Fiction texts:

  • Aim to entertain the reader.
  • Tell an imagined story, although some fiction is based on real characters, places and events.
  • Use a narrator to tell the story along with dialogue to give the speech of characters.
  • Use descriptive language such as adverbs, adjectives, similes and metaphors. These create imagery or 'word pictures' that help the reader see or feel what is being described.
A label titled 'Features of fiction' has four images around it showing the four features of fiction: 'To entertain', 'To tell an imagined story', 'Uses a narrator' and 'Uses descriptive language'

Fictional-prose, poetry and drama

Fiction texts can be divided into three main types:

  • Fictional prose - prose is any kind of continuous writing (which contrasts in form and structure with poetry). It uses page margins, sentences and paragraphs. It is the type of writing used for short stories and novels.
  • Poetry - contrasts with prose because of its form. The writer controls where lines begin and end on the page and can be creative with punctuation and grammar. It will be in stanzas (verses) that can be traditionally formal or free-flowing ('free verse'). Poets are free to choose the form and structure but it will create a contrast with prose.
  • Drama - is presented on a stage as a play and actors see it in the form of a script. It is words that are spoken along with directions.

Fiction texts are written to entertain their reader - they tell a story, but they can often be thought-provoking, moral or even political. The story-telling form is always emotional for the reader as this is what makes it entertaining. It is this that writers can use to create a persuasive effect.

Some fiction helps us to make sense of life and understand ourselves better; some are a way for the writer to give their views and opinions of the world. Stories allow us to understand places, events and feelings we might never otherwise experience, and to do so safely; they even allow us to read and learn about topics we might not be comfortable discussing.

When you are trying to work out whether or not a text is a fictional story and to understand its purpose, here are some clues to look for:

  • there is a well-developed sense of place, character and action
  • colourful descriptive and figurative or metaphorical language is used to create imagery
  • there is a use of a narrator, either in the first or third person
  • the structure, or sequencing, will create a sense of tension or a desire want to know where it all will lead, or what will happen next