What are the Elements of Prose Fiction? - SmartNib (2022)

This article will discuss the elements of prose fiction; style of prose, forms of prose, and prose construction

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The word’s origins can be traced back to the Latin phraseprosa oratio(which means“straight and unembellished speech“). Many people also make reference to the earlier expressionpro versusm(or ”turned forward” when discussing the etymology for the term.

Prose is more typical since it is a language that is commonly used when writing or speaking. Prose is different from poetry in its method of construction. Whereas poetry is constructed using verses and stanzas, Prose is written using paragraphs and sentences.

It came into existence later than poetry, and its style is typically traceable to a specific writer or genre. It does not have a meter or rhythmic pattern that is the basis of the majority of kinds in poetry.

Elements Of Prose Fiction

Newspaper articles, novels, short stories as well as encyclopedias, letter essays, editorials as well as journals, are just a few types that are prose. The many characteristics of prose are:

Style of Prose

The content of Prose may be non-fictional, fictional, or heroic. Fictional Prose makes use of imaginative design and creative writing. Examples include parables novels, dramas, novels, or short stories. If the writing is based on facts, it is referred to as non-fictional prose.

Examples can include essays or biographies. Heroic Prose is based on stories from popular culture or folklore. It is a way to enhance the meaning of old expressions that are usually handed down via oral traditions. These are folk tales, lore, and myths.

In most cases, a single piece of writing can employ a variety of styles and types of content to increase the sense of making meaning for the audience.

The many different capabilities of non-fiction, fiction, and lore could result in an overall and healthy process of enjoying writing prose.

Forms of Prose

There are four main types of prose. They are descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository. The narrative style creates the story with characters. The story could be fictional or non-fiction.

It generally follows a specific timetable (not necessarily) and follows the order of the exposition, tension building, conclusion, action, climax. The expository form provides unadorned and fundamental information, similar to speeches and essays.

It attempts to describe a phenomenon, topic, or theme. They do not have great argumentative skills or storytelling skills. The descriptive form gives details on something similar to medical or scientific reports.

They do not have any narrative or argument. The five senses are used and build a deep understanding of the topic of choice. It is typically used in conjunction using narrative, persuasive and descriptive styles.

Persuasive form attempt to attract the reader with an argument to support an idea. It presents ample evidence to support the benefits or drawbacks of the decided point and then attempts to convince readers to agree with the argument. It is not a narrative as well.

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What is Prose Fiction, History/Origin of Prose Fiction, and Types of Prose Fiction

Prose Construction

The structure of Prose is typically dependent on a few elements, such as themes, characters setting, plot, viewpoint, and mood. These constructions can also be seen as the elements of prose fiction.

There are eight elements of prose fiction:

Story/Subject matter
Point of View

Story/Subject Matter

Every work of art under prose fiction must have a story that it tells or a subject matter that it revolves around, the kernel of the work that is presented to the reader to interpret or decipher. The story consists of those major events/incidents in the work which help in facilitating a concise summary of the work of art.


This is the series of events or incidents the author creates an entire story. The plot is not just the act itself and the way in which an author arranges the action towards a particular goal (structure).

The most important element of the plot is the Conflict: a conflict of thoughts, actions, ideas, will, or desires

Types of Conflict

People Vs. Person, Person vs. Environment Person Vs. Self.

  • Protagonist- The main character in a conflict
  • Antagonist- Any force that is organized against the protagonist- be it things, individuals, the rules of society, or the protagonist’s personal characteristics as a person.

Suspense is the quality of the story that causes readers to think “what’s going to happen next?”. In literary versions of fiction, suspense is more “why” than “what”.

It is usually created through two methods such as mystery (a unique sequence of events for which the reader longs to know the reason behind it) as well as a dilemma (a situation where a character has to select between two possible courses of action, neither of which is desirable.)


Character analysis is more difficult than describing the plot. Human nature is complex, ambiguous, and uncertain. It is much simpler to define what an individual did rather than what one is.

In commercial fiction, characters tend to be two-dimensional and serve as characters to help carry out the story. The protagonist should be easily recognized and fundamentally decent. If there are vices, they should be less ‘innocent’ type, which readers would not want to have.

Characters are presented in two ways: directly and indirectly.

Direct Presentation: The audience is shown straight from the start about the character’s traits. like.

Indirect Presentation: The author describes the character’s actions; the reader is able to determine what kind of person they are through the things they speak or do.

Dramatization Characters are shown talking and acting as characters in the drama.

Types of Characters

Flat Characters– Usually contain one or two main features. The character can be summarised into a couple of sentences.

Round Characters: Complex and multifaceted, they possess the characteristics that are typical of human beings.

Stock Characters: A type of character that is flat. This is the kind of character that is so frequently seen in fiction that the reader can recognize immediately.

Static Character – A character that is exactly the same across.


  • The central idea of a work of fiction is the guiding concept or the central idea. It is the unified generalization about the world as expressed or implied by the narrative.
  • While the theme is an important aspect of the plot, it’s not the only thing that is important. The purpose of a literary author is not to present an idea, but rather to illustrate and explain the theme.
  • Theme does not mean “moral”, “lesson””lesson” “message”.

