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Writing a Story? 10 Key Parts Of A Story You Must Include

Do you know the essential parts of a story — or why they’re essential?

Think back to the last story you read (or listened to) that captured your imagination and held onto it to the end.

Chances are the story elements described in this article were responsible for that.

And you can probably point to at least one of them and remember how that element in the story took hold of you.

But what are the elements of a compelling story ?

And how do you put them together to create one of your own?

What are the elements of a story?

10 essential parts of a story, 1. characters, 4. conflict, 5. resolution, 7. morals or messages, 8. symbolism and synchronicities, 9. point of view (pov), 10. perspective.

To break down a story into its elements for the purpose of analyzing it, it helps to start by breaking the plot down into five stages:

As you add information from the story to flesh out this basic outline , you’ll gain a better understanding of the details that are not only memorable but necessary to the story.

If that sounds like too haphazard an approach, consider the questions a journalist would ask when writing a story:

From there, we can make a list of our essential elements, starting with the five that every story should have.

The remaining five make a story come to life and help it find a permanent place in our collective memory — connected to others that aren’t so different but sound different enough and feel familiar enough to make us want more.

Here follows the list of story elements no narrative should go without.

Once you understand the elements and why every story needs them, you’ll be able to read any short story or novel , identify its parts, and understand why its treatment of those parts has left you with the impression you have.

And if the story is a dud, you’ll also likely think of ways to make it better.

5 Parts of a Story that are Foundational

Your characters are the people who make the story happen — or to whom the story happens. Depending on the length of your story, those can include the following but must have at least the first of them.

It’s important to note, too, that none of the characters have to be human (or even human-shaped). Your favorite character might be a dog, a centaur, a sentient tree, or something completely different.

The main thing you want your main character to have is a clear goal. Your most important characters should want something. And something or someone should stand in the way.

The setting of a story deals with the where and when — the places your characters go, the era in which the story happens, the time of the year, the times of a day, and so on.

It also includes details like the weather, the language spoken, cultural norms, the political climate, and other things that can influence your other story elements.

Setting can change from scene to scene, and the setting itself can even serve as a character. It can also provide symbolism and hint at the story’s overall message.

How the narrator describes the setting can also offer clues about the perspectives involved.

An effective setting is neither more nor less than everything your story needs it to be.

In 1863, German playwright and novelist Gustave Freytag wrote Die Technik des Dramas in defense of the 5-act dramatic structure. His study gave us what we call Freytag’s Pyramid , which breaks down the plot of a story into five key elements:

The diagram shown above puts climax at the top and in the middle of it all, which doesn’t necessarily mean it happens in the middle of the story.

The exposition is basically the story’s introduction, where we meet the main character, get a feel for the setting and other essential details, and learn what’s at stake.

Then plenty more happens during the rising action that leads the reader to that moment of truth — or “the point of no return” or whatever pithy phrase comes to mind when someone asks you, “What is climax?”

It’s the thing we hope our readers recognize. No one wants to hear, “Are we there yet?” when what was supposed to be the climax has already happened.

And on the downturn, during the falling action , we want to see loose threads gathered and neatly tied up. We want to see the consequences of whatever happened at the climax.

We also want to see story plots with a satisfying resolution . And when that resolution comes at the end of the story, it could be a catastrophe. Or it could be what the reader hoped would happen.

Or it could be neither.

Conflict in a story is so important to its success, it deserves its own place on the list of foundational elements.

Without conflict, you might as well write about your favorite character eating nachos and watching paint dry. Even idle people-watching might generate a conflict.

In fact, pretty much any time you put two people in a room together, no matter how alike they are, you can probably find (or create) some conflict between them worth writing about .

And once you introduce conflict, the story starts to get interesting. Suddenly, someone wants something, and someone or something else is blocking their access to it.

Or someone has a strong opinion about something, and someone who usually agrees with them speaks up with unaccustomed outrage. And the story (or your reader) has officially woken up. The contest has begun.

And if the stakes are high enough and important enough, the reader will want to know how it ends.

Story plots with a weak resolution or those that leave the reader hanging deserve the contempt heaped upon them.

Same goes for movies and popular TV dramas with endings that leave devoted fans shocked, disappointed, and clamoring for a redo.

As readers — and as writers — we want a satisfying resolution to a story that has drawn us in and cost us hours of sleepless attention (and possibly a few meals).

The resolution answers the questions lingering in the reader’s mind:

Some endings leave a thread or two unresolved or open to the reader’s interpretation. This can work as long as the resolution answers the reader’s most pressing questions in a satisfying way.

5 More Story Elements

The theme of a story tells you something about why it was told and how the story relates to the bigger picture of existence. It explores questions and ideas that have been with us for millennia, if not from the beginning.

How many of the following themes have you encountered in the books you’ve read this year?

The theme provides a framework for the story and ties it to universal human experience, making it more relatable and memorable.

The moral or overall message of the story is the takeaway. It answers the question, “What does the story tell the reader about life, the universe, morality, God, etc.?”

