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18.07.2011 03:50    Comments: 0    Categories: Fiction Elements  Plotting  Writing Characters  Writing Point Of View  Writing Plot  Writing Setting  Writing Flashback  Foreshadowing      Tags: elements of fiction  foreshadowing  theme  flashbacks  

In the same way that a painter uses shape, color, perspective, and other aspects of visual art to create a painting, a fiction writer uses character, setting, plot, point of view, theme, and various kinds of symbolism and language to create artistic effect in fiction. These aspects of fiction are known as the formal elements. An understanding of the formal elements will enhance the reader's appreciation of any piece of fiction, as well as his or her ability to share perceptions with others. For example, the concept of setting helps a reader of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" to recognize and discuss the significance of the "deep dusk of the forest" and the "uncertain light" encountered by Brown as he begins his dreamlike encounter with the devil.

While the list of formal elements encourages us to divide a story into parts, in the story itself these elements blend to create a whole. At some level, or perhaps in the first reading of a piece, readers should read without applying these divisions in order to experience the story's unique effect. Nevertheless, knowledge of the formal elements is necessary for most critical discussions of fiction. These elements provide a basic vocabulary and set of critical tools that can be used in conjunction with many other critical approaches.


Elements of Fiction


Elements of fiction are the things that make up a fictional story or fictional writing. For example, some of the elements of fiction that will be discussed later on this page include the setting, characters, plot, and climax. If you're planning on completing a well-written fictional story, keeping these elements in mind are extremely vital.


First, and most importantly, all fictional writings must have a setting. The setting of a story is the general area and historical time period of the work or writing. In a setting, the atmosphere and local color are described. An example of the atmosphere of a setting would be describing the setting as comfortable. An example of giving the local color of the setting would be by naming certain objects and characters.


Every piece of writing also has a point of view. Most pieces of work are either written in first person point of view, or third person point of view. First person point of view uses words like I, we, me, etc. Third person point of view uses words such as he, she, they, etc. All first person stories are told by a character within the writing, but third persons are told by a narrator.


Next, characters are a huge element of all fictional writings. Characters are the people in work of the piece of literature. It is important to introduce the main characters towards the beginning of a story so that the reader can understand the book's situation as soon as possible. They should be described either directly or indirectly. Directly means that the person telling the story actually tells you what a character is like. Indirectly is where the reader figures out for him or herself about the character because of how the character acts.


When you've got all that taken care of, there must also be a plot. A plot is the structure of the events in the piece of writing that is caused by conflicts. There are two kinds of conflicts: internal conflict and external conflict. Internet conflict is where a character is having problems against him or herself. External conflict is where the character is against another character or element.


Some other common elements of fiction are very necessary, and you've probably heard of a few of them before. A flashback, for example, is a recollection of an earlier time period. Also, some foreshadowing can give clues about events to occur in the future of the story. A denouement is the resolution of the events following the climax, and the theme of a story is the statement about life conveyed by the author and understood by the reader. Last, don't forget that stories almost always have a title, right? The title is usually the name of the work, and can suggest a theme, symbol, or motif to be developed within the work.

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