How to Write Different Kinds of Letters

Today, there are a variety of different letters for different purposes. Depending on the purpose of the letter and the recipient, I think that a letter should be written a certain way. I will show you how to write a friendly letter to a friend or family member, a memo for someone within a company, a medical report, a diary entry, and a magazine article.

Friendly Letter

Here is a template for a friendly letter:

 

[First Name Last Name]
[Street Address]
[City, Province, Postal Code]

Date

Dear [Recipient’s name],

In the opening of your friendly letter, you should ask the recipient how they are doing and what they have been up to.

In the middle of your letter, you should tell the recipient how you yourself are doing and what you have been doing lately. The real purpose for writing the letter will also be stated. This can be about a situation that has occurred that has affected you or the recipient of the letter, news, or anything that you would like the person to know.

At the end of your letter, say a goodbye statement and state whether you expect the person to send a letter back to you.

[Salutation]

[Your name]

Here is an example of a letter:

Jane Parabola
4200 Lakeshore Drive
Ostagar, BC, V5L 3T4

March 13, 2012

Dear Alistair:

How are you doing, brother? I hope you and your wife, Anora, are doing well in Fereldan. I have been thinking about you a lot lately and miss you very much. How is little David doing? Did you enjoy your trip to Orlais this summer? I would love to hear from you.

Over here in Ostagar, life has not been very easy for me. Joe has been acting very odd lately.  We don’t have that chemistry and connection that we used to have 10 years ago. When I talk to him, it’s like I’m talking to a complete stranger. Maybe he is having an affair! I have a feeling that he is sleeping with one of maids behind my back. Who knows? And on top that, I caught Jimmy smoking cigarettes with the Bacon Brothers last week! If he keeps hanging around those criminals, I fear that he is going to turn into a hoodlum.

I feel like you are the only person I can talk to. I’ve just been so depressed lately. Please tell me what I should do about Joe and Jimmy. I’m concerned for the both of them. I hope you and your family are doing well. Please send my regards to them and reply to me soon.

Love,

Jane Parabola

Memo

Here is a template for a memo:

[Company name]

Memo

To: [First and last name] (email address)

From: [First and last name] (email address)

CC: [First and last name] (email address)

Date:

Re: [Title]

The contents of the memo are short, concise, and tell the recipient information.

Here is an example of a memo:

Parabola Inc.

Memo

To: George Carver (george482@yahoo.com)

From: King Joseph Parabola (j.parabola@parabola.com)

CC: James Shepherd (j.shepherd @parabola.com)

Date: March 13, 2012

Re: Bethany Carver Incident

Bethany Carver was attacked by a bird on March 12, 2012. Unfortunately, she lost her nose in the incident. She was sent to Ostagar General Hospital shortly after and emergency surgery took place to repair her nose. Due to the need for immediate surgery, Parabola Inc. paid for the expenses. You now owe Parabola Inc. $10000.

Medical Report

Here is a template for a medical report:

Date:

Patient Name: [First and last name]

Reporting Physician’s Name: Dr. [First and last name]

OVERVIEW

This is a brief summary that tells the reader what the report is about. The most important features are stated, as well as the main conclusion.

BACKGROUND

This introduces the subject and explains the reason for the report. The who, what, when, where, and why should be included.

DISCUSSION

This section presents the findings of the physician in and organized and logical fashion.

CONCLUSION

Major points that can be drawn from the discussion are briefly stated. If there is more than one conclusion, state the main conclusion first, and the remaining conclusions in decreasing order of importance.

Here is an example of a medical report:

Date: March 13, 2012

Patient Name: Bethany Carver

Reporting Physician’s Name: Dr. James Shepherd

OVERVIEW

Bethany Carver is a young woman whose nose was removed by a bird. Her nose has been replaced through surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

BACKGROUND

Bethany Carver was attacked by a bird on March 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM, which resulted in the mutilation of her nose. Carver’s nose was bitten off completely, which created a large wound that bled heavily. When paramedics arrived at the scene at 12:04 PM, Carver was administered Tylenol by mouth to temporarily stop the bleeding. Upon arrival at Ostagar General Hospital at 12:20 PM, Carver was immediately taken to the operating room, where emergency nose replacement surgery took place to replace her nose. Surgery was successfully completed at 5:30 PM.

