • Conflict is resolved.
  • There can be several types of endings: happy, indeterminate, determinate
  • Should seem to occur naturally from the story


  • In a good story there are both internal and external conflicts
    Internal – person against self / destiny / emotions
    External – person against another character / nature / culture and or society

Qualities of a Good Plot:
1. Suspenseful: using foreshadowing and flashback
2. Plausibility: resolution occurs naturally from events in the story
3. Artistic unity: all plot events and the ending make sense, all parts are important to the ending and lead naturally to the ending, and lead to the theme and why the story took place.

Theme is why the story takes place. What happens and how the reader feels about what happens = theme. Theme is the story’s message, an opinion about a subject, a generalization made through observation and experience. Here’s a video defining and exploring theme.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s