Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to Write a Story

Do you long to write stories but just can't seem to get started?

That's probably because you don't understand all the elements needed for any good story.

Learn these elements and the writing process will be much easier (and your stories will be better, too).

Here are the five elements needed for any full-fledged story.

Without all of these elements you won't have a story.

You'll simply have a series of incidents.

Story Element #1 - An interesting main character with a problem to solve.

Your main character needs to want something and want it so much that he is willing to overcome all sorts of obstacles to get it.

This character is your protagonist; the person readers will root for as he faces conflicts and complications.

Story Element #2 - An interesting setting.

A good story needs to be set in a definite time and place and readers need to feel they are right there in this time and place with your characters.

Use a variety of vivid sensory details to transport your readers to the time and place you've chosen as the setting for your story.

But weave these details into the action as much as possible instead of just giving paragraph after paragraph of descriptions.

Story Element #3 - Conflict.

Something or someone must get in the way of the main character in his quest to get what he wants.

The main character who creates this conflict is your antagonist.

Keep in mind that this person should not be all bad.

He should be flawed, of course, but if he's all bad he won't seem like a real person, he'll be more like a caricature.

Story Element #4 - A series of complications.

Things should keep getting worse and worse for the main character in his quest to get what he wants.

These complications will create the dramatic tension and rising action for your story so readers will want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.

Story Element #5 - A culminating event that creates change.

Something dramatic needs to occur that will change everything for your main chararacter.

This event is the climax of your story or the solution.

Your main character will either finally get what he is after or he will understand why it is not possible to get what he wants and he will have to make some sort of peace with that.

Either way, your main character will no longer be the same person he was at the beginning of the story.

He will have changed or grown somehow as a result of the conflicts and complications he faced.

This change (or changes) will lead to a natural resolution as the ending for your tale.

Before you get started writing your own story, take some time to closely examine a few simple stories (fairy tales are good for this purpose) for each of these elements.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books and a writing coach. Visit her website at www.writebythesea.com for more articles and resources about writing. And, for money making tips for writers, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.


Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, thanks for the tips on the elements needed to write a story. I love how you put it: "Without all of these elements you won't have a story. You'll simply have a series of incidents."

Karent said...

Really well-put, Suzanne. I find that with #1, my characters often start out with a negative goal, at least when their problem first presents itself.

It can be hard to cut through the b.s. in the beginning and really set that goal.

Of course, since I write romance, much of what my characters want, or grow to want, is that HEA!

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