DISCUSSION

Before the surgical procedure, initial inspection showed that the wound was located on the middle of the patient’s face; the nose was gone completely. In order to repair the patient’s nose, 500 mL of Robitussin was poured onto the wound. Robitussin promotes the growth and regeneration of body cells, which was perfect for this situation. Instant regeneration occurred after the administration of Robitussin and the patient was fully healed.

CONCLUSION

Bethany Carver’s surgery was successful. Her nose is fully healed and intact. However, she may feel pain in her nose in the first month after surgery. To relieve the pain, she may take Aspirin up to 4 times a day. If the pain persists after one month, she must see a doctor for an examination.

Diary Entry

Diaries are personal reflections that are kept private and only the writer may read them. Entries are usually informal. The way that diary entries are written is entirely up to the writer, but the date should always be noted to easily remember when you wrote an entry. They can be long or short, be used to reflect on situations, and include photos or mementos.

Here is an example of a diary entry:

March 12, 2012

Dear Diary,

The strangest thing happened at work today! While I was watering the daffodils for King Joseph, Bethany got her nose bit off by bird. You don’t see things like that every day, that’s for sure. Serves that girl right! She has been way too touchy with the King. I always see her coming out of the King’s quarters late at night. I’m shocked that the Queen hasn’t noticed that her husband has been having an affair for nine years now. What a blind lady!

Other than Bethany’s incident, nothing special happened today. It was just another day today. After work, I felt pretty pooped, so I went home and watched Jersey Shore for four hours. Jersey Shore is great! Well, that’s it for now. Talk to you later, Diary.

Magazine Article

Magazine articles are written in an inverted pyramid form from most to least important information. The lead paragraph tells the reader the who, what, when, where, and why of the article. After the lead paragraph, the writer must anticipate what other information regarding the article that the reader will want to know and answer any questions that readers may have. In addition, include quotes from witnesses or bystanders after the lead paragraph. In the conclusion of the article, the information is the least important. You may include information about a similar event or challenge, a salutation, or speculations.

Here is a template of a magazine article:

[Title]

[Picture]

By [Author’s first and last name]● [Leading paragraph]

[Explanation of article from most to least important information]

[Conclusion]

Here is an example of a magazine article:

Killer Bird Mutilates Woman

Blackbird

By Leon Lai ● On March 12, 2012, Bethany Carver was doing her regular morning routine of doing laundry for the King of Ostagar. As she was hanging the King’s garments to dry, seemingly out of thin air, a rabid blackbird came swooping down on her. This ferocious animal dived down from the sky and assaulted Carver, leaving the scene with her nose in its mouth.

Carver was in agonizing pain during this horrific encounter. Blood was gushing everywhere from the area where her nose used to be. Luckily, Tom Flower, one of the King’s gardeners, was nearby when the catastrophe occurred and called for an ambulance. Carver was taken to Ostagar General Hospital, shortly after, where emergency nose replacement surgery took place. Carver is still in hospital recovering from her trauma and is going to make a full recovery.

“[The procedure] went very smoothly,” stated Dr. James Shepherd, Carver’s surgeon, “A full recovery is expected.”

“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” said Tom Flower, “It all just happened in an instant!”

The vicious bird is still yet to be found. A rumour has arisen, stating that the bird escaped from the Ostagar Asylum for Animals. We went to the facility to ask some questions, but they refused to comment on the matter.

Thank you for reading my long post on how to write different kinds of letters. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to write better friendly letters, diary entries, memos, and maybe even better medical reports and magazine articles.

Works Cited

Emilio, Juan. A Common Blackbird in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 12 Feb. 2011. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turdus_merula_-Gran_Canaria,_Canary_Islands,_Spain-8_(2).jpg>.

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KONY 2012

About one week ago, on March 5, a film called KONY 2012 was released on YouTube by Invisible Children Inc. The purpose of the film is to raise global awareness of Joseph Kony, the most wanted man on the International Criminal Court’s list for crimes against humanity, including murder, abduction, mutilation, and child rape.