You don’t have to write a fable or parable to write a story with a moral. And the message your story sends will depend on the voice of the one telling the story and on their perspective.

The moral can either reinforce what the culture accepts as traditional morality or it can challenge it. The more memorable ones tend to do the latter.

For a counter-cultural message to stick, though, it has to take hold of the mind as well as the heart. It has to respect both justice and mercy.

It has to be bigger than the smaller universe it shakes up.

A synchronicity is, by definition, a meaningful coincidence. But that begs the question, “Is there such a thing as a meaningless coincidence?”

When it comes to writing stories, there shouldn’t be. Everything in the story — every use of symbolism, every coincidence, every bit of dialogue, every significant detail — has meaning.

If it doesn’t have to be there, it shouldn’t be.

Symbolism and synchronicities aren’t there as a garnish. They add meaning and draw the reader’s attention to something important. They might gently hint at something readers are only dimly aware of at that point.

And later on, the reader will remember that meaningful detail and think “Aha! I knew that was important.”

The story’s point of view (POV) has plenty to do with how invested you become in the main character’s storyline — or in those of supporting characters.

First-person point of view usually draws the reader right into the main character’s head. You get to see and process everything from that character’s perspective.

Unfortunately, that also means, you see all the other characters from that one (possibly myopic) point of view.

With third-person limited, you see all the characters from the point of view of an impartial narrator, but you don’t get to see inside anyone’s head or heart. There’s more distance between the reader and character, but at least there’s no head-hopping.

The limited third person narrator only knows what they can see from the outside; so that’s all the reader can see, too. But the outside can reveal plenty.

Finally, with third-person omniscient, you see all the characters from the point of view of an all-knowing narrator who can pop into any character’s head and know their thoughts and feelings.

Oddly enough, this can create even more distance between you and the characters.

Because not knowing for certain what’s going on in a character’s head usually makes them more interesting. It leaves more room for your imagination.

As a writer, though, which point of view should you go with? Ultimately, it depends on the story and what you want to accomplish with it.

And nothing says you can’t try more than one (using different drafts).

Perspective might sound like point of view, but it’s different. It has more to do with the storyteller’s worldview, assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes. It conveys either a personal investment in a character or an impartial distance.

Perspective is the frame or filter through which the reader meets the characters, interacts with the setting, and listens to the dialogue.

As such, it can sway the reader’s own perception, sometimes without the latter’s realizing it. Step into someone else’s perspective, and it leaves traces behind in your psyche.

It can even change the way you think about the story’s themes and overall moral or message.

It doesn’t follow that the influence is always good. By the same token, a story that causes someone to question the beliefs they grew up with isn’t necessarily a “bad influence,”

In any case, it pays to respect the power of perspective. And it’s impossible to not send a message with the perspective you have or the one you choose for your narrator (human or otherwise).

More Related Articles:

How Long Should A Short Story Be?

How Many Words Should Be In A Chapter Of A Book?

12 Effective Tips On How To Write Faster

What is your story missing?

Now that we’ve covered the ten essential parts of a story, how can this help you become a better storyteller?

Have you read a story of your own only to think, “Something is missing?” Or has someone else?

The more stories you write, the more your storytelling knowledge and ability will grow and deepen. Give yourself the time and tools to learn the art and craft of writing .

And don’t forget to enjoy the best part of your research: reading good stories.

Before you start writing your story, you need to know the 10 parts of a story that are essential to making it engaging and interesting.

Grammar Guide

Story Elements: 7 Main Elements of a Story and 5 Elements of Plot

Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Blog Manager and Indie Author

Main elements in a story article

Whether it’s a short story, novel, or play, every type of story has the same basic elements.

Today, we’re taking a look at the seven key elements of a story, as well as the five elements of plot. Knowing these essential elements will ensure that your story is well-developed and engaging.

What Are the 7 Literary Elements of a Story?

What are the 5 elements of plot, conclusion: basic story elements.

There are seven basic elements of a story, and they all work together. There’s no particular order of importance because they are all necessary.

When you’re writing a story, you might start with one and develop the others later. For instance, you might create a character before you have a plot or setting.

There’s no correct place to start—as long as you have all seven elements by the end, you’ve got a story.

The seven literary elements

Every story needs characters. Your protagonist is your main character, and they are the primary character interacting with the plot and the conflict. You might have multiple protagonists or secondary protagonists. An antagonist works against your main character’s goals to create conflict.

There are short stories and even some plays that have only one character, but most stories have several characters. Not every minor character needs to be well-developed and have a story arc, but your major players should.

Your characters don’t have to be human or humanoid, either. Animals or supernatural elements can be characters, too!

Your story must take place somewhere. Setting is where and when the story takes place, the physical location and time period.. Some stories have only one setting, while others have several settings.

A story can have an overarching setting and smaller settings within it. For example, Pride and Prejudice takes place in England. Lizzy travels through several locations in the country. The smaller settings within the story include individual homes and estates, like Longbourn, Netherfield Park, and Pemberley.

