Story Elements Characters A dynamic character is one who goes through a personality change due to the events in the story. A static character is one whose personality does not change throughout the story. Round Characters A round character is one whose personality, background, motives, and other features are fully described or explained by the author. In general, main characters are round because many insights are given. Flat Characters A flat character is one who is not fully described but is useful in carrying out some narrative purpose of the author. They tend to be minor characters. Dynamic and Round In most books the main character is both dynamic and round. Round and Static Characters can be round and static. For example, think about the character James Bond. We know a great deal about this character’s personality (round), yet he does not go through an inner personality change from the beginning to the end of the story (static). Often the side-kick in a story is round and static. Dynamic and Flat Characters cannot be dynamic and flat, because in a flat character we do not know enough about them to recognize a change. Dynamic or Static Round or Flat Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Dynamic and Round Dynamic or Static Round or Flat Robin from Batman Static and Round Setting The setting of a story includes the time and place in which the story takes place. Some stories may have more than one setting. First-Person Point of View In the first-person point of view one character tells the story. This character reveals only personal thoughts and feelings of what s/he sees. The writer uses pronouns such as "I“, "me“, “mine”, or "my". Example: I woke up this morning feeling terrific. I hopped out of bed excited to start the new day. I knew that today was the day my big surprise would come. Second-Person Point of View With the second-person point of view the narrator tells the story using the pronoun "you". The character is someone similar to you. Example: You wake up feeling really terrific. Then you hop out of bed excited to start the new day. You know that today is the day that your big surprise will come. This is rarely used in literature. It can be seen in Choose Your Own Adventure books. Third-Person Points of View The third-person point of view is the most commonly used in fiction. When writing in the third-person you will use pronouns such as "he", "she", or "it". Example: Brian woke up feeling terrific. He hopped out of bed excited to start the new day. He knew that today was the day that his big surprise would come. Third Person Objective: Narrator is not in the story and can only report what is seen and heard. Third Person Limited: Narrator is not in the story; can report what is seen and heard; AND can “read” ONE character’s mind and report his/her thoughts and feelings. Third Person Omniscient: Narrator is not in the story; can report what is seen and heard; AND can “read” every characters’ mind and report their thoughts and feelings. Third-Person Point of View Third-person point of view may be written using several variations. In the third-person objective the story is told without describing any character's thoughts, opinions, or feelings. Think of this as seeing what a camera can see. A camera can not see what is going on inside someone’s mind. Third-Person Objective Third-person objective is rarely used except in easy picture books. Example The alarm clock sounded. Brian cut off the clock and jumped out of bed. He had a smile on his face. Third-Person Point of View In the third-person omniscient, the reader knows exactly what is going on inside various characters’ heads in regards to their thoughts and feelings. Rob is Joe is sad. Tim is sneaky. surprised. Pete is in love. Third-Person Omniscient Example from Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen Although Samuel's parents lived in the wilderness, they were not a part of it. They had been raised in towns and had been educated in schools where they'd been taught to read and write and play musical instruments. They moved west when Samuel was a baby, so that they could devote themselves to a quiet life of hard physical work and contemplation. They loved the woods, but they did not understand them. Not like Samuel. (Here the reader knows both the parents’ and Samuel’s feelings.) Third-Person Point of View In third-person limited, the reader knows only one character's mind, either throughout the entire work or in a specific section. The narration is limited to what can be known, seen, thought, or judged from a single character's perspective. Sally wondered what the boys were thinking. Conflict Conflict is the struggle between the opposing forces on which the action in a work of literature depends. In short stories, there is usually one major conflict. In longer stories, there could be several conflicts. Conflict Some forms of conflict include the following: •Person vs. Person •Person vs. Self •Person vs. the Environment/Nature •Person vs. Technology •Person vs. Society (the word person can be used interchangeably with man, eg. Man vs Man) Person vs. Person A person vs. person conflict is between two forms of like beings. Examples From Where the Red Fern Grows Billy and his dogs are attacked by a mountain lion, and they must do everything they can to survive. From Weasel Nathan is captured by Weasel, an Indian fighter. Earlier in the book, Weasel had attacked Nathan's pa, had taken away Pa’s riffle, and had killed the farm animals. Person vs. Self In a person vs. self conflict the main character has a problem within him/herself. Examples From Weasel Nathan spends the winter months struggling with his conscious. Should he go back to Weasel’s cabin to seek revenge or forget about Weasel? Person vs. the Environment In a person vs. the environment conflict a character is struggling against the forces of nature. Example: From Where the Red Fern Grows Little Ann and Old Dan tree a coon in the tallest tree in the river bottoms. From Where the Red Fern Grows Billy enters the championship coon hunt and encounters the snowstorm. Person vs. Technology In a person vs. technology conflict, a character has a problem with robots or machines. Example From Hatchet Brian flying the airplane after the pilot dies. Person vs. Person Person vs. Technology Could also be Person vs. Nature Person vs. Person Person vs. Person Person vs. Self Person vs. Technology Person vs. Person Person vs. Nature Person vs. Nature Person vs. Person Could also be Person vs. Bull Person vs. Nature Person vs. Person Person vs. Nature Person vs. Person Person vs. Self Person vs. Person Person vs. Person Person vs. Nature Plot The plot is the story that is told in a novel, play, or movie. The plot has five components. Plot Structure Components Exposition Inciting Incident Rising Action Climax Falling Action Resolution Denoument Exposition The exposition is the introduction of the story. It contains the setting, introduces the main characters, and gives background information. It is the information needed to understand a story. Inciting Incident The inciting incident is the introduction of conflict. Rising Action The rising action is the portion of the story where a character tries to solve the conflict. This is the longest part of the story. Climax The climax is the tensest moment of the story. It is the turning point in the story that occurs when characters try to resolve the complication. Falling Action The falling action is where the characters begin to apply a solution to the conflict and tie up loose ends. Resolution The resolution is how everything turns out in the story. It is the set of events that bring the story to a close. Denouement The final clarification or resolution of a plot in a play or other work. The point at which the loose ends are “tied up.” Theme The theme is the insight about life or human nature that the writer shares with the reader. It is usually not stated directly, but must be inferred. The theme is the message of a story. Ask yourself this question. What should you learn from the story?