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The Five Elements of a Story

Characters: They are the people in the story.  The story should reveal the character’s name, approximate age, where they are from and most important, their role in the story.

Setting: This is the where and when of the action that takes place in the story.  The setting allows the reader to know what is happening to the characters. Key details help the reader to visualize the story. Nobody wants floating characters. Details about the character’s surroundings help ground the reader to the story.

Plot: This is the road that the story follows.  This road must be clearly laid out for the reader. The road does not have to be straight, twists and turns in the story are always fun.  But it does have to make sense and stay consistent, so the reader can enjoy the story from the first to the last page.  

Conflict: This is the main problem or problems the characters set out in the story to solve.  Each story needs conflict. The conflict can be complex or deceptively simple.  The characters will spend each chapter/ section trying to resolve the conflict(s) until the climax -when all seems lost.

Resolution: This is how the conflict in the story was solved. Were the characters successful? Did everyone live happily ever after? The main question every writer should ask is have they tied up all the loose ends of the plot?  Is the ending consistent with the conflict that was presented? Nothing is more annoying than a forced ending that leaves readers hanging.  And nothing is more satisfying than a good ending to a well-told story.


Click Here for A Simple Guide to Building Your Story.

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