Setting also includes time periods. This might be a year or an era. You can be less specific in your time period, like “modern-day” or “near future,” but it is still an important component of your setting.

Our next story element is theme. You can think of theme as the “why” behind the story. What is the big idea? Why did the author write the story, and what message are they trying to convey?

Some common themes in stories include:

Themes can also be warnings, such as the dangers of seeking revenge or the effects of war. Sometimes themes are social criticisms on class, race, gender, or religion.

Tone might be the most complicated of all the story elements. Tone is the overall feeling of your story. A mystery might be foreboding. A women’s literature story might feel nostalgic. A romance might have an optimistic, romantic tone.

Tone should fit both your genre and your individual story. Create tone with writing elements such as word choice, sentence length, and sentence variety. Aspects of the setting, such as the weather, can contribute to tone, as well.

ProWritingAid can help with some of the aspects of tone. In your document settings, change your document type to your genre. The Summary Report will then compare various style aspects to your genre, such as sentence length, emotion tells, and sentence structure. These all play a role in establishing a tone that fits your genre.

summary report in prowritingaid

Try the Summary Report with a free account.

Point of View

Every story needs a point of view (POV). This determines whether we’re seeing something from the narrator’s perspective or a character’s perspective. There are four main points of view in creative writing and literature.

First person tells the story from a character’s perspective using first person pronouns (I, me, my, mine, we, our, ours). The POV does not have to be from the perspective of the main character. For example, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , the narrator, Nick, is mostly an observer and participant in Gatsby and Daisy’s story.

You can also use third person limited to show the story through the eyes of one character. This point of view uses third person pronouns (he, him, his, her, hers, their, theirs). If your story features alternating points-of-view, third person limited only shows one character’s perspective at a time.

First person and third person limited points of view are sometimes referred to as deep POV .

If the story is told from the narrator’s perspective, the POV is typically third person omniscient. Omniscient means all-knowing: the narrator sees all and knows all.

Rarely, stories are written in second person (you, yours). This point of view is more common in short stories than novellas or novels. Fanfiction and choose-your-own-adventure stories use second person more often than traditional creative writing does.

Conflict is the problem that drives a story’s plot forward. The conflict is what is keeping your characters from achieving their goals. There are internal conflicts, in which the character must overcome some internal struggle. There are also external conflicts that the character must face.

There are seven major types of conflict in literature. They are:

Typically, a story has several small conflicts and a large, overarching internal or external conflict. While all the elements of a story are crucial, conflict is the one that makes your story interesting and engaging.

Finally, you can’t have a story without a plot. The plot is the series of events that occur in a story. It’s the beginning, middle, and end. It’s easy to confuse conflict and plot.

Plot is what happens, while conflict is the things standing in the way of different characters’ goals. The two are inextricably linked.

Plot is one of the seven elements of a story, but there are also different elements of plot. We’ll cover this in greater detail in the next section.

Everything, from a short story to a novel, requires not only the basic elements of a story but also the same essential elements of a plot. While there are multiple types of plot structure (e.g. three-act structure, five-act structure, hero’s journey ), all plots have the same elements. Together, these form a story arc.

The five plot elements

Exposition sets the scene. It’s the beginning of the story where we meet our main character and see what their life is like. It also establishes the setting and tone.

Rising Action

The exposition leads to an event known as the inciting incident . This is the gateway to the rising action. This part of the story contains all of the events that lead to the culmination of all the plot points. We see most of the conflict in this section.

The climax is the height of a story. The character finally faces and usually defeats whatever the major conflict is. Tension builds through the rising action and peaks at the climax.

Sometimes, stories have more than one climax, depending on the plot structure, or if there are two different character arcs.

Falling Action

The falling action is when all the other conflicts or character arcs begin resolving. Anything that isn’t addressed in the climax will be addressed in the falling action. Just because the characters have passed the most difficult part of the plot doesn't mean everything is tied up neatly in a bow. Sometimes the climax causes new conflicts!

Resolution or Denouement

The end of a story is called the resolution or denouement. All major conflicts are resolved or purposely left open for a cliff-hanger or sequel. In many stories, this is where you find the happily ever after, but a resolution doesn’t have to be happy. It’s the ending of a story arc or plot, and all the questions are answered or intentionally unanswered.

The seven elements of a story and the five elements of plot work together to form a cohesive and complete story arc. No one element is more important than the other. If you’re writing your own story, planning each of the basic story elements and plot points is a great place to start your outline.

Are you prepared to write your novel? Download this free book now:

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

So you are ready to write your novel. excellent. but are you prepared the last thing you want when you sit down to write your first draft is to lose momentum., this guide helps you work out your narrative arc, plan out your key plot points, flesh out your characters, and begin to build your world..