KONY 2012 has become a viral video on YouTube. After eight days, it has already been viewed over 76 million times worldwide. What has helped spread this video to millions of viewers all over the world is social media. I first learned about KONY 2012 through my news feed on Facebook. Usually, whenever my friends share YouTube videos on Facebook, I never look at them. However, a huge number of my friends were sharing KONY 2012 on Facebook. This sparked some curiosity in me, so I decided to watch the video. Soon after, I felt compelled to share the video as well. The film moved me, and I think that the KONY 2012 campaign is a righteous movement that will hopefully bring justice to Joseph Kony.

Although I support the effort to raise awareness of Joseph Kony, I am skeptical of the organization behind the movement, Invisible Children Inc. There have been speculations about Invisible Children Inc., regarding how they spend their money, which I came across on social media. According to one of the organizations financial statements, only 31% of the funds that they receive go towards actually helping people, while the rest goes in the pockets of the people in charge of the organization, travel expenses, and filmmaking. If you are thinking about donating to Invisible Children Inc., I would recommend that you do additional research before you do so or reconsider donating to a different organization that uses more than 31% of its fund to help the people it aims to help.

To conclude, I think social media is a great tool to help spread awareness on big issues in the world. The amount of awareness of Joseph Kony has grown immensely in the past week with the help of social media, and I think it’s great. But, it shouldn’t end at just trying to stop Joseph Kony. Awareness of other issues in the world should be raised as well. Social media can be a great tool to do that, which has already been proved by the KONY 2012 movement.

I will end off with a quote of a Facebook status from one of my friends, who will remain anonymous.

“On the subject of KONY 2012, yes, absolutely spread word. It’s important to have this kind of thing stopped around the world. But, don’t forget that this is one of many atrocities occurring in a few of many, many countries. There are many “liberation armies” all over Africa. There are many, many, many injustices all over the world. Don’t forget about the rest of the world, no matter how terrible this particular situation may be.”

Works Cited
Considine & Considine. Invisible Children, Inc. Financial Statements June 30, 2011 and 2010. San Diego: Considine & Considine, 22 Sept. 2011. PDF.
KONY 2012. Dir. Jason Russell. Perf. Jason Russell. YouTube. YouTube, 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. .
Stiles, Sarah. “Ugandan Leader Made Famous through KONY 2012 Campaign.” The Parthenon. Marshall University, 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. .

My First Team

            As I change into a t-shirt and shorts in the boys’ changing room, I feel a mixture of excitement and sleepiness. Right now, it is 7:00 AM. Today is the first day of tryouts for the Bantam Boys Volleyball team. It’s the first time that I’ve ever been to a tryout for a high school sports team. Basketball, soccer, and badminton are sports that are really popular among many students here at Britannia Secondary School. I was never interested in those sports. However, the one sport that I love is volleyball. Volleyball has always been my favourite sport. Back at Seymour Elementary School, I was a strong volleyball player on the Senior Boys Volleyball team during my grade seven year. I was never good at playing most sports, but I was decent at volleyball.

            After I change into my gym strip, I go to the gym and sit on the bench with the rest of the guys who are trying out for the team. A young man stands in front of us with a stern look on his face and his arms crossed. He looks like he is in his early thirties. “My name is David Ng,” says the intimidating looking man. “I am going to be your volleyball coach this season. I’d like to get you boys started right away. Everybody grab a partner and a ball to share between the two of you. Then, start underhand passing to each other.”

            I get up from the bench and look at my friend, Jian, who is sitting on the end of the bench. “Hey,” I say. “Want to be partners, Jian?” Jian sits next to me in my math and science classes. He is my partner for many projects in the classes that we share, so we work well together. And since I don’t know anybody else, Jian is an ideal partner.

            “Sure,” Jian replies. “I’ll go get a ball.” Jian goes to the basket of volleyballs in the corner of the gym, picks one up, and returns with a ball. Jian points to an area across the gym. “Let’s go over there,” Jian says. “There’s more room there.”

            “Alright,” I say. We go to the area that Jian suggests and stand about three metres away from each other. Jian tosses the ball to me and we begin underhand passing to each other. Whenever I attempt to pass the ball to him, Jian has to work hard to receive it because the ball always goes in different directions. But whenever Jian passes to me, the ball goes straight to me and I hardly have to move. I begin to feel frustrated because of my poor passing. I look around the gym and see that everybody is passing to each other really well. I seem to be the only one who is struggling.

