Short Story Terminology
Protagonist: The main character in a story, novel or play.
Antagonist: The character who struggles or fights against the protagonist.
Point of view: The perspective from which the story was told in.
First Person point of view: When the narrative is told by one of the characters from the “I” point of view. This point of view is limited because the reader knows only what the character narrating knows.
Third Person Limited point of view: The narrator tells the story using “he” and “she.” This point of view can be limited, with the narrator knowing only the thoughts and feelings of one character.
Third person omniscient point of view: The narrator also tells the story using “he” and “she,” but in this case, the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters and presents the thoughts of all characters involved.
Foreshadowing: A technique for providing clues about the events that may happen later in the story.
Flashback: A technique for presenting something that helps explain something about the current (present) situation.
Genre: Refers to the literary form or the type of writing, for example, short story, play, novel, ...
Theme: The main idea of the selection.
Atmosphere: The overall mood of the story, for example, comic, mysterious,
Suspense: The feeling of growing tension and excitement felt by the reader as the plot develops. It is what keeps the reader turning the pages and wondering what will happen next.
Surprise ending: An unexpected twist in the plot at the end of the story.
Resolution: The conclusion of the story in which the problem or conflict is solved.
Climax: The highest point of emotional intensity, usually the turning point.
Contrast: The consideration of two or more things with respect to differences.
Diction: Word choice used by a writer.
Fiction: Any narrative that is invented or imagined.
Non-fiction: Prose that presents actual happenings.
Thematic statement: A one sentence statement that generalizes a story’s message.
Thesis: The main idea of an essay, usually found in the first paragraph.
Irony: A literal device that is used to achieve a meaning opposite to what is actually being said.. There are 3 types:
Dramatic Irony: irony created when he reader knows things that the character does not know and therefore the character’s actions or words become either tragic or humourous. This form of irony is meant to be tragic, humourous or both.
Verbal irony: The use of figures of speech such as hyperbole and under statement to create an ironic effect. (The opposite is said from what is intended)
Situational Irony: Discrepancy between appearance and reality, or between what is and what would seem appropriate.
Mood: Feelings created in the reader by the selection.
Plot: The storyline or series of episodes.
Setting: The time, place and circumstances in which a story, book, drama .. takes place.
Short story: A brief fictional prose narrative, usually focuses on one character, has a limited setting and a single plot.
Prose: Writing that uses ordinary language (not poetry)
Satire: The use of irony to ridicule an idea, person or thing.
Sub-theme: A minor idea often related to the main theme.
Sub-conflict: Minor conflict often related to the main conflict.
Dialogue: Any conversation between characters or people.
Conflict: The struggle between opposing forces; Without it there would be no plot.:
There are 3 types:
Internal conflict (man vs himself) A character must deal with his/her own thoughts and feelings.
External conflict (man vs nature) A character struggles against something in the outside world.
Interpersonal conflict (man vs man) A character struggles against another character.
Characterization: A writer’s portrayal of a character through dialogue, actions, appearance, habits, beliefs, way of speaking, etc....
Tone: The way in which a writer’s choice of words reveal his/her attitude to the subject or characters. (For example, is the author poking fun at someone, or angry).
Symbolism: The use of a concrete object to stand for an abstract or more complicated idea. For example, a lion symbolizing courage.
Essay: A short piece of nonfiction writing dealing with a single topic or theme. It expresses a person’s point of view or understanding of a particular issue.
Fantasy: Often referred to as a fairy tale. They often invite mysterious or supernatural characters or events. Traditionally, fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” were intended for the “adult” community and not children as it is now thought.
Tragedy: A piece of writing with an unhappy ending. In many tragedies, the hero experiences mental or physical suffering and then dies. Character is essential in a tragedy because we have to feel sympathy for the character or it is not tragic, for example, “Romeo and Juliet”.
Hyperbole: An exaggerated statement used to make a strong effect.
Imagery: the use of selected details to describe one thing in terms of another. This helps suggest additional meanings and feelings.
Narrator: The speaker who tells the story.
Structure: The frame work that determines how a story is put together - its skeleton. The structure of most stories include four basic parts: exposition, complication, climax, and resolution.
Understatement: A figure of speech in which the speaker says less than what he or she feels.