Five Elements of Fiction: Plot, Setting, Character, Point of View, Theme

I. Plot – How the author arranges events to develop the basic idea; it is the sequence of events in a story or play. The
plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and end. The short story usually has one plot
so it can be read in one sitting. There are five essential parts of plot:

1) Exposition (introduction) – Beginning of the story; characters, background, and setting revealed.

2) Rising Action – Events in the story become complicated; the conflict is revealed. These are events between
the introduction and climax.
Conflict – Essential to plot, opposition ties incidents together and moves the plot. Not merely
limited to arguments, conflict can be any fOfI1)of struggle the main character faces. Within a short
story, there may be only one central struggle, or there may be many minor obstacles within a
dominant struggle. There are two ~ of conflict:

Internal– Struggle within one’s self.
• Character vs. Self – Struggles with own soul, physical limitations, choices, etc.

External – Struggle with a force outside one’s self.
Character vs. Character – Struggles against other people.
Character vs. Nature – Struggles against animals, weather, environment, etc.
Character vs. Society – Struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of others

3) Climax – Turning point of the story. Readers wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved
or not? Consider the climax as a three-fold phenomenon:
• Main character receives new information.
• Main character accepts this information (realizes it but does not necessarily agree with it).
• Main character acts on this information (makes a choice that will determine whether or not objective is met).

4) Falling action – Resolution begins; events and complications start to fall into place. These are the events
between climax and denouement.

5) Resolution (Conclusion) – Final outcome of events in the story. See More



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