Student Question

What are the elements of a story?

Expert Answers

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The elements of a story are plot, characters, setting, problem, point of view, solution, rising action, climax and falling action or resolution.

The plot is the story line.  Is it an adventure story or a Cinderella story?

The characters fall into two categories: protagonist and antagonist.  The protagonist is the main character or hero of the story.  The antagonist is the villain or nemesis of the main character.  Other characters in the story will fall on either side of the main character or the villain or will be neutral characters who might even be telling the story.

The setting is a dramatic element of a story.  Mystery stories often involve storms, fog and rain.  Romance stories often have open meadows with flowers in full bloom.  The setting creates the mood for the reader.

The point of view tells you how the reader observes the story. is the story being told by one of the characters in 1st person?  Is the story being told from a "bird's eye" point of view "omniscient" 3rd person point of view?

The problem/solution is the dramatic unfolding of the story.  The rising action leads up to the climax of the story which is the peak action and most exciting portion of the story.  After that, the story is being wrapped up and loose ends tidied.  Stories typically have some sort of "ending" that is either happy or tragic.  In a mystery, the villain is caught or discovered.  In a romance, the couple marry and live happily ever after.  In Western stories, the cowboy rides off into the sunset after breaking up a brawl in the local saloon.

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