Basic Elements of a Story
1. PLOT - the story line; a unified, progressive pattern of action or events in a
2. POINT OF VIEW (POV) - the position from which the story is told
3. CHARACTER - person portraying himself or another
4. SETTING - the time and place of the action in a story
5. TONE - the attitude of the author toward his subject or toward the reader
6. MOOD - the feeling or state of mind that predominates in a story creating a
The series of events and
actions that takes place
in a story.
Elements of Plot
•Man VS Man
•Man VS Nature
•Man VS Society
•Man VS Himself
Climax: The turning point. The most
intense moment (either mentally or in
action). The conflict is generally
Rising Action: the
series of conflicts
and crisis in the
story that lead to
Conflict: Struggle between
Exposition: The start of the story.
The way things are before the
Falling Action: all of the
action that follows the Climax.
Resolution: The conclusion; the
tying together of all of the
Climax: The wolf tries to climb in through the chimney, but
the little pig is ready for him. The wolf falls in a pot of
The 3rd little pig builds his house out of
bricks. The wolf tries and tries to blow
the brick house down, but he can’t.
Falling Action: The little pig
celebrates with wolf stew!
The 2nd little pig builds a house out of
sticks, but the wolf blows that one down
The 1st little pig builds a house out of
straw, but the wolf blows it down.
Conflict: Man vs. Man
The wolf is trying to eat the three little pigs.
Exposition: The three little pigs live at
home with their mother. They go off
into the world to find their fortunes.
Resolution: The little pig
continues to live happily ever
after in his safe, little home.
Depends on the
The narrator is the “one who tells, or is
assumed to be telling, the story in a given
narrative,” that is, “the imagined „voice‟
transmitting the story.” The narrator is
distinguished from the real author (The
Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary
“Hansel knew he belonged in the front because
Gretel was just a girl. Gretel dropped
breadcrumbs behind her as she went, knowing
that her bumbling brother couldn’t be counted on
to find his way home.
Ahead of them, an old witch waited, her stomach
rumbling at the thought of what a delicious dinner
the two plump children would make.”
of View: An
is telling the
speaks for all
“In his black suit he stood in the dark glass where
the lilies leaned so palely from their waisted
cutglass vase. He looked down at the guttered
candlestub. He pressed his thumbprint in the
warm wax pooled on the oak veneer. Lastly he
looked at the face so caved and drawn among the
folds of funeral cloth, the yellowed moustache,
the eyelids paper thin. That was not sleeping.
That was not sleeping.
Cormac McCarthy All the Pretty Horses
Third person, told
from the viewpoint of
a character in the
story. (S)he knows
only what one
character sees, does,
“I have been afraid of putting air in a
tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow
up and throw Newt Hardbine‟s father
over the top of the Standard Oil sign.
I‟m not lying. He got stuck up there.
The first person narrator uses the
The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
Three Common Points of View
Omniscient: The narrator knows everything, including what
each character is thinking, feeling, and doing throughout the
3rd Person Limited: The narrator knows only the thoughts and
feelings of a single character, while other characters are
presented only externally.
1st Person: The narrator participates in action but sometimes
has limited knowledge about both events outside of those in
which he or she is directly involved and motivations that are not
his or her own.
+ The Three Little Pigs is a classic folk tale from
the oral tradition. It was originally published in
the 18th Century with an Omniscient Narrator
story follows three pigs sent out into the world
by their mother. Each of them builds a house: one of
straw, one of sticks, and the last of bricks. The wolf
blows down each of the first two houses, but he
cannot even scuff the brick house. Finally, he
attempts to sneak in through the chimney. The third
pig is ready for his entrance and places a pot of
boiling water in the fireplace. When the wolf leaps
into the chimney, he lands in the pot and the pig
makes a stew out of him.
Identifying the Omniscient Perspective
their mother, who loved them
equally, told them " Whatever
you do, do it the best that you can
because that's the way to get
along in the world.”
a big bad wolf came along and
saw the first little pig in his
house of straw.