            Without me realizing it, Jian passes the ball to me and the ball drops to the floor right in front of me. “Come on, Leon,” Jian says. “Focus!”

            Before I could pick the ball up from the ground, David blows his whistle. “Alright boys,” says David, in a loud, assertive voice. “Time for the next drill. With the same partner, I want you to set the ball to each other.”

            I pick up the volleyball, toss it to Jian, and we begin setting the ball to each other. He sets the ball into the air and the volleyball is beautifully placed right in front of me. I attempt to set the ball to Jian, but he has to hustle for it because I’m not able to push the ball far enough for it to reach him. “Come on, Leon. Focus!” Jian says, for the second time.

            “I’m trying!” I respond. I really am trying. Every time I try to set the ball, no matter how hard I try, the ball does not reach my partner. This is terrible. I look around the gym once again and realize that I’m the only one who is struggling again. I feel like a fish out of water.  Maybe I don’t belong on the volleyball team. How can I expect to get on the team if I can’t even pass or set the ball?  I have to step my game up.

            The sound of a whistle signals us to stop what we’re doing. “Alright, boys,” shouts David. “Let’s do some spiking. Give me all the balls and line up single-file behind the attack line. When I toss the ball, I want you to spike it over the net. Then, fetch the ball, put it on the ground beside me, and go back in line.”

            I line up behind the attack line with the other boys. I don’t feel very eager to spike after executing such poor sets and passes, so I stand at the very back of the line, behind Jian. David tosses the ball up in the air. The first boy approaches the net, jumps up two feet in the air and savagely pounds the ball over the net. The ball lands in the corner of the court with incredible force.

            “Holy cow,” I say to Jian. “That spike was nuts!” I am in total awe. The ball went down so fast that I thought that a trail of smoke was behind it. “Who is that guy?” I ask Jian.

            “His name is Jake.” Jian responds. “He was the captain of the volleyball team at my elementary school in grade seven.”

            David tosses another ball in the air and the next boy spikes the volleyball. The ball goes over the net, but it is nowhere near as impressive as Jake’s hit. As the other boys in front of me in the line-up get their turn to spike, I continue thinking about Jake’s amazing spike. I think about how the ball was hit with such unbelievable force and killer accuracy. If I’m going to be on this team, I’m going to have to perform a massive spike. My passes and sets earlier were absolutely awful, so this is my last opportunity to impress David.

            When it is finally my turn to spike, I position myself on the attack line. “Come on, Leon,” I say to myself under my breath. “Focus! You can do this!” David tosses the ball in the air. While keeping my eyes on the ball, I approach the net, and jump up as high as I can. I use my left hand to point at the target and pull back my right hand beside my ear, like an archer readying his bow. Then, I ferociously strike the ball over the net as hard as I can. The ball lands on the centre of the other side of the court with great force.

            As I run to the other side of the court to fetch the ball, I am full of joy. I can’t believe that I spiked the ball so well. I place the ball on the ground beside David, and run back to the line-up.

            “Nice spike, Leon,” Jian says. “I wasn’t expecting that from you!”

            “Yeah,” says Jake, as he lines up behind me. “That was pretty sick, man!”

            I feel flattered. “Thanks, guys,” I reply. “It was probably just a fluke.”

            When it is my turn to spike again, I’m able to spike the volleyball just as impressively and with as much force as I did previously. I’m ecstatic. “Maybe it wasn’t a fluke after all.” I say to myself, as I fetch the ball. We do a few more rounds of spiking and I continue to spike the ball well.

            “Alright, boys,” David says. “Since this is only the first day of tryouts, I think that’s enough for today. Hit the showers, and I will see you all tomorrow morning for day two of tryouts.” David points his finger to me. “Hey, I want to talk to you for a second.”

            I nervously walk over to David and wonder what he wants to say to me. Everybody else is in the change room, so only David and I are in the gym.

            “I was watching you a lot today,” David says. “You need to work on your passing and setting skills, but you can do some killer spikes! I was really impressed. I think that you can be a great offensive player on the team.”

“Thanks a lot, coach!”

