How to Write about Fiction

hi welcome to week one of English 101

and this week we're gonna talk about

literary elements that are specific to

fiction writing we're also gonna start

to learn a little bit on how to use

academic research to write a paper these

are both really important topics that

you're going to use throughout this

course and throughout a lot of classes

in college so let's get started okay if

you're - if you're watching this video

because you're in one of my classes

you'll be using this book here backpacks

literature by Pearson this is the fourth

edition if you're watching this video

because you're interested in learning

about literary elements listen up you

just won't have the book to reference so

this book has a lot of chapters and your

assignment for this for this week is to

kind of skim and go through the first

eight chapters that sounds like a lot of

work and it is but the first eight

chapters cover a lot of the things that

are really useful for fiction writing so

let me kind of explain chapter one the

book talks about how to read a story

very important to talks about point of

view which is one of those literary

elements that the author's point of view

is incredibly important chapter 3 is on

characters chapter 4 setting chapter 5

tone and style chapter 6 theme chapter 7

symbol symbolism chapter 8 has sample

stories chapter 9 starts poetry which

we'll talk about in the next video so

let me kind of do a brief rundown on

what these literary elements are explain

it a bit for you you have a reference

before you start reading point of view

is the perspective that a story is being

told from now what we're really

comfortable with and stories is usually

third-person omniscient and third person

limited point of view now these are

terms we don't normally think of what it

means a third person is it is a

character usually outside the story some

sort of all-knowing narrator who just

knows things and is telling the story

probably in the past tense that's useful

because then there's someone who can

know all the details and can relate it

to you the reader or to your reader if

you're writing it omniscient meaning

they know everything the third person

limited meaning maybe they focus on just

one person's one character's thoughts

now you do have some examples really

famous examples fairly recent that that

break this common type of narrating and

that is say the Hunger Games novels and

The Hunger Games um it's old

first-person by a character in the story

itself now that does happen in fiction

but it's first-person present tense is

really really tricky because you have

Katniss Everdeen and she's telling the

story because you're inside her head and

you know what she's thinking

so like when she gets stung by tracker

jackers and she's tripping out that

affects her narration and it's crazy in

your textbook here one example that's

similar to that is the story the

tell-tale heart by Edgar Allen Poe the

narrator is kind of crazy or is being

driven crazy by the guilt he feels after

having killed someone unburied them on

the floor and he thinks that he's

hearing the beating heart and it's

driving him crazy to the point that

someone who's crazy telling the story

can't necessarily be trust it right

because they're not lucid what they're

saying might not be logical but it makes

for an interesting story so some

think about when you either read or

write a story is how can an element like

that help or hurt the story you don't

want to do something crazy just because

you can it needs to have a really good

reason let me give you a couple of old

movie examples and by old I mean the 90s

okay and the 90s there was a famous

movie called the matrix and then the

matrix it it does something really

different right there's a lot of crazy

special effects which you know wouldn't

be as fancy if it didn't really really

fit the story right um the idea for the

matrix has actually taken from a really

really boring book called simulation

simulacrum by Jean Baudrillard

it's a philosophy book and so you get

these terms that show up in the movie

like the desert of the real and it's

actually really heavy complicated theory

about what's real and what's not real

which they turned into an interesting

story element and because it works it

works if it was just like now we're

gonna talk about what's real and what's

not real

when wouldn't make for an interesting

story but they turned it into something

cool with guns and special effects and

it was very successful

around the same time period there's

another movie called memento which was

the first big movie that guy Christopher

Nolan started a guy who went off to make

the Batman movies more recently like

interstellar and this summer Dunkirk is

coming out that he did um the story is

told out of order because the main

character his perspective is affected

because he has short-term memory loss

and so what he does is he tattoos

details on his body and puts post-it

notes all over his hotel room where he's

staying at so that after he sleeps and

he forgets everything that's happened

that day he can still remember oh

it creates an interesting story that's

basically told backwards as he works

backwards to try to figure out what

happened to lead his memory loss so the

story is told backwards but there's a

good reason

because of his memory loss that is the

literary element at its finest really

showing what you can do through

perspective chapter 3 in the book talks

about character character has a cue and

huge impact on the story in wases it's

really even hard to to limit um stories

just aren't interesting if you don't

care about the characters it doesn't

mean you have to like the characters but

you have to care about them in some way

let me give you a bad example cuz they

only give bad examples and the TV show

Dexter Dexter is a bad dude right he is

he works in a morgue and he gets you

know he doesn't like people getting away

with murder and so he decides to well he

becomes a serial killer and he goes and

he goes gets justice not recommending

this by the way so he does bad things

right but that's not what makes the show

interesting because we it's told in a

way that you start to care about the

character and so even though you may not

agree with what he's doing you have a

reason to care about him that makes

sense there's a lot of TV shows that do

this to where the characters might make

bad decisions but you still stay with

them because you've been given a reason

to like them this is really really

common in so many different types of

storytelling especially lately as

Hollywood is trying to really change the

cookie cutter happy endings happy

endings stories that we are so used to

so character is really important usually

whoever the main character is we care

about them right unless they're just

boring and lame and we don't like that

whatever so it's important you as

someone who's writing about these things

you need to be able to form an opinion

and say something valuable now let's

talk about the benefit and the reason to

write about literature in the first


you are not trying to write the only

possible paper on the topic because with

any fiction or poetry paper there

there's no limit to the different

perspectives that can be presented on

that paper right because anyone who

reads it might look at it a little bit

