Essential Elements of a Story: The Recipe for a Great Narrative

An artist’s craft is telling a story. A good story engulfs you and takes you away to a new place. After it’s over, it stays with you forever. Is there a secret formula to crafting a compelling tale? Every extraordinary story, regardless of genre, has certain elements in common. These crucial elements ensure that the plot moves forward in a logical fashion that the reader can follow.

Here are six elements you’ll find in almost any story👇🏾🖊️

1. Theme

First and foremost, you need to know why you’re writing this story before you can figure out what motivates your characters or the plot. If so, what is the overall message you want to convey? Are you trying to elicit a specific emotion?

If your story has a well-developed central theme, your readers will remember it more than the sum of its parts. Instead of laying out the specifics of your story’s central theme, try to incorporate it into other aspects of the story and let your readers discover it on their own.

2. Characters

In order to keep readers engaged, you must have a well-developed cast of characters who are the lifeblood of your story. Your story will progress as a result of their personalities and interactions with one another.

Your story will be more relatable if you have well-developed characters.. It’s easier for readers to feel a sense of empathy for your characters if they can imagine themselves walking in their shoes or recognise aspects of their personalities in other people they know.

3. Setting

Setting is the world in which your story takes place, including the broader locations and times as well as more specific details such as your characters’ schools and workplaces. It’s not uncommon for authors to repurpose well-known plots for new settings. For every time something like this happens, a completely new story emerges from it.

Even though vivid descriptions of the setting will captivate your readers, don’t overdo it and end up boring them to death. It’s important to slowly build the reader’s mental picture of your fictional world into the narrative, just like you did with the theme. This will make the reading experience that much more enjoyable.

4. Plot

We’re finally getting to the meat of the matter: the plot, or the actual events in your story. A story’s tension builds to a climax as the stakes for the protagonist rise in nearly every genre but literary fiction.

Your readers will get bored or confused if your plot is a jumble of random events. A character’s actions are required for every plot point in your story. Because of this, the audience becomes eager to find out what happens next in the story’s “cause & effect” pattern.

5. Conflict

Your story’s conflict is the driving force behind the rising stakes we talked about earlier. When it comes to conflict, it doesn’t matter if it’s external, like an unyielding adversary or internal, like a moral dilemma for your protagonist. It’s through conflict that your protagonist gets a sense of direction, which heightens the suspense. Involved readers are more likely to keep turning the page.

If you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that the central question of every story is:

How far will the protagonist be able to go to get what they desire?

In a nutshell, conflict is the story.

6. Point of View (POV)

This is the perspective from which the story is told. You can choose from a variety of approaches here, each of which has a distinct effect on the overall tone of your story. If the protagonist is held at arm’s length, such as in a third-person omniscient or second-person narrative, the narrative will feel more objective and formal.

Choosing a POV character for your story can have a significant impact on the story’s overall arc. In a murder mystery genre, telling the story from the point of view of the murderer (possibly an unreliable narrator) will be vastly different than telling it from the point of view of the detective.

You can completely alter the course of your plot, the central conflict, and how your audience feels about certain characters by choosing an unconventional viewpoint character.

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