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Story Elements

Sep 1, 2022
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Behind our favorite stories, there is a well-thought-out structure that acts as the story’s backbone. This backbone, called the story elements, helps the writers develop great stories, vivid descriptions, relatable characters, exciting twists, and long-lasting effects. The essential elements of a story are: 

  1. Plot 
  2. Setting 
  3. Characters 
  4. Conflict 
  5. Theme 
  6. Plot 
  7. Point of view 
  8. Tone 

Let us take a look at these elements in detail:

1. Plot

The sequence of events that tell a story is called the plot. It is sometimes referred to as the narrative structure.  

Usually, a story has a beginning, middle, and end.  

The beginning introduces the character along with setting the scene. The complication that should be overcome in the story is introduced in the middle. The end provides closure by resolving each character’s individual story. 

The standard plot structure is made up of five major elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution

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A story begins with exposition where substantial background information, such as the setting and the character details, are introduced. 

The rising action is the point in the story where the “plot thickens.” The characters meet a crisis or a challenge at this point. 

The climax is the story’s turning point when the plot’s tensions reach a boiling point. 

The resultant event that follows the climax is the falling action

The resolution provides the reader with a sense of closure. This is the part where the loose ends are tied up in the plotline, and what happens to the main characters after the story concludes is explained. 

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2. Setting

Every story has a setting. The set consists of the time and place where the story will be taking place. What all the characters do, how the plot unfolds, and whether the reader can connect with the author’s choices can all be influenced by where and when the story takes place. 

There may be only one story setting, such as in a short story that is set in a single room of a building. Or there could be numerous other settings across many different locations and times, such as stories that span through generations or the ones that have characters who travel the world. 

The two main types of settings in stories are backdrop setting and integral setting. 

Background setting can be used as the backdrop for any story. Here, the period and physical location have little impact on the plot. 

At the same time, an integral setting is a time and/or location that has a direct impact on the plot. Alternatively, the story relies on that setting as a vital element. 

3. Character

Characters are the people or, in some cases, animals like in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, who appear in the story. Before you begin to write the story, you need to know the types of characters who could naturally take your story forward. The protagonist, antagonist, static character, and dynamic character are the various characters in a story whose traits you should be aware of. 

The protagonist is the central character and the hero of the story. They are also called main characters. Whether a novel or a short story, every story will have protagonists as it is their journey the story tells and we follow. 

The antagonist, also known as the foil, is a character whose goals are often directed against the protagonist resulting in conflict. The antagonist is the main character’s adversary. This character stirs trouble and havoc and is often the source of the plot’s conflict. In most cases, the hero’s role is to prevent the antagonist from causing harm to others. 

A character who evolves as a result of the story’s events is the dynamic character, and the ones who do not evolve throughout the story are the static characters

A character will frequently have their inner conflicts, challenges, or struggles to overcome. The way a character reacts to plot events is determined by his or her characterization or character traits. Characters are made more realistic by giving them inner conflicts. A good story will feature a diverse cast of realistic and flawed characters. 

4. Conflict

The conflict is the point where the protagonist’s and antagonist’s interests collide. The conflict is the main challenge the protagonist should overcome in a story. It drives the plot forward and is typically resolved at the plot’s climax.  

There are numerous types of conflict in various stories, but they can be broadly classified as external conflict and internal conflict. 

An external conflict exists between a character and something outside of the character’s control (such as another character, nature, society, or fate). He or she must find a resolution to this conflict during the story’s rising action or climax.  

Internal conflict is referred to as the struggles with something from within that a character faces, such as fear or insecurity. Resolving internal conflicts allows the character to grow dynamically. 

5. Theme

The theme is the “big idea” or underlying message about life in the story. It could be a single word or a longer phrase that expresses what a story is trying to say. 

Themes are frequently linked to a “moral of the story” or an analogy which is usually a hidden meaning in the text. They attempt to convey a pearl of wisdom or a fundamental truth regarding human nature for the reader to consider. Even a short story will have a central theme. 

The theme of a story is not to be confused with its subject, which is the topic of the story. 

6. Point of view

The teacher should revise the lesson on point of view which was taught in the previous session in detail so that the students can recollect it. 

The narrator’s perspective about the events of the story is referred to as a point of view. It is the “eye” or narrative voice through which you tell a story. 

Primarily, there are three modes of point of view: first person, second person, and third person

In the first-person point of view mode, one of the characters narrates the story. The I sentence construction, which relies on first-person pronouns, generally reveals this. 

The second person point of view uses the pronoun you to structure its sentences and is less common in novel-length work. 

In the third person point of view, the narrator is someone (or something) who is not a character in the story that is being told. In the third person, the pronouns he, she, and they are used to refer to all of the characters. 

7. Tone

The overall mood of a story or scene that the author creates through vivid word choice is the tone of the story. To achieve the desired tone, all of the preceding elements must be in a consistent order. 

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