“Now, hit the showers. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

            I turn around and walk towards the change room. I begin to feel really good about myself. Maybe I do belong here after all.

How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

           A fine friendship bracelet should look elaborately woven with a beautiful array of colours that complement each other and unite to form a wonderful bracelet. I learned how to make friendship bracelets at a summer camp called Camp Goodtimes when I was twelve years old. At this camp, all the campers and camp counsellors made cool friendship bracelets for each other. As a newcomer to Camp Goodtimes, I was intrigued by how popular friendship bracelets were, so I asked my camp counsellor, Greg, to teach me how to make friendship bracelets. After being a counsellor at the camp for five summers, Greg was a master at making friendship bracelets and was happy to teach me. Now, after attending Camp Goodtimes for four summers in a row and making hundreds of delicate friendship bracelets, I have also become an expert at making friendship bracelets.

            Before you make a friendship bracelet, you must think of someone to give it to. This person can be someone you’ve just recently met, someone that you want to become friends with, or even a long-time buddy. The first time I wanted to make a friendship, I wanted to give it to a close friend of mine at Camp Goodtimes, named Michael. For me, Michael was somebody that I thought deserved a friendship bracelet because he was he was a kind and funny guy and was one of the first friends that I made at Camp Goodtimes.  Once you determine who you want to give a friendship bracelet to, you are ready to begin crafting a marvellous friendship bracelet.

            To make a friendship bracelet, first you must choose three different coloured embroidery threads. When choosing colours, choose colours that go well together, such as contrasting colours or complementary colours. This will make the friendship bracelet more attractive. One time when I did this, I coincidentally chose all of the favourite colours of the person that I gave the bracelet to. If you know the person’s favourite colours, making a friendship bracelet out of those colours may be a good idea. Once you have chosen three colours, get a single thread that is 80 cm long for each colour. Hold all the strings together by one end, making sure that all the strings line up with each other, there are no strings that are twisted with other strings, and there are no knots in the strings. Then, while holding one end of the strings with one hand, grab the other end of the string, bring the two ends together, and tie a very small, tight knot using these ends. After that, get a safety pin and pierce through the centre of the knot with the needle of the safety pin. It is important that you pierce the centre of the knot, not the sides of the knot, because in a later step, the strings will be pulled and there could be a risk that the knot will be undone in the process. I remember one time near the end of the camp; I wanted to make friendship bracelets as quickly as I could for everybody that I met before the camp was over. All the people were so awesome that I thought that everyone deserved a friendship bracelet. I was so rushed that I accidentally pierced the knot one of the strings incorrectly, which later became undone and forced me to start over again.

            The next step to making a friendship bracelet is to pinch a small section of the fabric on your pants at a point three inches above your knee on the front side of your leg. With the needle of the safety pin still in the knot, pierce through the fabric of your pants that you just pinched, and fasten the safety pin to secure it. Now, you should have three large loops of strings. Hook the loops of each individual string with your fingers and your palm facing down so that there is one loop on your left middle finger, one loop on your right index finger, and one loop on your right middle finger, making sure that none of the strings are twisted or tangled. The next two steps describe the weaving process and are the most crucial steps of making the friendship bracelet. While pulling the strings with enough force so that there is no slack, put your unoccupied index finger through the top of the loop that is being hooked by your opposite index finger, hook your unoccupied index finger on the loop that is being held by the middle finger of the opposite hand, release the hook that was held by the middle finger, and pull your hands apart so that there is no longer slack, while maintaining your hold on the strings. With the hand that has only one loop of string, transfer the loop to the middle finger so that the middle finger is hooked onto the string, instead of the index finger. Repeat the last two steps until your fingers can no longer easily fit through the loops. Lastly, release your fingers from the loops of string. The friendship bracelet is finally complete. The next you meet the person that you want to give the friendship bracelet to, tie it around their wrist with a knot.

            To this day, I still remember the look on Michael’s face when I gave him the first friendship bracelet that I ever made. His face lit up like a bright shining star. Soon after receiving the friendship bracelet, Michael made a friendship bracelet for me as well. Many years have passed since the bracelet broke and fell of my wrist, but my friendship with Michael lives on.