differently the value of writing about

literature is to point out things that

might be valuable so there's a huge

focus on perspective and the further you

get into college we probably call this

literary theory but for this level let's

just use the term perspective so you

might focus on something you want to

talk about like point of view or

character or setting and talk about how

these things affect the story in a

significant way

it could be good it could be bad but

whatever point you make you want to

explain why it's significant to pay

attention to that and you want to give

examples and you want to back it up and

when possible you want to bring in

outside sources to talk about it as well

so let's let's look at the decor

supplement which is part of the web

course as an example okay so as you look

at the course supplement you're gonna

see that there's different chapters

chapter one lines up with this video

here how to write a literary analysis

paper on a short story which is your

goal for the week so there we go

okay so there's a brief introduction

that kind of covers some of the things

I've already talked about and it leads

into your activity number three for the

week which is an online forum for you to

talk about what you've read and kind of

mall over some ideas with your

classmates so as with any discussion

forum you've got to be nice you got to

be respectful it's okay to disagree with

someone but keep it classy right okay so

here a couple topics to keep you focused

you could talk about the literary

elements questions like what is the

difference between plot and theme or you

can focus on something specific to

literary analysis like asking questions

like what is literary analysis how do

you read scholarly articles things like

that because that's ultimately what

we're learning and this week to help us

with subsequent weeks so if you have

access to the AC library I recommend

that you go inside you check it out if

you are completely distant maybe you're

not in Thatcher to get to the library

you still have access to the online

databases for the library and this is

really important in this course because

you need to become familiar using the

online resources for the library so

here's some links go to the EAC website

EAC edu slash academic slash library

that'll get you there you can use your

HeLa Hank login so that you can access

all the databases search for articles

things like that okay so the next thing

that you'll see in the course supplement

is I put a sample paper that I wrote

when I was working on my master's degree

and it's called bodies as language in JM

Coetzee is waiting for the barbarians

this is a paper I presented at a

conference and and so it does exactly

the kind of thing we're trying to do in

this course it it uses a perspective to

talk about an

interpretation for a novel and then it

backs it up and it gives examples it's

not important that you've read the

actual document but I give you some

examples here

and it uses MLA cite some sources there

so once you've you've read through the

course element you've watched this video

and you've discussed oh you've done the

reading for the week you skim through

chapters 1 through 8 in your textbook

and you've talked to your classmates

you've you will have had several

different ways to learn about literary

analysis and it'll get you ready to

write your big assignment for the week

which is right here activity for use

what you've learned from your reading

assignments and from your participation

in the classroom discussion to write a

1,000 word literary analysis on one of

the short stories for in backpack

literature that meets each of the

following requirements so you don't just

pick and choose what you want to do you

have to do all of these things one you

have to write about one or more of the

literary elements discussed and chapters

1 through 8 of the textbook you have to

include a clear and well-thought-out

thesis on your paper topic so you have

to have something to say and it has to

be clear you need to find one or more

scholarly articles using the library's

website to support your thesis statement

and because you're talking about a

source you need to use direct quotes

paraphrases summaries from your textbook

and at least your one scholarly article

of course everything that we do is in

MLA and you have to upload it as a Word

document so let me talk about this in a

little more detail okay

so one more time your assignment you

pick a fiction story out of the first

eight chapters of the book you choose

something you want to focus on or more

of those literary elements like plot

theme something like that and you're

gonna have to go to the EAC

library website to find a source to back

you up now if it's a really famous story

there's probably a lot of sources on it

but what you're learning this week is

how to use a source to to support your

interpretation of something that you're

reading that's incredibly important so

let's talk about how to do this so how

do you write a paper a literary analysis


well again the whole thing is about

perspective in English 101 you learned

how to present a thesis that you had to

look at different evidence and presented

as your own in a way that supports your

perspective learning that now all you're

doing you're bringing in a literary text

a short story that you're going to use

what you learn in 101 to write about a

short story so let's say I want to do

dead man's path by Chinua Achebe I'm

gonna read it I'm gonna develop a

perspective that I want to talk about

maybe I want to talk about setting

because it takes place in Africa and so

I'm gonna focus on that I'm gonna go

into the AC database online I'm gonna

search Virginia che Bay and see if I can

find someone who talks about dead man

path now Qin UHA Bay has written a lot

of other things which have gotten a lot

of attention

maybe the all the sources won't help

with this one but you want to find

something that is relevant to your topic

and then you write a paper that's going

to cite frequently from this so that you

can discuss the story and the

perspective that you are presenting now

you still want to use everything that

you already know you

to have a clear thesis I'm gonna use

evidence you should write an outline to

make sure everything's organized and you

one use your source material frequently

what that's going to teach you are the

basics from what you need for the

research paper that's coming up and a

couple of weeks know this video assumes

that you already understand several key

concepts one you know how to use the

source to you know how to use MLA all

we're doing is we're taking and we're

focusing on literary elements in a paper

so you need to form an opinion that

you're going to present a lot of these

things excuse me and write a good paper

and you don't want to do less than a

thousand words because that is the

minimum so that's it if you have

questions ask it in the forum and web

study if these resources don't quite get

everything that you need to get the job

done you can check out other videos on

this channel talks about outlining how

to write essay even how to do MLA it's a

great resource so you might want to

subscribe or simply check out the other

videos on the channel and of course if

you have questions you can ask me so

thanks for watching I'll see you in the

next video