The 7 Essential Story Elements Every Writer Should Know

Hello fellow writers! Today I want to share the importance of understanding the seven basic story elements. As writers, we know that these elements work together to create a strong foundation for a compelling story. So let's break them down and understand why they're important.

First, we have the theme. A theme is the underlying message or lesson you want to convey to your readers. It's what you want them to take away from your story. While it's essential to keep your theme in mind as you write, don't forget to let it flow naturally through your storytelling. Avoid stating the theme explicitly, and instead let it seep through the lines and leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Next, we have memorable characters. Your protagonist or main character should be relatable and have redeemable human flaws. Perfect characters are hard to relate to, so don't be afraid to give your protagonist a character arc that shows growth and change. And don't forget the antagonist. Make them more than just a “bad guy”. Give them believable motives for their actions. Every character in your story should have a purpose and goal, and it's the conflicts they face that drive the story forward.

As for setting, it's important to introduce it subtly throughout the story, rather than in one big chunk of description. Instead of overwhelming your readers with paragraphs of description, show them the setting through the eyes of your characters as they interact with it. This keeps the reader engaged and immersed in the story, while still giving them the necessary details.

Now let's talk about point of view. First, you need to decide what voice you're going to use to tell your story, whether it's first, second or third person. Then choose a point of view character, the one who has the most at stake, to be the lens through which the story is told. Remember to avoid head-hopping, where you switch between different characters within the same scene. Stick to a single point of view to keep your readers engaged and focused.

The plot is the sequence of events that drives your story. Even if you're a pantser, it helps to have a general structure in mind. Start with an intriguing opening, an inciting incident that sets your main character in motion, a series of obstacles that build tension, a climax that reaches a boiling point, and finally a resolution that ties it all together. Drama, conflict, and suspense are necessary elements to keep your readers hooked.

Speaking of conflict, it is the engine of fiction. Readers crave conflict because it adds drama and intrigue to the story. Even if it's not a big fight, there should always be an undercurrent of conflict to keep the story moving. Conflict keeps readers turning the pages to see how it will be resolved.

Finally, there is the resolution. As writers, it's crucial that we honour our readers' investment by providing a satisfying and memorable ending. Take your time to craft a resolution that feels right and will resonate emotionally with your readers. Don't rush, and consider different ending options to find the one with the most potential to move your audience.

Understanding and incorporating these seven basic story elements—theme, memorable characters, setting, point of view, plot, conflict, and resolution—is essential to creating a solid foundation for a compelling story. So think of these elements as the building blocks of your writing. Take the time to develop each one, and your story will have a strong framework that will captivate readers and keep them turning the pages. Happy writing!