8th Grade English: Ms. Rauschenberg
Literature Terms: Genre
A type or category of literature is called a genre.
There are four main literary genres: fiction, nonfiction,
poetry, and drama.
- Fiction: writing that
comes from the author's imagination (not true)
- Nonfiction: writing
about real people, places, and events
- Drama: writing that is intended
to be performed
- Poetry: a compact
form writing that is often highly figurative and
often has particular sound effects such as rhyme
The four main genres are not always completely
separate. For example, a drama may be either fiction
or non-fiction. A poem may tell a fictional story.
Within each of the main genres, there are subgenres.
For example, within fiction there are genres like
historical fiction, romance, science fiction, westerns,
etc. Within nonfiction there are biographies, autobiographies,
self-help books, manuals, etc.
Drama: literature that
is intended to be performed for an audience, either
on stage or in front of a camera
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Elements of Drama
Like fiction, drama usually tells a story and
- plot (and conflict)
- and theme
Unlike fiction, since drama is meant to be performed,
it is written in a special form called a script,
in which lines are written out for the characters
Parts of a script
Cast of characters: a list
of the characters, usually shown in the order
they appear. The list may or may not have brief
descriptions of the characters.
Stage directions: instructions
(often shown in italics) for the actors, director,
and crew (camera, lights, props, etc.)
Dialogue: the lines and conversations
for the actors
Much like books are divided into chapters, scripts
are divided into acts and scenes.
Long dramas are usually divided into two or three
acts. During a performance, there is generally an
intermission between acts. Each act is divided into
scenes. A new scene begins whenever the setting
changes (time, place, or both).
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