1. Theme must be expressed by way of an expression that has the predicate and subject.

2. The subject should be described in a generalization of the world.

3. Be cautious do not make your generalization more expansive than it is in accordance with the specifics of the tale. Avoid words such as all, every time to be used in lieu of phrases like occasionally, some.

4. Theme is the primary and unifying idea of an entire story. It is the reason why it has the main elements of the story. It is not questioned by any particular detail in the narrative and does not be based on a preconceived notion of factual information.

5. There is no single method to describe the main idea of an account. If the requirements above are met, the claim is considered legitimate.


The setting of a story is the overall context of the location, time, and under what situation the action takes place.

  • Setting as Place: The physical location where the story is set. A description of the location frequently reveals its significance.
  • Setting as Time includes time in all its dimensions. To establish the importance to the setting, ask “what was happening at the time?” ?”
  • Setting as a Cultural Context Setting is also a reflection of the social context that was prevalent at the time and in the place. Think about historical events as well as politics and social questions of the day.

Point of View.

Point of View is simply the one who will be telling the story. To determine the Point Of View, ask “who is telling the story” in addition to “how much do they know?”

Omniscient Point Of View: The story is told from the third-person perspective of a narrator with unlimited information about characters and events.

Third Person Limited Point Of View – The narrative is presented in the third person but from that of the character in the story. The POV is restricted to the perceptions of the character. It doesn’t reveal what the other characters are thinking or feeling or doing.

First Person Point Of View – The writer disappears into one of the characters. It is third-person restricted. Utilizes Pronouns “I” and “we”.

Second Person Point Of View: Uses”you” as a pronoun “you”. The word is rarely used.


The writer makes use of diction while passing his or her message in a work of art. This diction encompasses the words, phrases, and sentences that are strung together to make a cohesive and understandable whole.

Diction in a work of art may possess the quality of being formal, informal, figurative, or allusive. There are times when in the course of narration, the writer uses diction to establish differences between characters to highlight their social or economic status, their level of literacy as well as their personalities.


Style is the way the author utilizes words, sentences, uses non-literal phrases, and manages timing, rhythm, and tone. When asked to discuss the style, you will be asked to define or explain why sentences, words, and creative comparisons are efficient with regard to the content being written. *Dictionary is central to the style of an author. Includes:

1. Vocabulary: Choice of words

a. Simple words – Everyday word selection. (“She suffered from illness for quite a lengthy period.)

b. Complex words

C. Concrete words: things we can feel or see. (Jeans, book,..)

D. Abstract words: Words that convey intangible concepts (freedom heritage, freedom, etc.))

2. Syntax- the arrangement of terms, including their order in grouping and their arrangement in clauses, phrases, and sentences.

3. Rhythm – The pattern of motion and flow that is created by the selection between words, and also the arrangement of sentences and phrases. It can be directly affected by the length of sentences, the structure of sentences. This includes the usage of pauses between sentences as well as the repetition used and how easy or difficult pronouncement of the word sounds used in sentences.

We have successfully discussed the elements of prose fiction; style of prose, forms of prose, and prose construction. Leave a comment below if there is any suggestion or any point we left out.



What are the elements of a prose fiction? ›

Characters, setting, plot, conflict, point of view, and theme are six key elements for writing fiction. Characters are the people, animals, or aliens in the story.

What are the 7 elements of prose? ›

What are the Elements of a Story?
  • 1 — A Theme. Plot (#5) is what happens in a story, a theme is why it happens—which you need to know while you're writing the plot. ...
  • 2 — Characters. I'm talking believable characters who feel knowable. ...
  • 3 — Setting. ...
  • 4 — Point of View. ...
  • 5 — Plot. ...
  • 6 — Conflict. ...
  • 7 — Resolution.
28 Aug 2020

What are the 5 elements of prose? ›

They are true masters at combining the five key elements that go into every great short story: character, setting, conflict, plot and theme.

What is the most important element of prose? ›

Diction is one of the most important literary devices in prose, as every prose writer will use it.

What is prose fiction and examples? ›

36• Prose fiction is narrative written without a metrical pattern that tells an imaginary or invented story. The most common genres of prose fiction in modern literature are novels and short stories. Novels tend to be much longer than short stories.

What is prose and elements? ›

In writing, prose refers to any written work that follows a basic grammatical structure (think words and phrases arranged into sentences and paragraphs). This stands out from works of poetry, which follow a metrical structure (think lines and stanzas).

What are the 9 Elements of fiction? ›

So, keep in mind that you need a main theme, characters, setting, tension, climax, resolution, plot, purpose and chronology for a powerful story.

What are the 10 fictional prose forms? ›

Types of Prose Fiction
  • Epistolary Novel. This novel is conveyed entirely by an exchange of letters. ...
  • Picaresque Novel. Early form of the novel- it presents the adventures of a lighthearted rascal (picaro= rogue). ...
  • Historical Novel. ...
  • Bildungsroman. ...
  • Gothic Novel. ...
  • Social Novel. ...
  • Science Fiction. ...
  • Metafiction.
15 Feb 2017

What are the 4 elements of prose? ›

Explanation: The basic elements of prose are: character, setting, plot, point of view, and mood.