Krystal N. Craiker is the Writing Pirate, an indie romance author and blog manager at ProWritingAid. She sails the seven internet seas, breaking tropes and bending genres. She has a background in anthropology and education, which brings fresh perspectives to her romance novels. When she’s not daydreaming about her next book or article, you can find her cooking gourmet gluten-free cuisine, laughing at memes, and playing board games. Krystal lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, child, and basset hound. Check out her website or follow her on Instagram: @krystalncraikerauthor.

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Fiction Writing Basics

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This resource discusses some terms and techniques that are useful to the beginning and intermediate fiction writer, and to instructors who are teaching fiction at these levels. The distinction between beginning and intermediate writing is provided for both students and instructors, and numerous sources are listed for more information about fiction tools and how to use them. A sample assignment sheet is also provided for instructors. This resource covers the basics of plot, character, theme, conflict, and point-of-view.

Plot is what happens in a story, but action itself doesn’t constitute plot. Plot is created by the manner in which the writer arranges and organizes particular actions in a meaningful way. It’s useful to think of plot as a chain reaction, where a sequence of events causes other events to happen.

When reading a work of fiction, keep in mind that the author has selected one line of action from the countless possibilities of action available to her. Trying to understand why the author chose a particular line of action over another leads to a better understanding of how plot is working in a story

This does not mean that events happen in chronological order; the author may present a line of action that happens after the story’s conclusion, or she may present the reader with a line of action that is still to be determined. Authors can’t present all the details related to an action, so certain details are brought to the forefront, while others are omitted.

The author imbues the story with meaning by a selection of detail. The cause-and-effect connection between one event and another should be logical and believable, because the reader will lose interest if the relation between events don’t seem significant. As Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren wrote in Understanding Fiction , fiction is interpretive: “Every story must indicate some basis for the relation among its parts, for the story itself is a particular writer’s way of saying how you can make sense of human experience.”

If a sequence of events is merely reflexive, then plot hasn’t come into play. Plot occurs when the writer examines human reactions to situations that are always changing. How does love, longing, regret and ambition play out in a story? It depends on the character the writer has created.

Because plot depends on character, plot is what the character does. Plot also fluctuates, so that something is settled or thrown off balance in the end, or both. Traditionally, a story begins with some kind of description that then leads to a complication. The complication leads up to a crisis point where something must change. This is the penultimate part of the story, before the climax, or the most heightened moment of a story.

In some stories, the climax is followed by a denouement, or resolution of the climax. Making events significant in plot begins with establishing a strong logic that connects the events. Insofar as plot reveals some kind of human value or some idea about the meaning of experience, plot is related to theme.

Character can’t be separated from action, since we come to understand a character by what she does. In stories, characters drive the plot. The plot depends on the characters' situations and how they respond to it. The actions that occur in the plot are only believable if the character is believable. For most traditional fiction, characters are divided into the following categories:

Because character is so important to plot and fiction, it’s important for the writer to understand her characters as much as possible. Though the writer should know everything there is to know about her character, she should present her knowledge of the characters indirectly, through dialogue and action. Still, sometimes a summary of a character’s traits needs to be given. For example, for characters who play the supporting cast in a story, direct description of the character’s traits keeps the story from slowing down.

Beginning and intermediate level writers frequently settle for creating types, rather than highly individualized, credible characters. Be wary of creating a character who is a Loser With A Good Heart, The Working Class Man Who Is Trapped By Tough Guy Attitudes, The Lonely Old Lady With A Dog, etc. At the same time, keep in mind that all good characters are, in a sense, types.

Often, in creative writing workshops from beginning to advanced levels, the instructor asks, “Whose story is this?” This is because character is the most important aspect of fiction. In an intermediate level workshop, it would be more useful to introduce a story in which it is more difficult to pick out the main character from the line-up. It provides an opportunity for intermediate level fiction writers to really explore character and the factors that determine what is at stake, and for whom.

Conflict depends on character, because readers are interested in the outcomes of people’s lives, but may be less interested in what’s at stake for a corporation, a bank, or an organization. Characters in conflict with one another make up fiction. Hypothetically, a character can come into conflict with an external force, like poverty, or a fire. But there is simply more opportunity to explore the depth and profundity in relationships between people, because people are so complex that conflict between characters often gets blurred with a character’s conflict with herself

The short story, as in all literary forms, including poetry and creative nonfiction, depends on the parts of the poem or story or essay making some kind of sense as a whole. The best example in fiction is character. The various aspects of a character should add up to some kind of meaningful, larger understanding of the character. If the various aspects of a character don’t add up, the character isn’t believable. This doesn’t mean that your characters have to be sensible. Your characters may have no common sense at all, but we have to understand the character and why she is that way. The character’s motives and actions have to add up, however conflicted, marginalized or irrational they may be.

5 Elements Of a Story Explained With Examples (+ Free Worksheet)

What do all good stories have in common? And no it’s not aliens or big explosions! It’s the five elements of a story: Characters, Setting, Plot, Conflict and Resolution. Story elements are needed to create a well-structured story. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a short story or a long novel, the core elements are always there. 

What are Story Elements?

