Elements of fiction

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ELA Benchmark 1 Study Guide


Know the elements of fiction listed on the plot map. Know the plot pyramid(map). Pay attention to the chain of events that are present in the story, and understand how these events are sequenced.

By now, we should be able to:

  • Describe the series of events that are part of a plot- Setting; Character; Conflict; Events(rising action;

Climax; (falling action) Resolution

  • Define resolution




Character traits are elements of a character’s personality. Just like people, we can identify how characters grow or change by watching how they react in different situations. We can track that by looking at how a character evolves over the course of a story.

By now, we should be able to:

  • Identify character traits

  • Describe how a character changes throughout the story

  • Examine how a story would be different if we were to change an element of our character’s personality

  • Cite textual evidence (by mentioning a part or using a direct quote) that support our ideas about that character




The theme is the main lesson that the reader draws from the story. Theme can be really clear, like with Emperor’s New Clothes or folktale/ fables, or it can be more discreet—you might really have to think about it! When you are having trouble getting to the heart of the story consider following this process: Ask yourself: what is one big idea that this story addresses? What details can I identify from the text that relate to this idea? Then, it’s time for your brain to get working. What do these details tell me about this big idea? That is going to be the theme. Make sure that your theme is a life lesson not a story lesson. It should also be written as a complete sentence. It’s important to remember that a story can have more than one theme.

By now, we should be able to:

  • Determine a theme

  • Support the theme with textual evidence—details or examples from a book or story


  • Theme Notes

  • Literature book, page 116, 117, 118

  • Pictograph posters— group planning theme and textual evidence(quotes from story to support theme)



With a summary, our goal is to give only the most important points about something. With a summary of a piece of fiction, we want to make sure we get across the main events without including unnecessary details. The general format for our fiction summary contains one sentence with the TAO- title, author, and overview followed by one sentence background (if needed), with the key plot elements that follow. Always use transitions to connect ideas. The final sentence of the summary should be the theme, or one lesson that a character learns about life (or that you learn through what the character doesn’t learn- like Emperor’s New Clothes) in that particular story. Wow! That’s a lot to fit in to about 8 sentences! Notice how summary ties in with the standards above. Let’s not forget: summaries should not contain personal opinion. No I/me/my in sight.

By now, we should be able to:

  • Identify the most important ideas/events to include in the summary

  • Figure out the theme to use as the last sentence

  • Write an effective story overview

  • Write an unbiased summary of a short piece of fiction




Point of view refers to the perspective that the narrator takes when telling a story. The perspective can completely change the story; the way that I interpret an event and that an observer interprets event can be quite different! Also, consider how including character’s thoughts can impact the way that we understand a story.

Pronouns narrator uses

Thoughts and feelings?

Inside/ outside story?


1st person


Of narrator


Limited in perspective- biased

3rd person objective



Of none


No thoughts and feelings—intentions are unclear

3rd person omniscient



Of all


We know everything!

3rd person limited



Of one


Like 1st person, thoughts and feeling limited to 1 person

By now, we should be able to:

  • Identify the POV an author uses in a particular text

  • Back it up with examples from the text

  • Translate one point of view to another


  • Notes- Point of view: 3rd person objective, limited and omniscient and 1st person

  • POV practice worksheet and in-class

  • Literature book, page 719-720



Figurative language includes a wide variety of types of language that writers use to enhance their writing. Examples and types are in the chart below. While we haven’t covered all of these so far this year, what we need to know is this: figurative language means that we are choosing to say something in a way that is not literal for a particular effect. If I choose to describe the land as “blanketed in snow” you know I don’t have a blanket made of snow! What am I trying to tell you about the snow? What picture am I painting in your mind? Why am I describing it like that? It’s important to know the specifics—what it is, an example of (hyperbole, idiom, etc.), but more important than that is being able to interpret the figurative language- to examine the effect that the language the author chooses has on the meaning or tone of writing.

Quick chart:


Giving human qualities to something

“the jungle mattress and heard it sigh” p. 23 ASID


Direct comparison

“She was an old photograph dusted from an album” ASID p. 20


make a comparison using like or as

“It’s like a penny,” ASID p. 21


extreme exaggeration

“The world ground to a standstill.” P. 22 ASID


An expression that we use that means something else completely

Break a leg! ...butterflies in his stomach.


Sounds like what it is

“with the drum and gush of water” ASID p. 19

“awoke to the tatting drum” ASID p. 19


(haven’t covered)

Repeating the beginning sounds of words

We will warm you (from “The Red Gloves”)

(haven’t covered)

when words or phrases are repeated throughout a piece of writing

“They edged away from her; they would not look at her. She felt them go away.” ASID p. 20
So after that, dimly, dimly she sensed it…” ASID

By now, we should be able to:

  • Identify types of figurative language

  • Interpret their meaning

  • What picture does this language/image paint in your mind?

  • Why did the author choose those words for that particular description?


  • Figurative Language charts

  • Figurative language worksheet – The Airport

  • Alliteration worksheet

  • Simile/Metaphor worksheet

  • Language arts book, page 129, 715

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