5 Elements of a Good Story

Storytelling power is one of the most important aspects of being a good writer. Everyone is a storyteller; ever since the beginning of mankind people have been telling tales through carvings, legends, novels, films, etc. We also tell and hear stories every day.

A good story has the ability to keep readers captured and unable to put the book down because they can’t wait to know what is going to happen next. We’ve all experienced that feeling of being completely absorbed in a story, and being enthralled by the suspense and anticipation.

So, what are the elements of a great story, and how do the masters do it? Some of it is talent, but a large part of it is also mastering the five vital elements of storytelling.

1.     Meaning and Substance

Your story must have direction or purpose no matter what age group you are writing for. There must be some moral meaning to it that you capture through your characters’ words and actions. A story with substance will also involve the audience and make them interact with the plot. The meaning behind your story must resonate with the audience you are targeting.

2.     Love the story you tell

Tell the type of story you love, don’t force yourself to write about something you don’t care about. Be passionate about your story and never present it like an outsider; as a storyteller you both navigate and are part of the story. Use language that you feel comfortable with so that there is a clear style and tone to your story.

3.     Create vivid images

A good story will create images in the head of your listener; they might be different to how you picture the story but that is the best part of storytelling. Your story must allow everyone to imagine and experience the story in their own way. It is best to start your story with some sort of action that delves right into the plot and the world of the characters.

4.     Conflict and Resolution

Good stories always have well-defined characters who have to achieve or go through something. The story must present all aspects of the characters’ lives that block them from achieving their goal. The main characters must have both strong and weak characteristics, so that the need for resolution keeps your readers interested.

5.     Authentic Ending

A good story will always have a strong, authentic solution. Avoid writing “wimpy” stories that end with an easy and predictable solution. Think of your own unique twist to the story that somehow leaves the characters transformed and brings out the meaning and substance of your story in a unique way.

 (This is a post by Ivelina Dineva)

(Image by Jessie Willcox Smith (1863 – 1935) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

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