Elements of a Story Examples
Every story, or narrative, has five essential elements. Let's take a closer look at each of the five.
Plot-Plot is "what happens" in the story. The action of every story can be mapped out using a plot diagram. There are five key points to the plot of every story:
1. Beginning or Exposition-this is when characters and problems are introduced to the reader. Example: Romeo and Juliet's families are enemies, but Romeo and Juliet meet at a party and like each other.
2. Rising Action-this is where the problem and characters are developed through a series of actions that builds to the . . .
Example: Romeo visits Juliet on a balcony one night, and then she sends a message to him through her nurse. They meet and secretly wed without their families' knowledge. Romeo kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt, and he is exiled. Juliet's father orders her to marry someone else. Juliet fakes her death, sending a message to Romeo to let him know, but he hears of her death and doesn't get the message.
3. Climax-this is where the problem (or conflict) is resolved in one way or another. The climax is often called the "turning point" in a story.
Example: Romeo kills himself, and Juliet wakes from her sleep, sees him, and kills herself.
4. Falling Action or Denoument-this is where the reader learns what happens as a result of the climax-or the way in which the problem was solved.
Example: The two families mourn Romeo and Juliet.
5. Resolution-where the entire plot is wrapped up and there is a sense of closure for the reader.
Example: Romeo and Juliet's deaths have ended their families' feud and there is peace in Verona.
Sample Plot Diagram:
Characters-Narratives have characters. A narrative has to have a protagonist, which is the main character in the story, and one or more antagonists, characters who are in conflict with the protagonist.
Example: Romeo and Juliet are the protagonists. Their conflict is with their families and their parents, especially Juliet whose parents wish her to marry someone else.
Conflict-For there to be a narrative, the main character, or protagonist, has to have a conflict, or problem. Sometimes the conflict involves the protagonist and another person (man versus man). Sometimes the conflict involves the protagonist and the environment or nature (man versus nature). At other times, the conflict involves the protagonist against himself (man versus self), as he attempts to overcome a weakness or flaw.
Example: Romeo and Juliet's conflict is that their families are in a feud, and they are not allowed to be with each other.
Setting-Narratives have a time and place where the action is set.
Example: Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy.
Theme-Narratives have a theme, or main idea/underlying meaning. Theme should be stated in a complete sentence.
For example, Romeo and Juliet is not just about "love," but you could state the theme as "Love overcomes hate."
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