1. characters, 4. conflict, 5. resolution, the fox and the crow, free story elements worksheet (pdf), why are story elements needed, what are the 7 elements of a story, what are the 5 important story elements, what are the 12 elements of a short story, what are the 6 important elements of a story, what are the 9 story elements, what are the 8 elements of a story.

This short video lesson explains the main points relating to the five story elements:

Story elements are the building blocks needed to make a story work. Without these blocks, a story will break down, failing to meet the expectations of readers. Simply put, these elements remind writers what to include in stories, and what needs to be planned. By understanding each element, you increase the chances of writing a better story or novel.

Over the years, writers have adapted these elements to suit their writing process. In fact, there can be as few as 4 elements in literature all the way up to 12 elements. The most universally used story elements contain just five building blocks:

These five elements are a great place to start when you need help planning your story. You may also notice that these story elements are what most book outlining techniques are based on.

5 Elements Of A Story

Below we have explained each of the five elements of a story in detail, along with examples.

Characters are the most familiar element in stories. Every story has at least one main character. Stories can also have multiple secondary characters, such as supporting characters and villain/s. The main character should be introduced at the beginning. While introducing this character it is a good idea to include key information about this character’s personality, past and physical appearance. You should also provide a hint to what this character’s major conflict is in the story (more on conflict later).

The main character also goes through changes throughout the story. All the challenges and obstacles they face in the story allow them to learn, grow and develop. Depending on your plot, they might become a better person, or even a worse one – if this is a villain’s origin story. But be careful here – Growth should not be mistaken for a personality change! The main character must stay true to who they are. Deep inside their personality should stay more or less the same. The only thing that changes is the lessons they learn, and how these impact them.

Check out this post on 20 tips for character development for more guidance.

Settings in stories refer to three things: Location, Time Period and Mood. The easiest element to understand is location . Location is the physical place/s the story takes part in mostly. For example, the tale of Cinderella takes part in two main locations: Cinderella’s Palace and the Ballroom at the Prince’s Palace. It is a good idea to explain each new location in great detail, so the readers feel like they are also right there with the characters. The physical location is also something that can be included at the beginning of the story to set the story’s tone.

Next comes the time period . Every story is set in some time period. Some stories especially about time travel may be set across multiple time periods. You don’t always have to include the exact date or year in your story. But it is a good idea that during the planning phase, you know the year or even dates the story is set in. This can help you include accurate details about location and even key events. For example, you don’t want to be talking about characters using mobile phones in the 18th century – It just wouldn’t make sense (Unless of course it’s a time travel story)!

The final part of the setting is the mood . The mood is the feeling you want readers to feel when reading your story. Do you want them to be scared, excited or happy? It’s the way you explain and describe a particular location, object or person. For example in horror stories, you may notice dark language being used throughout, such as gore, dismal, damp or vile. While a fairy-tale such as Cinderella uses light and warm language like magical, glittering, beautiful or happily ever after. Choice of words sets the mood and adds an extra layer of excitement to a story. 

The plot explains what a story is about from beginning to end. It can contain multiple scenes and events. In its simplest form, a plot has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the characters and sometimes shows a minor conflict. The middle is where the major conflict occurs. And the ending is where all conflicts are resolved, and the story comes to a close. The story mountain template is a great way to plan out a story’s plot.

A story is not a story without conflict. Conflict is also a key part of a story’s plot (see section above). The purpose of conflict in stories is to challenge your characters and push them to their limits. It is only when they face this conflict, do they really grow and reach their full potential. Conflicts can be internal, external or both. Internal conflicts come from inside your main character, such as not having the confidence in themself or having a fear of something. While external conflicts are created elsewhere, such as natural disasters or evil villains creating havoc. 

The resolution is a solution to the main conflict. Without a resolution, the conflict would be neverending, and this could lead to a disappointing ending to your story. Resolutions could include huge battle scenes or even the discovery of new information which changes everything. Sometimes in stories resolutions don’t always solve the conflict 100%. This normally leads to cliffhanger endings, where a small piece of conflict still exists somewhere. But the important thing to remember is that all conflicts need some kind of resolution in stories to make them satisfying to the reader.

Story Elements Examples

We explained each story element above, and now it’s time to put our teachings into practice. Here are some common story element examples we created.

The fox and the crow is one of Aesop’s most famous fables . It tells the story of a sly fox who tricks a foolish crow into giving her breakfast away. You can read the full fable on the website . 

Here are the elements of a story applied to the fable of the fox and the crow:

the fox and the crow elements of the story

Cinderella is one of the most famous fairy tales of all time. It tells the tale of a poor servant girl who is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters. Until one night with the help of her fairy godmother, she attends the ball. It is at the ball where the prince falls in love with Cinderella. Eventually leading to a happy ending.