The first little pig built his house
out of straw because it was the
easiest thing to do.
The [third] little pig saw the wolf
climb up on the roof. He lit a
roaring fire in the fireplace and
placed on it a large kettle of
Definition Omniscient Perspective: The narrator knows what each
character is thinking, feeling, and doing throughout the story.
3rd Person Limited: Mother Pig
An abbreviated version of the complete tale
version of the Three Little Pigs is
presented as a third-person narrative by
the mother pig. After she sends her three
boys off into the world with her bit of
advice, she is left to wonder about their
fates. She, and consequently the reader,
knows nothing of their adventure with the
wolf until she receives a phone call from
her third son.
Identifying the Third Person Limited
The boys left and she, as any
good mother would, worried
incessantly about how they
Day after day, she waited for
news of her offspring. She
busied herself by cleaning their
One late night the phone rang.
It was her third son, George.
“Mom,” he yelled “you were
right.” John and Paul built
houses out of straw and wood.
This gigantic, bad wolf came
and blew them down one after
Definition 3rd person limited: Third person limited point of view is a
method of storytelling in which the narrator knows only the thoughts and
feelings of a single character, while other characters are presented only
1st Person: The True Story of the Three
+ Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane
An Abbreviated Version of the Complete Tale
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is presented as a firstperson narrative by the wolf, who portrays the entire incident as
a misunderstanding. He had gone to the pigs to borrow some
sugar, had destroyed their houses in a sneezing fit, and had
eaten the first two pigs just to avoid food going to waste (the
pigs had died in the house collapse anyway). Ultimately, he had
been caught violently attacking the third pig‟s house because
the pig had continually insulted him
First-person – The narrator participates in action but
sometimes has limited knowledge/vision about events
outside of those in which he or she is directly involved
and motivations that are not his or her own. The first
person, however, allows for an intimacy between the
reader and the narrator that cannot be rivaled by another
“Everybody knows the story of the Three Little Pigs.
Or at least they think they do. But I'll let you in on a
little secret. Nobody knows the real story because
nobody has ever heard my side of the story. I'm
Alexander T. Wolf. The real story is about a sneeze
and a cup of sugar.”
+ Identifying the First Person
I was making a birthday
cake for my dear old granny.
I had a terrible cold. I ran
out of sugar, so I went to
borrow a cup from a
I mean who would build a
house of straw?
When the dust cleared,
there was the second little
pig - dead as a doornail.
Now I'm a pretty calm
fellow. But when somebody
talks about my granny, I go
a little crazy.
Definition 1st person: The narrator participates in action but sometimes has limited
knowledge about both events outside of those in which he or she is directly involved and
motivations that are not his or her own.
+ Why different perspectives?
Because each one has its own benefits!
The omniscient point of view gives the reader a broad,
objective overview of the story, but it is difficult to create welldeveloped characters or much intimacy from such a distance.
The third person point of view allows more development of
characters than the omniscient approach. Moreover, the
narrator seems more objective than one from a first-person
point of view.
The first person point of view allows for a very intimate, warm
connection to the narrator, but the facts in the story are often
seen as more subjective. We all know that when we tell our
own stories, we leave out the parts we don‟t care to share.
Consider this? Does it change anything? or
everything? Imagine this story. What perspective
would you use here? 3rd limited or first through
the pig? Third or first through the wolf?
Devise a plot for the story of The Three Little Pigs as a murder
with the wolf as a hit man. Choose a POV to make it
interesting. Use the drawing as your prompt.
1st person: the Pig or the Wolf
3rd Limited: the Pig or the Wolf
#7: The best 250 words of your
Three Little Pigs story.
Note the Plot and POV of each
Tell Tale Heart” Edgar Allan Poe
“A Very Short Story” Ernest Hemingway
“Dr. Chevalier‟s Lie” Kate Chopin