Intro to Short Stories

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Introduction to the
Short Story
CLE 3002.8.2 Understand the characteristics of various literary
genres (e.g., poetry, novel, biography, short story, essay, drama).
Definition: What is a
short story?
• A short story is a work of fiction
that focuses on one important event
in the lives of a small number of
central characters and that can
usually be read in one sitting.
Definition: What is a
short story?
• A short story is a work of fiction
that focuses on one important event
in the lives of a small number of
central characters and that can
usually be read in one sitting.
A short story has six
basic elements:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Plot
Setting
Conflict
Character
Point of View
Theme
Plot = the framework of
a story
• Plot is the arrangement of related
events that makes the story hang
together.
• Plot can also be referred to as the
structure of a short story.
Structure concerns how the story is
told.
The plot or structure of a
short story has four basic
parts:
• Exposition: introduces the
characters, setting, and background
situation of the story.
• Exposition can also be called the
Basic Situation of the story.
The plot or structure of a
short story has four basic
parts:
• Complication: introduces
complications and obstacles that
increase the tension of the story
conflict.
The plot or structure of a
short story has four basic
parts:
• Climax: that moment in the story
when tension rises to its highest
point and the conflict comes to a
head.
The plot or structure of a
short story has four basic
parts:
• Resolution: describes how the
conflict is finally resolved and the
story comes to an end.
• Resolution of conflict is also called
the denouement of a story.
Conflict: the “story
problem” that must be
resolved.
• also called the “overall conflict” or
the “central conflict”
4 Kinds of Conflict
•
•
•
•
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Self
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Society
2 Types of Conflict
• External
• Internal
• External = a character
struggles with a force
outside himself or
herself.
• Internal = a character
struggles within his or
her own mind with
emotions, decisions,
etc.
Characters
“In the best stories, characters come
alive. We care about their dreams,
fears, and frustrations, just as if
they were real people in our lives.”
Characters
• Protagonist - ?
• Protagonist – main character / clearly
central to the story with all major
events having some importance to him
or her.
Characters
• Antagonist - ?
• Antagonist – any character who
opposes or struggles against the
protagonist.
• Question: Does the antagonist
always have to be a character (a
person) in the story?
Characters
• Main
• Dynamic
• Static
• Major
• Minor
• Flat
• Round
Characterization: the
process by which authors
communicate their
characters to the readers
• Direct characterization
• Indirect characterization
Point of View – the
perspective from which a
story is told
•
•
•
•
First Person Point of View –
Third Person Omniscient Point of View
Third Person Limited Point of View
Third Person Objective Point of View
First Person PoV
Reader
Narrator
Third Person Omniscient
PoV
Narrator
Reader
Third Person Limited PoV
Narrator
Reader
Third Person Objective
PoV
Narrator
Reader
Theme – the message the
author intends to
communicate by telling the
story
• Can there be more than one theme
found in a short story?
• A story’s themes are often universal
truth’s, which are suggested by the
specifics of a story.
Literary Elements used in
short stories
• Foreshadowing – ?
• Foreshadowing – the use of clues
that tell the reader what is going to
happen as the story unfolds.
– Foreshadowing is often used as a device by which
the writer uses to arouse the reader’s interest
and increase suspense.
Suspense
• Suspense - ?
• Suspense – the uncertainty or
anxiety that a reader feels about
what is going to happen next in a
story.
Suspense – a question?
• Why do writers use suspense in short
stories?
• Answer: to hold the reader’s
interest
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