Literary Elements of Fiction

The sequence of events in a story

The time and place in which a story occurs

Main character in a story

A character or force in conflict with the main character

A decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot

rising action
The series of conflicts or struggles that build a story toward a climax

The conclusion of a story where the loose ends are tied up

A struggle between opposing characters or opposing forces in a story

An author’s use of hints or clues to suggest events that will occur later in the story

A circumstance that complicates something in a story

falling action
The events after the climax that ease the tension and lead to the resolution

flat characters
Characters that are simple and one-dimensional

round characters
Complex characters with many qualities and traits

dynamic characters
Characters that change and grow throughout the course of a story

static characters
Characters who remain the same throughout the story

A writer’s choice of words

first person narration
The narrator is a character who refers to himself/herself as “I”

point of view
The perspective from which a story is told

A piece of writing that tells a story

The attitude of a writer toward a subject or an audience

A central idea which a literary text explores

Descriptive or figurative language that appeals to the senses

An interruption in the chronological order of a narrative to describe an event that happened earlier

Conversation between characters

The introductory material in a story which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters and other facts necessary to understanding the story

inciting incident
An incident or action that sets the plot in motion

A second story within the main plot of a story

The feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader

third person omniscient narration
An all-knowing narrator tells the story using the third person

third person limited narration
Narration using the third person, but from only one character’s point of view

second person narration
Narration using the second person, “you”, to describe the character

in medias res
A narrative that starts in the middle of the action

dramatic irony
When the audience knows something the characters do not

verbal irony
When person says or writes one thing and means another

direct characterization
The author directly describes character

indirect characterization
The author indirectly reveals the character through actions and interactions

The author’s choices regarding language, sentence structure, voice, and tone in order to communicate with the reader

character foil
A character who contrasts with another character in order to highlight particular qualities of the person

A device in literature where an object represents an idea

stream of consciousness
A style of writing that portrays the inner (often chaotic) workings of a character’s mind