SHORT STORY ELEMENTS
SETTING -- The time and location in which a story takes place is called the
setting. For some stories the setting is very important, while for others it is not. There are several aspects
of a story's setting to consider when examining how setting contributes to a story (some, or all, may be present in a story):
a) place - geographical location. Where is the action of
the story taking place?
b) time - When is the story taking
place? (historical period, time of day, year, etc)
conditions - Is it rainy, sunny, stormy, etc?
d) social conditions
- What is the daily life of the character's like? Does the story contain local colour (writing that focuses on the speech,
dress, mannerisms, customs, etc. of a particular place)?
or atmosphere - What feeling is created at the beginning of the story? Is it bright and cheerful or dark and frightening?
BACK TO TOP
PLOT -- The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his basic idea;
It is the sequence of events in a story or play. The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning,
middle, and end. The short story usually has one plot so it can be read in one sitting. There are five essential
parts of plot:
a) Introduction - The beginning of the story where the characters
and the setting is revealed.
b) Rising Action - This is where the events in the story become complicated
and the conflict in the story is revealed (events between the introduction and climax).
c) Climax - This is the highest point of interest and the turning point
of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?
d) Falling action - The events and complications begin to resolve themselves.
The reader knows what has happened next and if the conflict was resolved or not (events between climax and denouement).
e) Denouement - This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the
It is helpful to consider climax as a three-fold phenomenon: 1) the main
character receives new information 2) accepts this information (realizes it but does not necessarily agree with
it) 3) acts on this information (makes a choice that will determine whether or not he/she gains his objective).
BACK TO TOP
CONFLICT-- Conflict is essential to plot. Without conflict
there is no plot. It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move. Conflict
is not merely limited to open arguments, rather it is any form of opposition that faces the main character. Within a short
story there may be only one central struggle, or there may be one dominant struggle with many minor ones.
There are two types of conflict:
1) External - A struggle with a force outside one's
2) Internal - A struggle within one's self; a person must make
some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.
There are four kinds of conflict:
1) Man vs. Man (physical) - The leading character
struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals.
2) Man vs. Circumstances (classical) - The leading character struggles against
fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.
3) Man vs. Society (social) - The leading character struggles against ideas,
practices, or customs of other people.
4) Man vs. Himself/Herself (psychological) - The leading character
struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.
BACK TO TOP
CHARACTER -- There are two meanings for the word character:
1) The person in a work of fiction.
2) The characteristics of a person.
Persons in a work of fiction - Antagonist and Protagonist
Short stories use few characters. One character is clearly central to the story
with all major events having some importance to this character - he/she is the PROTAGONIST. The opposer of the main
character is called the ANTAGONIST.
The Characteristics of a Person -
In order for a story to seem real to the reader its characters must seem real. Characterization is the information
the author gives the reader about the characters themselves. The author may reveal a character in several ways:
a) his/her physical appearance
what he/she says, thinks, feels and dreams
c) what he/she does or
does not do
d) what others say about him/her and how others react
Characters are convincing if they are: consistent, motivated, and life-like (resemble
Individual - round, many sided and complex personalities.
Developing - dynamic, many sided personalities that change, for better or worse, by the end of the story.
3. Static - Stereotype, have one or two characteristics that never change
and are emphasized e.g. brilliant detective, drunk, scrooge, cruel stepmother, etc.
BACK TO TOP
POINT OF VIEW
Point of view, or p.o.v., is defined as the angle from which the story is told.
1. Innocent Eye - The story is told through the eyes of a child (his/her
judgment being different from that of an adult) .
2. Stream of Consciousness - The story is told so that the reader
feels as if they are inside the head of one character and knows all their thoughts and reactions.
3. First Person - The story is told by the protagonist or one
of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using pronouns I, me, we, etc). The
reader sees the story through this person's eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels.
4. Omniscient- The author can narrate the story using the omniscient
point of view. He can move from character to character, event to event, having free access to the thoughts, feelings
and motivations of his characters and he introduces information where and when he chooses. There are two main types
of omniscient point of view:
a) Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person
(using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to
tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.
b) Omniscient Objective – The author tells the story in the
third person. It appears as though a camera is following the characters, going anywhere, and recording only what is
seen and heard. There is no comment on the characters or their thoughts. No interpretations are offered. The reader
is placed in the position of spectator without the author there to explain. The reader has to interpret events on his
THEME -- The theme in a piece of fiction is its controlling idea or its central insight.
It is the author's underlying meaning or main idea that he is trying to convey. The theme may be the author's thoughts
about a topic or view of human nature. The title of the short story usually points to what the writer is saying and
he may use various figures of speech to emphasize his theme, such as: symbol, allusion, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, or irony.
Link to Mrs. Gallant's info. on figures of speech & figurative language
Some simple examples of common themes from literature, TV, and film are:
- things are not always as they appear to be
- Love is blind
- Believe in yourself
- People are afraid of change
BACK TO TOP
Elements of Short Stories Notes
I. Plot - series of related events that make up a story
A. Conflict - struggle between opposing forces
1. Man vs. man - external struggle between two or more individuals
2. Man vs. himself - internal struggle concerning emotion and decision
3. Man vs. nature - external struggle between man and an element of nature
B. Complication - mini-conflicts that contribute to the rise in action
C. Climax - turning point of the story; emotional high point
(for the character, not the reader)
D. Falling action - events that lead to resolution
E. Resolution - outcome of the conflict
II. Four types of characterization - techniques the writer uses to develop
A. Physical description
B. Speech and actions of the character
C. Direct comment from the narrator
D. Speech and actions of other characters
III. Themes of literature/Analyzing characters
A. Motivation - cause of actions
B. Behavior - actions of the character
C. Consequences - results of actions
D. Responsibility - moral, legal, or mental accountability
E. Expectations -
A. Sensory details - words that appeal to the senses (sight/hearing/taste/touch/smell)
B. Figurative language
1. Simile - comparison using like or as
2. Metaphor - comparison using is or form of is
a. Implied metaphor
b. Extended metaphor
Make a Resume
In 10 minutes - Make a ResumeMake a Resume in 10 Minutes!