            I like to make friendship bracelets because by giving someone a friendship bracelet, you show that you are the person’s friend. The friendship bracelet symbolizes the friendship that you have with the person and lets the person know that they mean something to you. When people receive my friendship bracelets, they feel special. In my opinion, making others feel special is the most rewarding part of making friendship bracelets.

The Lesson

            As I play with my red Tonka truck on the coffee table in the living room, I hear Mom coming through the front door. “Hi Leon,” Mom says. “I’m home from the grocery store!” Mom puts her grocery bags on the kitchen table, reaches into one of the bags to grab something, and walks towards me. “Here,” Mom says. She gives me a small, thin pink brick. “This is gum. You put it in your mouth and chew it.” I excitedly take the pink brick from her hand. “What do you say, Leon?”

            “Thank you, Mom.” I say. Mom always wants me to say thank you when people give things to me. She smiles, and goes back to the kitchen to put away the groceries. I examine the label on the bright pink brick which says, “Hubba Bubba: Sassy Strawberry and Luscious Lemon”. I tear off the paper from one end of the pink brick, which reveals several small cubes of pink and yellow gum. I take one of the pink cubes, remove the wrapper surrounding it, and put the fluorescent pink cube into my mouth.

“Mmmm,” I say to myself. “This is so good!” As soon as I bite into the gum, bursts of sweet strawberry flavour are exploding in my mouth. The gum is more flavourful than any strawberry that I’ve ever eaten. I had never tasted candy like this before. At first, the gum is stiff and hard. But the longer I chew it, the softer it becomes. After a few moments, the gum finally becomes soft enough for me to swallow it.

I look at my pink brick, and count the remaining pieces of gum. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.” Since, there are so many pieces left; I decide to have another piece of the tantalizing gum. This time, I try the yellow cube instead. “If the other one was Sassy Strawberry, this must be Luscious Lemon!” I say to myself. I remove the yellow wrapper from the gum, and pop the vibrant yellow cube into my mouth. Unlike the Sassy Strawberry flavoured gum, which was exceptionally sweet, the Luscious Lemon flavoured gum has a pleasant sour flavour that is not overpowering. I chew the delectable gum for a few moments, and swallow it.

“Hmmm, I wonder what it would be like if I ate both flavours at the same time!” I say. I eagerly remove the wrapping from a radiant pink cube and a bright yellow cube and put both pieces of gum in my mouth. The flavours are even more powerful when they are put together. My mouth is bombarded by a surge of incredible flavours. It’s like there’s party in my mouth and everyone’s invited. As soon as the gum become soft enough, I swallow them.

Mom comes into the living room, with a glass of orange juice in her hand, and puts the glass in on the coffee table in front of me. “I squeezed you some orange juice,” Mom says. “Have a drink.” I take the glass and drink the orange juice. “What do you say?” Mom says.

“Thank you, Mom.” I say politely.

Mom looks at the gum wrappers on the table. “Wow, you’ve chewed so much gum already! That was quick!”

“Yes, they were so good. I love them so much that I can’t stop eating them. Can you buy me more?” I ask.

“Sure. I’m glad that you like them.” Suddenly, Mom looks at me in disbelief. “Wait,” Mom says. “You ate them?”

I nod.

“Leon, you’re not supposed to eat gum. I told you that you were supposed to chew them. No more gum for you, mister!” She takes the remaining pieces of gum, and walks towards her bedroom.

I am shocked when she takes my gum. “Mom, what are you doing?!”

“I’m taking the gum away from you so that you don’t eat any more.” Mom responds, as she walks away. After a couple minutes, she returns from her room.

“I want my gum!” I yell.

“You are not allowed to have any more gum, and that’s that, mister!” Mom replies. Mom goes to the kitchen to start cooking dinner.

I sit in the living room, frustrated, and play with my red Tonka truck. As I push the toy truck back and forth, I can’t help but think about the delicious gum. I imagine the wonderful taste of strawberries and lemons in my mouth. I imagine the wonderful sensation that I felt when the amazing gum was in my mouth. After a few moments, my mouth begins to water. I must have more gum.

