Simply put, plot is what happens in the story. Some call it the storyline. Simply put, plot is what happens in the story. Some call it the storyline



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Simply put, plot is what happens in the story. Some call it the storyline.

  • Simply put, plot is what happens in the story. Some call it the storyline.

  • When doing an Elements of fiction hand, describe the plot in ten words or less without revealing the plot’s climax or resolution.







It’s the moral or main idea of the story. Themes do not provide any plot developments, are not expressed in a single word, is not the moral or the conflict, and apply to many types of stories in almost any genre.

  • It’s the moral or main idea of the story. Themes do not provide any plot developments, are not expressed in a single word, is not the moral or the conflict, and apply to many types of stories in almost any genre.

  • Can Be expressed in a single sentence

  • Its central idea. It usually contains some insight into the human condition.



Identifying the Theme in Five Steps

  • Identifying the Theme in Five Steps

  • To identify the theme, be sure that you’ve first identified the story’s plot, the way the story uses characterization, and the primary conflict in the story.

  • 1. Summarize the plot by writing a one-sentence description for the exposition, the conflict, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution.

  • 2. Identify the subject of the work.

  • 3. Identify the insight or truth that was learned about the subject.

    • • How did the protagonist change?
    • • What lesson did the protagonist learn from the resolution of the conflict?
  • 4. State how the plot presents the primary insight or truth about the subject.

  • 5. Write one or more generalized, declarative sentences that state what was learned and how it was learned.

  • Theme Litmus Test

  • • Is the theme supported by evidence from the work itself?

  • • Are all the author’s choices of plot, character, conflict, and tone controlled by this theme?





The main character in a story is called the protagonist. She or he is always involved in the main conflict and its resolution.

  • The main character in a story is called the protagonist. She or he is always involved in the main conflict and its resolution.

  • The person opposing the protagonist is called the antagonist.

  • When doing an Elements of Fiction hand, use the methods of characterization (flat, round, dynamic, or static) to describe the protagonists and antagonists in the story.



First Person Point of View: The narrator tells the story and is a character in the story. (Pronouns: I, me, us, we, our, etc.)

  • First Person Point of View: The narrator tells the story and is a character in the story. (Pronouns: I, me, us, we, our, etc.)

  • Third Person Omniscient: The narrator is not a character in the story but can tell you the thoughts and actions of all characters at all times. (Pronouns: he, she, him, her, they, them, etc.)

  • Third Person Limited: The narrator is not a character in the story but can tell you the thoughts and actions of a few key characters at all times. (Pronouns: he, she, him, her, they, them, etc.)



The setting provides us with the when and where the story took place. In addition, the context or historical background in which the story is set provides us with additional plot information.

  • The setting provides us with the when and where the story took place. In addition, the context or historical background in which the story is set provides us with additional plot information.





A character who has one or two sides, representing one or two traits—often a stereotype. Flat characters help move the plot along more quickly because the audience immediately understands what the character is about.

  • A character who has one or two sides, representing one or two traits—often a stereotype. Flat characters help move the plot along more quickly because the audience immediately understands what the character is about.

  • Example: Like a geeky science professor



A character who is complex and has many sides or traits with unpredictable behavior and a fully developed personality. Antagonists are usually a round characterization.

  • A character who is complex and has many sides or traits with unpredictable behavior and a fully developed personality. Antagonists are usually a round characterization.

  • Example: Like The Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)



A character who experiences an essential change in personality or attitude. Protagonists are almost always dynamic.

  • A character who experiences an essential change in personality or attitude. Protagonists are almost always dynamic.

  • Example: Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch



A character who does not change or develop beyond the way in which she or he is first presented.

  • A character who does not change or develop beyond the way in which she or he is first presented.

  • Example: Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.





There are three types of external conflict: character vs. character; character vs. society; and character vs. nature.

  • There are three types of external conflict: character vs. character; character vs. society; and character vs. nature.



The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with others, especially the antagonist.

  • The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with others, especially the antagonist.



The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with society as a whole.

  • The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with society as a whole.



The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with the elements of nature.

  • The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with the elements of nature.



The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with her or his conscience.

  • The protagonist in the story experiences conflict with her or his conscience.







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