Here are the elements of a story applied to the short story of Cinderella:

cinderella example of short story with elements

Put everything you learned into practice with our free story elements worksheet PDF. This PDF includes a blank story elements anchor chart or graphic organiser, two completed examples and an explanation of each of the story elements. This worksheet pack  is great for planning your own story:

creative writing parts of a story

Common Questions About Story Elements

Writing a story is a huge task. Simply just putting pen to paper isn’t really going to cut it, especially if you want to write professionally. Planning is needed. That’s where the story elements come in. Breaking a story down into different components, helps you plan out each area carefully. It also reminds you of the importance of each element and the impact they can have on the final story. 

Some writers have expanded the traditional 5 elements to 7 elements of a story. These 7 elements include:

The 5 elements of a story include:

The longest version of the story elements includes 12 elements:

Some versions of the story elements, completely remove the conflict element. In the 6 elements structure, conflict is included in the plot element:

We could consider the order of events, in this 9 story elements structure:

The story elements can also be adapted to contain 8 elements:

Got any more questions about the key elements of a story? Share them in the comments below!

Elements Of a Story

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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creative writing parts of a story


Creative Writing: How to Get Started with Creative Writing [+ 9 Exercises]

Posted on Mar 9, 2023

by Bella Rose Pope

Creative writing is one of those skills you can eternally get better at, but often suck at when you start…

I’ve been there. I’ve so been there.

Now, we’re not saying your creative writing is bad necessarily, but just that if you want to continue to push yourself in this industry, you’ll need some work since literature is more competitive now than it ever has been.

You might not like to face that truth, but it is indeed a truth everyone who wants to write and publish successfully has to face.

I’ll go into more detail about that in a little bit but every writer out there needs some writing tips to help them get better.

And one of the best ways to get better at creative writing is to first learn and understand the craft of it, and then challenge yourself by completing writing exercises .

Because when your time comes to publish, you want a high-quality final product in order to actually sell your book and acquire raving fans.

Save This Resource NOW for Quick Reference Later…

200+ Fiction Writing Prompts In the Most Profitable Genres

Come up with your NEXT great book idea with over 200 unique writing prompts spanning 8 different genres. Use for a story, scene, character inspo, and more!

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Here’s what you’ll learn about creative writing:

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is a form of writing where creativity is at the forefront of its purpose through using imagination, creativity, and innovation in order to tell a story through strong written visuals with an emotional impact, like in poetry writing , short story writing , novel writing , and more.

It’s often seen as the opposite of journalistic or academic writing.

When it comes to writing, there are many different types. As you already know, all writing does not read in the same way.

Creative writing uses senses and emotions in order to create a strong visual in the reader’s mind whereas other forms of writing typically only leave the reader with facts and information instead of emotional intrigue.

It can be a book series or a single installation, the factors that make up creative writing have more to do with how it sits with the reader artistically.

What are the Elements of Creative Writing?

In order to get better at creative writing, you have to understand the elements of what makes writing a book great.

You can’t build a car engine without understanding how each part plays a role, right…?

That’s the same case with writing.

And just a note, this is all stuff we cover , and you get to talk about 1-on-1 with your coach when you join Self-Publishing School .

Here are the elements that make up creative writing and why each is just as important as the other.

Unique Plot

What differentiates creative writing and other forms of writing the most is the fact that the former always has a plot of some sort – and a unique one.

Yes, remakes are also considered creative writing, however, most creative writers create their own plot formed by their own unique ideas . Without having a plot, there’s no story.

And without a story, you’re really just writing facts on paper, much like a journalist. Learn how to plot your novel and you’ll open up the possibility of writing at a higher level without the need to find your story as much.

Character development

Characters are necessary for creative writing. While you can certainly write a book creatively using the second person point of view (which I’ll cover below), you still have to develop the character in order to tell the story.

Character development can be defined as the uncovering of who a character is and how they change throughout the duration of your story. From start to end, readers should be able to understand your main characters deeply.

Underlying Theme

Almost every story out there has an underlying theme or message – even if the author didn’t necessarily intend for it to. But creative writing needs that theme or message in order to be complete.

That’s part of the beauty of this form of art. By telling a story, you can also teach lessons.

Visual Descriptions

When you’re reading a newspaper, you don’t often read paragraphs of descriptions depicting the surrounding areas of where the events took place. Visual descriptions are largely saved for creative writing.

You need them in order to help the reader understand what the surroundings of the characters look like.

Show don’t tell writing pulls readers in and allows them to imagine themselves in the characters’ shoes – which is the reason people read.

Point of View

There are a few points of views you can write in. That being said, the two that are most common in creative writing are first person and third person .

While non-creative writing can have dialogue (like in interviews), that dialogue is not used in the same way as it is in creative writing. Creative writing (aside from silent films) requires dialogue to support the story.

Your characters should interact with one another in order to further the plot and develop each character other more.

Imaginative Language

Part of what makes creative writing creative is the way you choose to craft the vision in your mind.

And that means creative writing uses more anecdotes, metaphors , similes , figures of speech , and other figurative language in order to paint a vivid image in the reader’s mind .

Emotional Appeal

All writing can have emotional appeal. However, it’s the entire goal of creative writing. Your job as a writer is to make people feel how you want them to by telling them a story.

