Story Elements
Some basics that every good story
and/or book must have ….
The time and place of the story is
the setting
 What is the setting?
Immediate Circumstances
 What is the use of the setting?
Create a mood
Be the source of conflict or struggle
Symbolize an idea
Make action seem more real
A writer reveals what a character is like
and how the character changes throughout the
Two primary methods of characterization:
Direct- tells what the character is like
Indirect- shows what a character is like by
*describing how the character looks,
*telling what the character says and does,
*telling what other characters say about
and do in response to the character
Direct Characterization
…And I don’t play the dozens or believe
in standing around with somebody in my face
doing a lot of talking. I much rather just
knock you down and take my chances even if
I’m a little girl with skinny arms and a
squeaky voice, which is how I got the name
From “Raymond’s Run” by T. Bambara
Indirect Characterization
The old man bowed to all of
us in the room. Then he
removed his hat and gloves,
slowly and carefully.
From “Gentleman of Rio en Medio” by J. Sedillo
The protagonist is the “good
The antagonist is the “bad
guy” or negative force
Examples of Protagonists vs.
Lord of the Rings
Saruman the Wizard
War of the Worlds
Ray Ferrier
The alien invaders
Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter
Lord Voldemort
The Lion, The Witch
and The Wardrobe
Lucy, Peter,
Edmund and
The White Witch
Static vs. Dynamic
 Static character do NOT change in the
course of the story.
 Dynamic characters change and evolve
in the course of the story. (Often “good
guys” will become better because they
have learned valuable moral lessons.
“Bad guys” will become even worse for
having been beaten and/or humiliated
by the protagonist.)
 Plot is the organized pattern or sequence of events
that make up a story. Every plot is made up of a
series of incidents that are related to one another.
Explanation of Plot
 Exposition – Learn about characters and setting,
possible hint of conflict
Rising Action - This part of the story begins to
develop the conflict(s). A building of interest or
suspense occurs. Conflict is made clear in rising
Climax - This is the turning point of the story. Usually
the main character comes face to face with a conflict.
The main character will change in some way.
Falling Action - All loose ends of the plot are tied up.
The conflict(s) and climax are taken care of.
Resolution/Denouement - The story comes to a
reasonable ending. Characters return to life without
 Conflict is a struggle between opposing forces
 Every plot must contain some kind of conflict.
Without conflict, there is no plot.
 Stories can have more than one conflict
 Conflicts can be external or internal
External conflict- outside force may be
person, group, animal, nature, or a
nonhuman obstacle
Internal conflict- takes place in a
character’s mind
Types of Conflict
Character vs Character
Character vs Nature
Character vs Society
Character vs Self
Character vs. Character Conflict
This type of conflict finds the main character in
conflict with another character, human or not
One character must battle another
character to gain power, true love,
freedom, justice or acceptance
One group of characters must free
themselves from another
One character must confront another
to survive
Character vs.
Nature Conflict
This type of conflict finds the main character in
conflict with the forces of nature, which serve as
the antagonist.
One or more characters are lost in
the wilderness (loss of food, shelter,
warmth, etc.)
One or more characters must face a
natural disaster or aid those facing a
One or more characters are
threatened by predators in nature
Character vs.
Society Conflict
This type of conflict has the main character in
conflict with a larger group: a community,
society, culture, etc.
Character trapped by circumstances of
Character falsely accused by society
Character feels apart from society and
discovers own values
Character vs. Self Conflict
In this type of conflict, the main character
experiences some kind of inner conflict.
Character finds inner strength
despite poor odds
Character must develop moral
Character must discover self-worth
A hint about what will happen
next is called foreshadowing
For example, if you hear this:
Then you know someone’s about to get eaten!
A reminder about what
happened in the past
is called flashback.
The point of view is the
perspective of the story
“That rotten wolf
tried to eat us!!!!”
“I was framed! I
just wanted to
borrow a cup of
Point of View
Author’s choice of narrator for a story
A story can be told in many different ways
*1st Person Point of View
*2nd Person Point of View
*3rd Person Limited Point of View
*3rd Person Omniscient Point of View
First Person Point of View
In first-person point of view, the narrator is
a character in the story. The narrator, or the
one telling the story, may or may not be
reliable in first person narratives because
the narrator is a character within the story
and is likely not entirely objective.
Third Person Limited Point of
 The narrator is not involved in the
story. The narrator can watch the
characters in the story and may know
the feelings, thoughts, beliefs of a
character or two, but not all characters.
The narrator’s view is LIMITED; he/she
cannot see everything and must make
inferences about some.
Third Person Omniscient
Point of View
 The narrator is “all knowing” and “all
 The narrator knows everything that all
the characters are thinking, feeling, and
 To be honest, this type of story doesn’t
leave much to chance so it can be
rather boring.
 A central message, concern, or
insight into life expressed through
a literary work
 Can be expressed by one or two
sentence statement about human
beings or about life
 May be stated directly or implied
Sample Theme Topics
• Teamwork
• Discrimination
• Pride
• Trust
• Resourcefulness
• Challenges
• Ethical dilemmas
• Nature
• Leadership
• Euthanasia
• Commitment
• Diversity
• Freedom
• Guilt
• Love
• Convictions
• Heroes
• Community
• Social change
• Loss
• Patriotism
• Communication
• Evil
• Family
• Friendship
• Loyalty
• Power
• Acceptance
• Hope
• Friendship
• Customs
• Loneliness
• Values
• Money
• Death
• War
• Choices
• Prejudice
• Denial
• Poverty
(This is not an allinclusive list.)

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