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Writing with Fiction Elements


Skilled writers of fiction use a repertoire of craft techniques that are rarely used in other genres of writing. Good fiction writers use techniques such as character development, evocative description of place, and literary tropes such as foreshadowing, metaphor, and recurring words or themes. They are masters at establishing narrative tension, while also using language whose form is as rich and meaningful as its content. Through the study of fiction elements, students become increasingly sophisticated readers, and increasingly skilled fiction writers.


Through the explicit study of the craft of fiction writing, students acquire deep and accessible knowledge of the ways in which skilled writers can create a narrative that is rich in both form and content. By drawing back the curtain on the act of writing fiction, students are able to appreciate and analyze literature with greater nuance, and they are able to use elements of literary craft in a mindful way to enhance their own writing. Studying fiction elements helps students to appreciate how we write and not just what we write about, and in doing so it greatly expands a student’s understanding of the literature they consume and create.

Content Area Adaptations 

Fiction elements can enhance a student’s writing whenever the form and sound of a piece are valued along with the content. Certainly any narrative will benefit from fiction elements, as well as personal essays, nonfictional narratives, journal entries, letters, speeches, and philosophical reflections.

Learning Strategies 

  • Inferring
  • Predicting
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing

Content Areas 

  • ELA

Learning Strands 

  • Writing

Re-Creating Text

This activity encourages reading comprehension by helping students to engage with text both emotionally and cognitively. Students are asked to re-create a text in another medium: a song, poem, play, film, or piece of visual art. This re-creation process helps students to process both the meaning and the intention of the text in a novel way, and...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Story Impressions

In this pre-reading activity students will use a teacher-generated list of words that relate to the fiction elements of a story, including setting, character names or descriptions, plot, and resolution. Students will work in pairs or small groups to make predictions and write a story based on those words. The purpose of this activity is for...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Showing not Telling

This activity helps to enliven students’ writing by teaching them to SHOW what is happening and how characters are feeling rather than drily reporting the facts. It helps writers and readers to experience stories with their senses rather than just recalling a simple series of events.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Synthesis