Creative Writing Examples

Since creative writing covers such a wide variety of writing, we wanted to break down the different types of creative writing out there to help you make sense of it. Y ou may know that novels are considered creative writing, but what about memoirs?

Here are examples of creative writing:

9 Creative Writing Exercises to Improve Your Writing

Writing is just like any other skill. You have to work at it in order to get better.

It’s also much like other skills because the more you do it, the stronger you become in it. That’s why exercising your creative writing skills is so important.

How do you start creative writing?

The best authors out there, including Stephen King, recommend writing something every single day . These writing exercises will help you accomplish that and improve your talent immensely.

#1 – Describe your day with creative writing

This is one of my favorite little exercises to keep my writing sharp and in shape.

Just like with missing gym sessions, the less you write, the more of that skill you lose. Hannah Lee Kidder, a very talented author and Youtuber, gave me this writing exercise and I have used it many times.

Creative Writing Exercise:

All you have to do is sit down and describe your day – starting with waking up – as if you were writing it about another person. Use your creative writing skills to bring life to even the dullest moments, like showering or brushing your teeth.

#2 – Description depiction

If you’re someone who struggles with writing descriptions or you just want to get better in general, this exercise will help you do just that – and quickly.

In order to improve your descriptions, you have to write them with a specific intention.

With this exercise, the goal is to write your description with the goal of showing the reader as much as you can about your character without ever mentioning them at all.

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#3 – Edit your old writing

Believe it or not, editing does count as writing and can actually sharpen those creative writing skill more than you think.

It can be a little scary to pull up a story you wrote last week or even two years ago and tear it apart. But that’s exactly what I want you to do.

Check out this video of me editing my old writing in order to replace weak verbs with stronger, better ones to get a taste of what this can look like and how it can help you get better.

#4 – Voice v ariations

One of my favorite parts of writing is giving unique voices to each character . I believe that’s what truly brings them to life.

Their dialogue as the power to pull readers in, or push them out of the book completely.

Obviously, you want the former.

During this creative writing exercise, your focus will be to pick 4 different emotional states and write dialogue and narrative of how your character feels and interprets those feelings.

For this one, craft a character in your mind. It can be one you already created or a completely new one.

Choose your 4 emotional states – and get creative. You can choose sadness, anger, happiness, and excitement BUT you can also go a bit further and choose to use drunk, flirty, terrified, and eager.

After you have 4 emotional states, write one page of each using dialogue and narrative your character would use.

#5 – Single senses

Creating strong visuals is one of the most powerful ways to become a great creative writer. In fact, practicing this will help you craft books that really hook readers.

This exercise’s goal is to help you develop writing the senses in ways that not only make sense, but are also imaginative and unique.

A Creative Writing Exercise Where A Character Has One Sense

#6 – Dialogue destruction

During this exercise, you will learn a lot about how to write a scene using entirely dialogue.

Now, this isn’t something you’ll always do in your writing, but it’s very important to know how to move a scene forward using dialogue if you need to.

This will also help you understand how to show and not tell in creative writing.

To start, choose a scene you wrote previously that has little to no dialogue, but is still very important.

Next, rewrite the entire thing using dialogue (including dialogue tags and body language descriptions). You will quickly become better at using dialogue to show and not tell.

#7 – Tell the origin story of the Tooth Fairy

This writing exercise will really help you think creatively about something a large part of the world knows about.

However, you have to think of a very unique, interesting way of presenting this common idea. The purpose of this is to help you dig deeper within your own story and plot in order to come up with the very best, most unique ideas – because that is what will stand out in your book.

Begin this story like you would any other. Develop who the very first Tooth Fairy is and understand their character. Then, start creating a backstory that coincides with how they ended up becoming the tooth fairy.

Write this in full, ending with the Tooth Fairy taking their first tooth.

#8 – Thematic attic

This is a fun one! The idea behind this creative writing exercise is to focus on interpreting themes through story.

Since all creative writing has an underlying theme behind it, it’s really important for you to be able to accurately depict that theme throughout the story you’re telling.

Creative Writing Quote From Herman Melville

Otherwise, it can get lost. Not knowing the theme can often leave readers feeling unsatisfied – and rightfully so.

For this exercise, pick an overarching theme you want to focus on. This can be anything from equality to the difference between right and wrong.

Next, craft a short story with the setting being and do your best to make sure that theme shines through

Get creative! Your attic can even contain a portal to another dimension if you really want it to.

#9 – Break language barriers

This isn’t quite what you think it is. So no, we will not be creating new languages with this exercise.

Instead, we’ll be working on using unique language to describe very common, everyday occurrences and experiences.

One of the beauties of creative writing is that you have the power to change the way someone sees the world. You can make it more appealing and special to them – if you know how.

This exercise will help you develop the skill of using a unique narrative within your story.

In this creative writing exercise, you’ll start by reading. You can read a new book or even some of your old writing.

Highlight or copy sentences or paragraphs you think are very common experiences that most everyone in the world knows of. For example: the sunset, brushing your teeth, looking up at the sky.