As quietly as I can, I sneak into Mom’s bedroom. Immediately, as I walk through the door, I can see the pack of gum sitting on top of one of her drawers. The drawer is too high for me to reach, so I push a chair against the drawer and climb up the chair to reach the gum. “Yes,” I say to myself. “I’ve got it!” I take one piece of Sassy Strawberry gum, one piece of Luscious Lemon gum, remove the wrappers, and put the pieces of gum in my mouth. I’m in heaven again. As quickly as I can, I finish the rest of the gum, dispose of the wrappers in the garbage, and return to my red Tonka truck in the living room. Mom is still busy in the kitchen and does not have a clue what just happened.

After a few minutes of playing with my Tonka truck, my stomach begins to hurt. It gets more and more painful as time goes on. I’ve never had a stomach ache this bad before. My stomach feels like it is being assaulted by an army. I go to the kitchen to talk to Mom. “Mom, my stomach hurts really badly.”

“It probably hurts because you swallowed that gum, Leon.” Mom replies.

Then, I realize what I’ve just done. “Mom, I went into your room and ate the rest of the gum. I’m sorry.” I say.

“Oh my goodness!” Mom is shocked. “I told you not to eat the gum! Let me take you to your room. You should lie down and relax to make your stomach feel better.” Mom walks me to my bedroom and puts me in bed. “After you get better, you’re going to be in big trouble, mister!”

I lie in my bed, trying to endure the pain as well as I can. I hate gum.

The Elements of Fiction

Fiction is a form of literature that comprises of novels and short stories which describe imaginary events. All good fiction should have certain elements. These elements are: a setting, characters, a problem, a plot, suspense, a point of view, and a theme.

Setting

The setting is when and where the story takes place. When determining the setting of a story, one should be mindful of the place, time, date, season, weather, and the character’s state of mind.

Characters

There are a few different kinds of characters. The protagonist is the main character of the story and is usually “the good guy.” The character who opposes the protagonist is known as the antagonist and is usually “the bad guy.” There can be several antagonists in a story, but there is usually one major antagonist, while the others are minor antagonists.

Dynamic characters are characters that change, especially their personalities, the way they think, or their status, during the course of the story. Usually, the protagonist is a dynamic character. On the other hand, static characters are characters that always remain the same. Minor characters in stories are often static characters.

Round characters are characters that are fully developed. Readers will know information about round characters, such as their background and their motivation. Flat characters are characters that readers know very little about and are usually stereotypical representations (for example, a loving and caring mother).

Problem

The problem is an internal or external problem that the protagonist faces in the story. An internal problem is a problem that the character has with oneself. An external problem is a problem that the character has that is not internal. A few examples of different kinds of problems are: character vs. nature, character vs. society, character vs. self, and character vs. character.

Plot

The plot is what happens in the story. A plot is comprised of an introduction, rising action, a climax, falling action, and a conclusion. The introduction introduces the setting, most major characters, and the problem. Next, the rising action is when the protagonist tries to solve the problem or the problem grows. Following the rising action is the climax, which is the height of action or intensity in the story. After that, the falling action is when the story is wrapping up and the problem is either solved or remains unsolved. Finally, the conclusion is when the story ends.

Suspense

Suspense foments uncertainty about what happens next in a story. Things that generate suspense are cliffhangers, foreshadowing, flashbacks, flash-forwards, and red herrings. Cliffhangers are parts in the story that leave the reader hanging and don’t immediately tell you what happens next. Foreshadowing makes the reader predict what is going to happen. A flashback returns the reader to a time earlier than the current point in the story. A flash-forward is similar to a flashback, except future events are seen instead of past events. A red herring is something that keeps the reader wondering, but actually doesn’t mean anything.

Point of View

There are four different kinds of point of view that the narrator can have. The first-person point of view is a point of view from a person in the story and uses the word “I” to refer to his or herself. The second-person point of view has a narrator that never refers to his or herself and uses the word “you” to refer to the protagonist. The third-person omniscient point of view is a point of view from an all-knowing person who is not in the story. This narrator knows where characters are, what they are doing, how they are feeling and what they are thinking. The limited omniscient third-person point of view is similar to the third-person omniscient point of view, except the narrator doesn’t know what characters are thinking or feeling. Only things that can be seen are known by the limited omniscient third-person narrator.

Theme

The theme of a fictional work is a central idea that often teaches a lesson or a moral that is drawn from the events in the story. Short stories and novels can have multiple themes.