What are 5 examples of prose writing? ›

This definition of prose is an example of prose writing, as is most human conversation, textbooks, lectures, novels, short stories, fairy tales, newspaper articles, and essays.

What are the characteristics of prose? ›

Simply put, prose is a language or piece of literary work specifically written and not intended as poetry. Prose is written in full sentences and paragraphs, and it is more comprehensible, unlike poetry that is characterized by the use of disjointed languages and poetic devices.

Are the five key elements essential in writing a prose fiction? ›

These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow.

What do you think are the 3 most important elements of fictional prose Why? ›

The main elements of fiction are:
  • Character: Novels are driven by fictional characters. ...
  • Plot: Plot is simply a series of events that makes up the narrative action of a story. ...
  • Setting: Setting is one of the primary story elements found in fiction.
16 Nov 2021

How many types of prose fiction are there? ›

Prose fiction forms are typically categorized by length, resulting in the following three categories: short stories, novellas, and novels.

What are the 3 types of prose? ›

While prose can be broadly defined as straightforward writing that resembles everyday spoken word, there are categories that prose can be broken into: nonfiction, fictional, heroic, and poetry.

What is prose fiction short story? ›

short story, brief fictional prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that usually deals with only a few characters. The short story is usually concerned with a single effect conveyed in only one or a few significant episodes or scenes.

What is symbol in elements of prose? ›

In literature, symbols are often characters, settings, images, or other motifs that stand in for bigger ideas. Authors often use symbols (or “symbolism”) to give their work with more meaning and to make a story be about more than the events it describes.

What are the elements of prose and poetry? ›

Prose includes pieces of writing like novels, short stories, novellas, and scripts. These kinds of writing contain the kind of ordinary language heard in everyday speech. Poetry includes song lyrics, various poetry forms, and theatrical dialogue containing poetic qualities, like iambic pentameter.

What are forms of prose? ›

There are broadly four forms of prose. They are narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive. The narrative form builds a storyline with characters. The story can be fiction or non-fiction.

What is the format of prose? ›

Prose is the form of written language that is not organised according to formal patterns of verse. It may have some sort of rhythm and some devices of repetition and balance, but these are not governed by regularly sustained formal arrangement.

What is prose explain? ›

noun. ˈprōz. : the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing. : a literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech.

What are the 11 elements of a story? ›

These are the different parts of a story:
  • Characters.
  • Setting.
  • Plot.
  • Conflict.
  • Resolution.
  • Themes.
  • Morals.
  • Symbolism.

What is the 10 element of the story? ›

Beginnings and Endings. Beginnings and endings are critical to a memorable picture book. There are many ways to connect a story's ending to its beginning.

What are the 13 elements of literature? ›

Recognized by evaluating different elements of the book, including style and language, character, plot, illustrations, pacing, setting, tension, design and layout, mood, accuracy, tone, point of view, and theme.

What is an example of prose in a sentence? ›

Prose is so-called "ordinary writing" — made up of sentences and paragraphs, without any metrical (or rhyming) structure. If you write, "I walked about all alone over the hillsides," that's prose. If you say, "I wondered lonely as a cloud/that floats on high o'er vales and hills" that's poetry.

What are the main features epic elements of prose? ›

Six Elements Of The Epic:
  • Plot centers around a Hero of Unbelievable Stature. ...
  • Involves deeds of superhuman strength and valor. ...
  • Vast Setting. ...
  • Involves supernatural and-or otherworldly forces. ...
  • Sustained elevation of style. ...
  • Poet remains objective and omniscient.

Why is it important to know the elements of fictional prose? ›

Elements of fiction are the most important things in writing short story. Every element represents difference explanation and interpretation of what is the meanings that author want to deliver to the reader.

What are the three forms of prose fiction? ›

For example, there are different genres of prose fiction:
  • science fiction (or sci-fi)
  • historical fiction.
  • romance fiction.
  • Bildungsroman.

How many element of prose do we have? ›

There are broadly four forms of prose. They are narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive. The narrative form builds a storyline with characters. The story can be fiction or non-fiction.

What are three characteristics of prose? ›

Features Of Prose: Prose is a genre of literature that makes use of plain and ordinary language, grammatical structure and non-metrical form of language in a written or spoken piece of literary work as opposed to poem that has rhythmic structures and elements.

What is a fictional prose? ›

Prose is one of the most popular literary works. Many authors prefer writing prose because it has several options. You can choose to use your imaginations, write based on facts or even combine your writing with poetry. Prose fiction is one form of prose. Like other types, it's written straightforwardly.

What are the 10 features of fiction? ›

  • Protagonist. Main character. ...
  • Antagonist. The person or thing that works against the protagonist. ...
  • Conflict. The problem or struggle the protagonist faces.
  • Resolution. the solution to the conflict.
  • Plot. The event that occurs in the story.
  • Setting. When and where the story takes place.
  • Climax. ...
  • Theme.

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