The Five Major Story Elements

The Five Major Story Elements


Every story needs to incorporate each of these story elements to some degree. By having a firm grasp on what each of them are and how they fit into your story, you can become more confident and competent in your novel writing.

So, let’s take a look at each of them in a bit more detail:

Character

It should be fairly obvious that your story needs characters. You’re likely to have a protagonist (main character) some supporting characters and minor or cameo characters. Characters are the driving force behind all stories and yours should have strong opinions and principles, preferably ones which oppose each other to cause lots of lovely conflict.

Situation

Your characters can’t exist within a void – they need to be in context. There will be the wider, geo-political situation, but also their specific one within that. So for situation you might be considering aspects such as: country, time period, class, family situation, daily life. There may also be a specific situation which precipitates the novel itself, such as a meteor hurtling towards the earth.

Objective

Your protagonist needs an objective, otherwise they’ll just sit around eating peanut butter on toast and it’s going to make for a very boring story. They could start off with a personal life goal that they are driven to achieve, but alternatively, they may have a goal thrust upon them by circumstance. Also, as well as an over-arching story-goal, most protagonists will have a series of smaller goals on their way to the ultimate objective. For example, the story-goal might be to win the girl’s heart, but minor goals may be to get introduced, to become her friend, to help her with a family problem, to save her dog from drowning in the well… Etc, etc.

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