There aren’t many art forms that can engage as well as storytelling. An excellent story can wrap itself around its readers and whisk them to the world that it’s built. They can even leave lasting impressions that no one will soon forget. And this is why short stories, novels, and various literary pieces remain popular as they once were, even in today’s technologically-driven age.
For those with a penchant for the literary arts who are interested in penning their own stories, you’re lucky: all the groundwork has been laid out by many storytellers throughout the years, making it easier to create engaging narratives as a result. So to give you a better understanding on how good stories are formed and give you direction for when you have writer’s block, here are some of the most common elements that you’ll find in them.
It’s essential to understand what’s making you write the story before you can figure out the drive behind the plot or characters. Are you looking to get an overarching message or lesson across, or are you trying to elicit certain feelings? Much like music and visual art, deploying a clear and artful theme can help elevate a story far beyond its various, individual parts and make it something your readers will remember.
However, be sure to treat your readers with respect and not spell the themes you’re trying to explore out to them. Instead, weave their aspects naturally into your story’s elements and allow them to discover them themselves.
Most stories rely on their characters to give them the depth they require to engage readers and make them salivate for more. In other words, they are the story’s literal life force. Their interactions and personalities serve to create conflicts and drive the story forward. Moreover, well-made characters can help make the narrative more relatable than it otherwise would have. And if readers are able to recognize specific aspects of their personalities or imagine themselves in their shoes, it’ll strengthen their connection with the story.
As its name implies, the setting refers to the world the story takes place in, including but not necessarily limited to time and broader locations, and even specific details like the workplace or school of a character. It’s fairly common for writers to incorporate well-known stories into new settings. Whenever it happens, the environment will always have an impact and influence the plot to make it more interesting.
Remember that even if detailed descriptions for your setting can captivate, you mustn’t bore them with too much exposition on the description. As is the case with your theme, try to weave it into the story in small and manageable increments. It’ll help create an immersive experience for them.
While there are more elements to a story than the ones listed above, the theme, characters, and setting are the three most essential elements that every story will have. So when writing the plot, make sure you consider these three areas carefully. Doing so will help you get readers into it and ensure that they’re always waiting in anticipation of the next chapter.
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