Short Story Terms

English – Mr. Dawursk

 

 

R

Climax

The moment when the action comes to its highest point of dramatic conflict. Most often, the climax occurs before the actual ending of the story. The highest “action” in the story.

R

Character

The individuals in the story.

R

Characterization

The various methods used by authors to communicate their characters to the reader.

R

Complication

Any obstacle that increases the tension of the story conflict.

R

Conflict

The central source of tension and drama in the story; also called the story problem.

R

Description

Verbal representation of characters, scene, or action, used to make the story more vivid for the reader.

R

Denouement

French word for “the tying of ends;” also called the resolution to the story and comes after the climax to bring aspects of the plot to a close.

R

Dialogue

The actual words that characters speak. Authors use dialogue skillfully in the short story to portray character and to dramatize conflict.

R

Diction

The author’s choice of words, the vocabulary level of the story.

R

Direct Characterization

When the author tells us what the character is like.

R

Dramatic Irony

A technique that increases suspense by letting readers know more about the dramatic situation than the characters know.

R

Exposition

Background material about the characters, setting, and dramatic situation with which the author introduces the essentials of the story to the reader.

R

Falling Action

The part of the story, following the climax and leading to the resolution, in which there is a sharp decline in dramatic tension.

R

Flashback

A writing technique that tells the reader about an event that happened in the past.

R

Foreshadowing

A writing technique that gives readers clues about events that will happen later in the story.

R

Indirect Characterization

When the author shows us what the character does, says, thinks, or feels or through other character’s comments or actions toward the character.

The author lets the reader make their own interpretations.

R

Hyperbole

An exaggerated statement used to make a strong effect.

R

Imagery

The use of selected details to describe one thing in terms of another. This helps suggest additional meanings and feelings.

R

Irony

A particular tone created when the speaker intends a meaning that is opposite to the words he or she says.

R

Limited Point Of View

The author tells the story from the viewpoint of just one character

R

Man Vs. Man

Involves conflicts between people.

R

Man Vs. Society

Involves conflict between an individual and larger groups.

R

Man Vs. Nature

Involves conflict between an individual and the natural world.

R

Man Vs. Himself

Involves characters’ psychological conflicts with themselves.

R

Mood

The overall feeling created by an author’s choice of words. Example: light and happy or dark and brooding.

R

Narrator

The speaker who tells the story. If the narrator is also a character who participates in the story, it is important not to confuse the narrator with the author who may, in fact, hold a very different attitude toward the story.

R

Omniscient Point Of View

The author is outside the story and presents the thoughts of all the characters involved as an objective observer.

R

Point Of View

The perspective from which a story is told: omniscient or limited.

R

Protagonist

The central or main character of the story.

R

Resolution

The conclusion of the story. The resolution includes the story’s action after the climax until the end of the story; also called denouement.

R

Rising Action

The part of the story usually after the inciting moment in which the tension rises. Rising action builds to its highest point of tension at the story’s climax.

R

Setting

The environment in which the story takes place.

R

Structure

The framework that determines how a story is put together; it “skeleton.” The structure of many stories includes five basic parts exposition, inciting moment, rising action, climax, and denouement.

R

Style

The characteristic ways that an individual author uses language including word choice, length and complexity of sentences, patterns of sound, use of imagery and symbols.

R

Suspense

Techniques used by the author to keep readers interested in the story and wondering what will happen next.

R

Symbol

An image, object, character, or action that stands for an idea (or ideas) beyond its literal meaning.

R

Theme

The generalized universal problem or issue that the plot explores.

R

Tone

The clues in a story that suggest the writer’s (or narrator’s) own attitude toward his or her characters, setting, conflict, and other elements of the story.

R

Understatement

A figure of speech in which the speaker says less than what he or she actually feels.

R

Verbal Irony

The use of figures of speech such as hyperbole and understatement to create an ironic effect.