Elements of a Short Story

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Elements of a Short Story
Plot
Irony
P.O.V.
Setting
Character
Conflict
Subject
Theme
Bare Bones of the Plot
 Exposition

The basic situation

You meet the characters and are introduced to the
conflict.
 Example: The Three Little Pigs: At the beginning of the story
you learn about the three pigs and you realize that the Big,
Bad, Wolf keeps blowing their houses down.
Plot (cont.)
 Complication

A complication occurs when a main character
tries to solve the conflict but another thing
happens to complicate it.

Example: The Three Little Pigs:
 The two pigs build houses, but the Big Bad Wolf blows them
down.
Plot (cont.)
 Climax

The high point of the story, when all emotions of
both the character and the reader are involved.

Example: The Three Little Pigs
 When all three pigs are inside the brick house and the Big Bad
Wolf tries to blow them down.
Plot (cont.)
 Resolution


Generally Immediately follows the climax
The conflict is resolved and readers find out
what the characters do next or how they have
changed.

Example: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
 Snow White wakes up and she lives happily ever after with
the prince.
Irony
 Situational Irony:

When the reader expects one thing to happen and
something else happens instead
 Verbal Irony:

Sarcasm
 Dramatic Irony:

When the reader knows something that the
characters do not
Point of View
 1st Person: Narrator uses “I”
 2nd Person: “You”

Short stories or professional writing should
NEVER be written in 2nd person!!
rd
3
Person:
The narrator is not in the story, uses he or she
 Limited

The reader is limited to
one person’s
perspective

Example: Cinderella is
told only through her
point of view
 Omniscient

There are multiple
people’s perspectives

Example: At the
beginning of Goldilocks
and the Three Bears the
story is told through
Goldilocks point of view;
Later, the reader gets to
view the story through
the point of view of the
three bears.
Setting
(think both little and big picture)
 When a story takes place

A Year


A Season


WWII, French Revolution
A Country


Morning, Late Night
An era or during a specific
event


Fall, Spring, Summer
Time of Day


1940, 1500’s, 1997
 Where a story takes
place
A City


Germany, USA, England
Los Angeles, Seattle
A Place

In a park, at a baseball
game, in the kitchen
5 Methods of Creating
Character
Actions (what a character does)
E. Scrooge does not let Bob have
Christmas Eve off of work
Speech (what a character says)
“Bah Humbug!” “I hate Christmas!”
Private Thoughts
Detests Christmas, thinks it is
useless to take holidays off of work
What other characters think of them
Workers do not respect them, family
member speak badly about him.
Appearance
Tall, wears a cloak, gray hair
Conflict
 External Conflict:



Man vs. Man
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Nature
 Internal Conflict:

Man vs. Self
Subject vs. Theme
 Subject: A topic


Usually one or two
words
Examples:





Love
Fear
Family
Perseverance
Growing Up
 Theme: a main idea,
what the author is
trying to say, the moral


Always is a sentence or
longer
From subject, build a
theme

Example: Love is more
important than material
possessions
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