Yes. It is possible to make a resume and a fairly
readable one, in just 10 minutes or less. In fact, we've had resumes come in that looked like the authors were used to spending
less than 5 to make a resume. Anyway, read on and you'll know how you can make a resume in the shortest time possible. Whether
or not you should, is really the question.
Get, Set, Make a Resume
Step 1: Personal Stuff
down your name and structure of your resume ie Profile, Professional experience, Qualifications and Interests. This should
only take you about 30 seconds.
Step 2: Profile
Write an introduction about yourself including the following
details - level of position or years of work experience, currently occupied and Functional/Industry specialization (eg: Trainee
Merchandising Executive), your main skills and strengths. (if possible, include any relevant to role). This will take another
Step 3: Professional Experience
Time frames under which you worked in different companies, the place
and organization you worked for, the job title, and key accomplishments in each role. Start with your current work experience.
Take upto 5 minutes on it.
Step 4: Qualifications
A fairly simple section to tackle. Institute, and name
of Degree will be adequate. Mention any additional qualifications relevant to your work or job applied for. This section should
take you another minute.
Step 5: Interests
Think of 2 or 3 interests that are fairly genuine yet do not sound
alarming (not something like testing nuclear ammunition in your backyard please If you have achieved something related to
your interest, that can go in as well. This should take you 45 seconds at the most.
Your last 1 minute
and 45 seconds should be spent formatting the resume, including Bullets, Highlighting of titles and subtitles, use of italics
etc and also for running a spell check and making corrections.
A Parting Shot
Ensure this is the last time
that you make a resume in 10 minutes! Your career deserves more thought and planning, don't you think?
Developing a Teaching Resume & Cover Letter
Guidelines especially for student teachers or recent graduates -- An alternative resource on creating
a teaching resume and cover letter. Find samples, and a few tips.
Y ou've built your background knowledge, gained job experience, and are on your
way to a career in teaching! You probably know how to write a resume, but have you ever written one especially for a
career in teaching? When I set out on the task to find a teaching job last year, I found myself re-examining all of
the resume writing skills I had previously learned... and now, I'll share that experience with you. I'll follow up with
example of my teaching resume and cover letter.
These are the things I found most important in writing my resume.
- Make it look professional.
Don't use cutesy paper, or casual font for your resume.
Use a neutral paper color and a professional looking font such as Times Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. The font should
not be too large. Generally, keep the font size within 10-12 points. (Your resume is your first impression, and
it must reflect that you are a professional. Remember who your audience is.)
- Focus on your teaching experience.
You haven't ever taught before? Yes, you have!
Document all of the hours you spent in practicums, volunteering, student teaching, aiding, sunday school & bible school,
etc.! It doesn't have to be paid experience.
- Choose areas that most reflect your abilities & interests in the teaching field.
your membership in teaching organizations for students, add a section including your professional goals, etc. You make
the resume work for you. There are not categories you have to use in resume writing--make up your own to fit your needs.
- Gain some experience or extra qualifications related to your career.
If you are in your
last year of college, or haven't been able to obtain a job yet, consider taking on a job working with children or attending
a educational workshop. This will show your commitment to the field, plus you'll be more knowledgeable in the profession.
I worked with an after-school latchkey program for a short time, and at Sylvan Learning Center, which provides tutoring for kids to adults. Check your area for these types of opportunities.
I also attended a Wright Group Shared Reading workshop during my student teaching. A workshop provides a lot of information that
can be applied directly to the classroom, unlike most education courses.
- Make your resume the one that stands out.
There are many ways to do this, but I don't think
they all would be recommended. (You wouldn't want to use fluorescent paper.) I heard of someone making his resume
like a trifold brochure. Therefore, each time the administrator put the resumes in a stack, his would have to be on
top due to it's size. I didn't try that, but a safe recommendation would be to use a slightly off-color paper.
I used a very faint speckled blue. Don't stress on this too much because the content of your resume is what should ultimately
make your resume stand out.
- Never make your resume more than one page???
This is the recommendation you always hear. If
you want, I believe it's okay for a teacher to have a longer resume. However, if you choose to do two pages, here is a nice
way to do it:
Don't staple 2 pages together.. turn them into one big page!
- Take 2 pages and copy side by side onto an 11 X 17 piece of paper.
- Fold the paper in half so that the 2 pages are facing one another.
- On the cover, copy an additional page that has your name, address, and phone number. (It reminds
me of a professional looking title page for a research paper.)
Now, open up, and you'll have an attractive, detailed resume all in one glance. If it's organized,
the administrator can quickly look over your experience and qualifications.
- Don't forget those basic resume writing skills!
Use good grammar, have at least 2 people
proofread it for you, and keep the phrases short and simple. The person reading your resume will look at it quickly.
You don't have to use complete sentences, except where it seems appropriate.
The Cover Letter
The purpose of the cover letter is to let the administrator know what kind of job you're looking for,
your connections and/or interest with his or her school, and to point out why you are the teacher to hire.
Keep it very short, refer to your resume, and indicate where and when you can be reached for an interview. Ask
for an interview and write the letter as if you anticipate talking with him or her soon.
If you have already made contact with the administrator, refer to your talk to refresh his or her memory.