elements of a short story or what makes a short story?
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Elements of a Short Elements of a Short StoryStory
What makes a short What makes a short story?story?
All short stories contain:All short stories contain:
CharactersCharacters ThemeTheme Point of ViewPoint of View SettingSetting PlotPlot
CharactersCharacters are the story’s are the story’s actors.actors.
The setting may also be a The setting may also be a character.character.
Characters are classified Characters are classified as:as:
Protagonist or Protagonist or AntagonistAntagonist
Dynamic or Dynamic or StaticStatic
Flat or RoundFlat or Round
ProtagonistProtagonist The protagonist is The protagonist is
usually the first usually the first character introduced character introduced in the story.in the story.
He wants something He wants something and sets out to get it.and sets out to get it.
Neither all good or all Neither all good or all bad.bad.
The character or The character or force that comes force that comes into conflict with into conflict with the protagonist.the protagonist.
Rarely all bad.Rarely all bad.
Do Characters Grow?Do Characters Grow?
DynamicDynamic Usually the Usually the
protagonistprotagonist Makes a change Makes a change
or discovery about or discovery about himselfhimself
Not the same Not the same person at the end person at the end of the storyof the story
Must be a Must be a believable changebelievable change
StaticStatic Character that Character that
essentially essentially remains the same remains the same from the from the beginning to the beginning to the endend
Adds stabilityAdds stability
Characters and their Characters and their PersonalityPersonality
Flat CharacterFlat Character Only has one or Only has one or
two personality two personality traitstraits
Is easily Is easily describeddescribed
EX: Stock EX: Stock Characters—A Characters—A character that fits character that fits a our a our expectationsexpectations
Round CharacterRound Character Many sides to his Many sides to his
personalitypersonality Many times is Many times is
the protagonist the protagonist as we see a as we see a change in the change in the character from character from the start to the the start to the end.end.
Methods to Develop Methods to Develop CharactersCharacters
Direct Direct CharacterizationCharacterization Author tells us Author tells us
what the what the character is likecharacter is like TimidTimid OutgoingOutgoing
Indirect Indirect CharacterizationCharacterization The readers use clues The readers use clues
to determine the to determine the characters personalitycharacters personality
AppearanceAppearance DialectDialect Sentence StructureSentence Structure Private ThoughtsPrivate Thoughts MotivesMotives Effects on othersEffects on others ActionsActions
Definition: An idea or insight about Definition: An idea or insight about human life and human nature that human life and human nature that gives gives meaningmeaning to the story to the story
Theme is not the plot or the subjectTheme is not the plot or the subject—it is the idea.—it is the idea.
It lets us, as the reader, see how It lets us, as the reader, see how others view life.others view life.
Ways to determine a Ways to determine a story’s story’s THEMETHEME
1.1. Ask “What does this story reveal?” Ask “What does this story reveal?” Remember, the theme is not the same as Remember, the theme is not the same as a moral.a moral.
2.2. Ask “How has the protagonist changed?” Ask “How has the protagonist changed?” This generally shows what the author This generally shows what the author wishes to reveal about life.wishes to reveal about life.
3. 3. Consider the title of the story. It may Consider the title of the story. It may contain hints to the theme.contain hints to the theme.
4.4. A theme must be expressed as a A theme must be expressed as a generalization about life or human nature.generalization about life or human nature.
5.5. A theme makes a statement A theme makes a statement about the subject of the story. about the subject of the story. It must be written in at least It must be written in at least one complete sentence.one complete sentence.
6.6. However, be careful to avoid However, be careful to avoid making a universal statement making a universal statement (all, every, some, many, or (all, every, some, many, or no.)no.)
7.7. The theme must pertain to The theme must pertain to the entire story.the entire story.
8.8. Each reader may come up Each reader may come up with a completely different with a completely different theme.theme.
Point of ViewPoint of View
The vantage point The vantage point from which the from which the story is told.story is told. OmniscientOmniscient First-PersonFirst-Person Limited Third Limited Third
““All knowing”All knowing” Knows everything that is happening in the Knows everything that is happening in the
storystory Knows how every character thinks and feelsKnows how every character thinks and feels Storyteller is outside the story, but may Storyteller is outside the story, but may
comment on the meaning of the story or comment on the meaning of the story or make asides about the characters or eventsmake asides about the characters or events
““I”I” The character participates in the storyThe character participates in the story Draws the reader into the actionDraws the reader into the action The reader only sees what the character The reader only sees what the character
(narrator) wants to see(narrator) wants to see Remember though the narrator might Remember though the narrator might
not be objectivenot be objective Most effective way to engage the readerMost effective way to engage the reader
Limited Third PersonLimited Third Person
Outside observer tell the storyOutside observer tell the story Tells the story from the vantage Tells the story from the vantage
point of one characterpoint of one character Never used the pronoun “I”Never used the pronoun “I” Pay attention to how much detail is Pay attention to how much detail is
revealed about each character to revealed about each character to determine omniscient or third determine omniscient or third personperson
When and where When and where the story takes the story takes placeplace
Creates Creates atmosphereatmosphere—feeling associated —feeling associated with a time and with a time and placeplace
VerisimilitudeVerisimilitude—a —a feeling of feeling of believabilitybelievability
Purpose of a SettingPurpose of a Setting
A background for actionA background for action As the antagonist (Man v. Nature)As the antagonist (Man v. Nature) Creates appropriate atmosphereCreates appropriate atmosphere Reveals character identities Reveals character identities
(indirect)(indirect) Reinforces themesReinforces themes
The framework of a storyThe framework of a story The arrangement of related events The arrangement of related events
that makes the story “stick” that makes the story “stick” togethertogether
1. Exposition 4. Falling Action
2. Rising Action 5. Resolution
3. Climax (Denouement)
Presents the characters and the Presents the characters and the settingsetting
The setting may be used as a The setting may be used as a charactercharacter
Sets the tone for the storySets the tone for the story Tone is the attitude the author takes Tone is the attitude the author takes
toward a subject or charactertoward a subject or character
Rising ActionRising Action
The complication is introduced hereThe complication is introduced here Types of ConflictTypes of Conflict
Internal (Man v. Himself)Internal (Man v. Himself) ExternalExternal
– Man V. PersonMan V. Person– Man v. NatureMan v. Nature– Man v. MachineMan v. Machine– Man v. SocietyMan v. Society– Man v. SupernaturalMan v. Supernatural
The most tense or exciting part of The most tense or exciting part of the storythe story
When something happens that When something happens that decides the outcome of the story—decides the outcome of the story—the conflict is addressedthe conflict is addressed
Falling ActionFalling Action
Events, that are the result of the Events, that are the result of the climax, are put into playclimax, are put into play
Characters deal with the Characters deal with the consequences of the climaxconsequences of the climax
Resolution (Denouement)Resolution (Denouement)
The problem (conflict) in the story The problem (conflict) in the story are resolvedare resolved
The story is closed…or is it?The story is closed…or is it?