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Fiction Elements
General Rubric
Course Abilities

Course Ability 1-3:

  1. Develop story ideas from concept to final copy
  2. Write compelling dialogue, scenes, and resolutions
  3. Craft and edit fiction of various types

Story Arc

0  Story arc is indiscernible. Coherent patterns are indiscernible. Conflict, complicating elements are neglected such that resolution has no impact or is difficult to assemble.

1  Story arc is apparent but underdeveloped. Coherent patterns are under developed. Conflict, complicating elements are neglected such that resolution has little impact or is difficult to assemble.

2  Story arc is developed and coherent but may be underdeveloped in some areas. May lack flow and coherence of some parts. Coherent patterns are developed but may be under developed in some areas. Conflict, complicating elements are developed and resolution is climactic and controlled. May show inconsistency in arc elements.

3 Story arc is developed fully. Arc reveals coherent patterns of organization. Conflict, complicating elements are engaging, thoughtfully plotted, and lead to dramatic and coherent climax and resolution.

Character Development

0  Characters are undeveloped, artless, and their interactions are arbitrary and non-dramatic.  Characters are flat and unresolved as agents in the story arc. Characters show inconsistent behavior in story as a whole. Characters are difficult to distinguish in their roles.

1 Characters are underdeveloped and weakly dramatic. Interactions may have potential but dialogue and gesture remain flat and routine. Characters are flat and only partially resolved as agents in the story arc. Characters show inconsistent behavior relevant to the story. Characters show potential.

2  Characters are developed but may show inconsistency in their action and purpose. Interactions are sincere but are sometimes prone to inconsistency in their interactions.  Characters are dynamic and often resolved as agents in the story arc. Characters show consistent behavior relevant to the story. Characters are distinguishable in their roles and behave according to the logic of the story world. Good attention paid to building consistency here.

3 Characters are developed fully in their action, art, and purpose.  Interactions are lively and dramatic.  Characters are dynamic and resolved as agents in the story arc. Characters show consistent behavior relevant to the story. Characters are distinguishable in their roles and behave according to the logic of the story world. Character study is thoughtful, unique, and powerfully resolved in the arc.

Story World

0 World is indistinct, dimensionless, and abstract.

1 World is under developed, shows little dimension and contrast, and plays arbitrary role in story.

2 World is distinct, often shows multidimensional qualities, and plays a role in the story.

3 World is cleverly and distinctly drawn into the logic of the story. World feels inhabited and multidimensional. Setting is controlled and attention is paid to details and interactions.

Narrative Structure

0  Structural elements are arbitrary, unclear, or incoherent. Little attention paid to divisions, scenes, and sequences. Time is treated arbitrarily or ambiguously.

1  Structural elements are often arbitrary or incoherent or read as routine interactions. Divisions, scenes, and sequences are symptomatic of underdeveloped story arc, characters, and story world. Events and actions are under developed, routine, or arbitrary in relation to the story premise. Time is treated casually.

2  Structural elements are often coherent and draw interest to the story’s actions and events. Divisions and sequences are developed re the story arc, characters, and story world. Some structural elements may be inconsistent against the whole. Events and actions in relation to Time are coherent and play a role in the revealing of the story

3 Structural elements show clear, controlled, and thoughtful sense of transition. Divisions and sequences reveal character tensions and conflict development and resolution. Story is dramatically structured. Events and actions weave story development artfully and adhere to the logic of the world.