There are five basic elements to any fictional story, and it’s the combination of these elements that makes the story complete, interesting, and considered good writing.
Too much of one or not enough of another can affect the readers ability to connect with the story.
So what are the basic elements of a story?
4. Point of view
Let’s break them down:
1. The Protagonist: Introduce the main character.
Using your imagination you can make him unique. He can have particular mannerisms or quirks, or even distinct physical attributes. You can also make him likeable or unsavory, but remember you will need the reader to be able to create a connection to him. It’s this connection that will prompt the reader to continue reading on. Your protagonist needs to be real…believable.
2. The Setting: This will establish the time and place the story takes place.
The setting can create a feeling and mood – if you’re writing about swashbuckling pirates, your reader will be in a certain mind set. The same holds true for any other setting you choose. It will be intrinsic to the plot/conflict and will help establish vivid imagery for the reader.
3. The Plot: This is the meat of the story – the forward movement, the conflict or struggle that drives the protagonist toward his goal.
This involves any danger, suspense, romance, or other reader grabbing occurrence. The conflict can be emotional (an internal struggle – a tormented soul) or physical (from an external/outside force – good against evil).
4. Point of View: This establishes whose point of view the story is being told.
It’s important to make this clear.
Even if you have two main characters, there needs to be one who is primary in order to keep clarity within the story.
5. The Theme: This establishes what is important to the story.
It usually evolves along with the story and the protagonist’s progression.
If Jesus is your protagonist, establishing and promoting Christianity might be the theme.
It might be the story’s view on life and the people/characters the protagonist encounters.
It is the idea the author wants the reader to take away with him/her.
Utilizing each of these elements can create a unique, fascinating, and memorable story.
Just like the ingredients in a cooking recipe, writing has its own set of ingredients that produce a wonderful end product.
A pinch here, a dab there – you hold the unique recipe to your story.
About Karen Cioffi
Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, children’s ghostwriter, as well as an author/writer online platform marketing instructor.
She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move (a promotional group of authors/writers utilizing cross-promotion).
Her site, Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing, was named Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012. Brian A. Klems, Online Editor for Writer’s Digest commented: “This site from Karen Cioffi should stand as a model for other freelance writers.”
For more on children’s writing, stop by Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
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