Understanding Texts

Structure and Form

Structure and Form

The general structure of a story is as follows:

  1. CaptureExposition/Introduction – background information is given to the reader, such as the introduction of central characters, the setting and the tone of the story.
  2. Rising Action – this is when conflict enters the story. A character has a goal but there is something preventing them from achieving it.
  3. Climax – the turning point of the story or the most dramatic part. Up until this point, everything may have been going badly for the character then they have a stroke of luck or a chance to prove themselves.
  4. Falling Action – The result of the conflict occurs either in a negative or positive way. This may still contain another turning point if the protagonist finds themselves losing.
  5. Denouement/Resolution – The conclusion of the story which often results in complete resolution. Often this will be positive and a relief for the reader. They will notice that the character has changed for the good. It is during the denouement that all aspects and problems created by the plot’s conflict are solved. However, there is a trend in some literature to leave some aspects unresolved or to have a quick ending after the climax and falling action.

Structural technique relate to the layout of the story. In novels, authors could choose to write in diary or epistolary form (series of documents) or insert written notes, newspaper articles, illustrations, photos or other forms of writing.

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Diary Form

Diary narratives allow the reader to experience the thoughts and emotions of a character more closely than normal third person. As a reader, we see events through the eyes of one character and are only able to notice what they do. However, this allows the writer to reveal things slowly to us. If they allow us to see the same event through another character’s eyes, we could add more information about an event and have a more informed judgement.

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Epistolary Form

Writing a novel as a series of documents, such as newspaper articles or letters, gives it a sense of realism. Not only does it mimic the writing of real life (non-fiction), using articles and other documents can act as evidence. This influences on the reader, making them more likely to believe the story.

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Illustrations

These can increase the understanding a reader has of a specific event or simply to maintain their interest through a visual stimulant. Remember, an illustration will often be used to show an important character event.