6 Elements of Fiction


Fiction employs inventive ways to present any tale as a portal to a created reality and asks the reader to indulge in it without questioning its veracity.

It can be anything from writing like novels, short stories, plays, comics, animations, games, etc. In this article, we will discuss 6 Elements of Fiction


The theme is the controlling idea or purpose behind a fiction story. It is the threads of all the characters and the elements of the plot. The theme does not have to be the destined goal of the story or a moral lesson and can be bizarre but has to remain unchanged throughout the story.

It must be universally powerful and must account for all other details of the story. It cannot be contradicted within the confines of the story. Even though the theme is not stated and is often hidden. Every other detail must conform to it.

It is different from a symbol that represents an individual a part of the story and a motif which is a device that is refrained on multiple occasions. The various themes can be love, truth, war, violence, revenge, tragedy, adulthood, etc.


Characters are the various persons or animals taking part in the story. They act as prime movers to carry forward the plot. They form the footing for the plot.

It is the condition of the characters and their countenance with respect to other characters and the setting of the story provides the momentum of a story.

Their experiences can be portrayed emotionally and mentally similar to the readers’ or audiences’ natural emotions to make them suspend their power to disbelieve.

A good characterization exercise requires a solid backstory of the characters in order to make the audiences understand the thoughts and actions of the characters. The design of the character sketch and how the characters grow with the story is important to create intrigue for the spectators.

In a fictional story, there is the antagonist (agent/force against the protagonist), the protagonist (hero), the anti-hero (the main object of sympathy from the audiences), etc. Some characters are well rounded and complex while others are flat and predictable (static characters).

Some important elements of a plot are conflict or disruption of equilibrium (Human vs. Human, Human vs. Environment, Human vs. Self, Human vs. Fate), suspense (why something is happening in the story), mystery (unexpected circumstances), etc.


It is the signature of the author or writer. It represents the way words, expressions; emotions, timing, and mood are utilized by the writer to create a believable fictional environment in the story. The word diction is used to represent the signature style a write incorporates in his work.

It comprises of different devices like vocabulary and the kinds of words used (simple words, complex words abstract words, words representing tangible objects, etc), syntactical arrangement and placement of various words, the pattern of flow and rhythm of the text (length and composition of sentences, punctuation, etc.)

The writing also involves the acuteness and intelligence of the writer. It can be overly dramatic, hostile, rebellious, sinister, brave, bitter, optimistic or even humorous, depending on the instinctive writing style of the author.

It helps to engross the reader/viewer in the created mood or the feeling encouraged by the evocative and expressive words of the writer.


It is a multi-faceted term that gives information about how, when and where the action takes place in a fictional story. It can be a description of the physical environment, the time of the action, cultural, historical and social circumstances of the action.

 A writer can use various devices to create details about the setting like clothing, transportation,  communication (explicit or gestural). Information about psychology, philosophy, education, religion, etc of the character can make the setting pivotal in engaging with the readers.

Acceptability and validity of the finer points can be critical for success. The setting or the World prepares an explorable world and a sense of belonging for the characters and becomes pivotal in making the experience immersive for the readers.

Point of View

It represents the voice that is telling the story. It offers the angle to look at the subject and the setting of the story. The perspective is generally in first person or third person (the second person is seldom seen).

In the first-person Point of View, the writer becomes one of the characters. He gives his own insights and uses pronouns “I” or “we”. The first-person is direct and adds a sense of personality to the events to the text. It is also very recent.

The perspective or Point of View can also be in the third person who has omniscient knowledge about various elements of the story like the narrator. It can also be from the point of view of a character and incorporate his/her beliefs and opinions of other characters.

The third-person point of view gives a birds-eye vantage. It is less intimate and a bit slower but it gives the possibility to assess the consequences of actions.

The point of view or the storyteller’s voice determines things like tense and how much the reader gets to see. The tense (past, present, and future) of the narration could also be indifferent.


The plot is the semantics of the story or the order of events in it. Its structure is sequential, strict and organized. The plot usually begins with an exposition or introduction.

This is done to establish the setting and its characters.  Then there is intensive action usually a conflict. A conflict even if it is an internal struggle with emotions etc, is quintessential for a good story.

The climax offers tension at its maximum and a turning point in the story. Everything hangs in the balance and the emotions are running high. It is the most critical part of the plot. It is succeeded by dissipating action as things slow down.

Tension reduces as the final resolution draws close. Finally, the resolution is attained. It can be sad, happy or even confusing. There are various techniques that are used to construct plots like foreshadowing, flashback, suspense, and telescoping.