Because you are going to read a work of fiction (a short story or
an excerpt from a novel), the purpose of reading will be different
from the reading of a newspaper article or a scientific article.
Articles are written to inform; fiction is written to entertain.
You read articles in search of information; you read works of fiction for
enjoyment and entertainment.
Works of fiction have certain elements in common (plot, characters,
tone and theme), but each work of fiction stresses different elements depending
on the author's purpose for writing the story.
Stories relate an event which occurred to one or more characters
at a particular time and place. The time and place in which the events
take place constitute the setting; the series of events is known
as the plot.
Identifying the setting, the characters and the plot is the first step
in understanding and enjoying a story.