Literary Elements of Fiction Review

fiction
a story (or narrative) created in an author’s mind.

plot
the sequence of actions in a story; the beginning, middle, and end.

setting
time and place where story is set.

dynamic characters
a character that undergoes an important change in the story

static characters
a character that doesn’t change in a significant way.

protagonist
the chief character (or hero); the character that the reader usually wants to succeed.

antagonist
the character (or force) that stands in the way of the protagonist reaching his/her goal.

stereotype
a character (or group of characters) that follow a predictable pattern of behavior

exposition
the beginning of the story; this is where the author reveals background information on the setting, characters, and situation.

rising action
begins when conflict is established between protagonist and antagonist; ends with climax.

suspense
the “excitement” or “anxious uncertainty” the author creates about what is going to happen to the characters.

foreshadowing
any hints or clues the author provides about what will happen later in the story.

conflict
the basic problem; this can be person vs. person (protagonist vs. antagonist), person vs. self, person vs. society (the law, school, the accepted way of doing things); person vs. nature, person vs. fate.

person vs. fate
when a person has to battle something that appears to be an uncontrollable problem; this can be the result of a strange, or unbelievable coincidence.

turning point
a situation or event in the story where the character might change or come to an important realization.

climax
the turning point; the moment of highest intensity; this is usually the moment where the main character finally solves the conflict.

resolution
the part of the story where the problem is solved; the “close” to the story.

novella
a short work of fiction (usually 50-125 pages)

point of view
the “outlook” or perspective from which the story is told.

3rd person omniscient narrator
“all knowing” narrator; the writer explains the actions, thoughts, and feelings of all the characters.

1st person narrator
one character tells the story from the “I” point of view –usually a main character.

imagery
words or phrases that create a picture in a reader’s mind.

metaphor
a comparison between two unrelated things to suggest that they are similar; does not use “like” or “as”.

simile
a comparison between two unrelated things to suggest that they are similar; does use “like” or “as”.

symbol
a word or image that suggests something other than what it really is. (“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”…the roads might symbolize “decisions” in life).

theme
the “big idea” or “big message” that is communicated through the events in the story.