Your job is to rewrite these experiences in the most unique way you can using visuals that you don’t normally see in writing.<

Here’s an example:

BEFORE – The sun set beyond the trees.

AFTER – The trees tucked the sun in for the night.

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Bella Rose Pope

Most popular blog posts, what is self-publishing school.

We help you save time, money, and headaches through the book, writing, marketing, and publishing process by giving you the proven, step-by-step process and accountability to publish successfully. All while allowing you to maintain control of your book–and its royalties. Learn to publish a book to grow your impact, income, or business!

creative writing parts of a story

This classic poem by Romantic poet Percy Shelley (also known as Mary Shelley’s husband) is all about legacy. What do we leave behind? How will we be remembered? The great king Ozymandias built himself a massive statue, proclaiming his might, but the irony is that his statue doesn’t survive the ravages of time. By framing this poem as told to him by a “traveller from an antique land,” Shelley effectively turns this into a story. Along with the careful use of juxtaposition to create irony, this poem accomplishes a lot in just a few lines. 

“Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux

 A direction. An object. My love, it needs a place to rest. Say anything. I’m listening. I’m ready to believe. Even lies, I don’t care.

Poetry is cherished for its ability to evoke strong emotions from the reader using very few words which is exactly what Dorianne Laux does in “ Trying to Raise the Dead .” With vivid imagery that underscores the painful yearning of the narrator, she transports us to a private nighttime scene as the narrator sneaks away from a party to pray to someone they’ve lost. We ache for their loss and how badly they want their lost loved one to acknowledge them in some way. It’s truly a masterclass on how writing can be used to portray emotions. 

If you find yourself inspired to try out some poetry — and maybe even get it published — check out these poetry layouts that can elevate your verse!

Song Lyrics

Poetry’s closely related cousin, song lyrics are another great way to flex your creative writing muscles. You not only have to find the perfect rhyme scheme but also match it to the rhythm of the music. This can be a great challenge for an experienced poet or the musically inclined. 

To see how music can add something extra to your poetry, check out these two examples:

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

 You say I took the name in vain I don't even know the name But if I did, well, really, what's it to ya? There's a blaze of light in every word It doesn't matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah 

Metaphors are commonplace in almost every kind of creative writing, but will often take center stage in shorter works like poetry and songs. At the slightest mention, they invite the listener to bring their emotional or cultural experience to the piece, allowing the writer to express more with fewer words while also giving it a deeper meaning. If a whole song is couched in metaphor, you might even be able to find multiple meanings to it, like in Leonard Cohen’s “ Hallelujah .” While Cohen’s Biblical references create a song that, on the surface, seems like it’s about a struggle with religion, the ambiguity of the lyrics has allowed it to be seen as a song about a complicated romantic relationship. 

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

 ​​If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks Then I'll follow you into the dark

A red neon

You can think of song lyrics as poetry set to music. They manage to do many of the same things their literary counterparts do — including tugging on your heartstrings. Death Cab for Cutie’s incredibly popular indie rock ballad is about the singer’s deep devotion to his lover. While some might find the song a bit too dark and macabre, its melancholy tune and poignant lyrics remind us that love can endure beyond death.

Plays and Screenplays

From the short form of poetry, we move into the world of drama — also known as the play. This form is as old as the poem, stretching back to the works of ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles, who adapted the myths of their day into dramatic form. The stage play (and the more modern screenplay) gives the words on the page a literal human voice, bringing life to a story and its characters entirely through dialogue. 

Interested to see what that looks like? Take a look at these examples:

All My Sons by Arthur Miller

“I know you're no worse than most men but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father.” 

Creative Writing Examples | Photo of the Old Vic production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller acts as a bridge between the classic and the new, creating 20th century tragedies that take place in living rooms and backyard instead of royal courts, so we had to include his breakout hit on this list. Set in the backyard of an all-American family in the summer of 1946, this tragedy manages to communicate family tensions in an unimaginable scale, building up to an intense climax reminiscent of classical drama. 

💡 Read more about Arthur Miller and classical influences in our breakdown of Freytag’s pyramid . 

“Everything is Fine” by Michael Schur ( The Good Place )

“Well, then this system sucks. in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity? Come on! I mean, I wasn't freaking Gandhi, but I was okay. I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati. Everyone who wasn't perfect but wasn't terrible should get to spend eternity in Cincinnati.” 

A screenplay, especially a TV pilot, is like a mini-play, but with the extra job of convincing an audience that they want to watch a hundred more episodes of the show. Blending moral philosophy with comedy, The Good Place is a fun hang-out show set in the afterlife that asks some big questions about what it means to be good. 

It follows Eleanor Shellstrop, an incredibly imperfect woman from Arizona who wakes up in ‘The Good Place’ and realizes that there’s been a cosmic mixup. Determined not to lose her place in paradise, she recruits her “soulmate,” a former ethics professor, to teach her philosophy with the hope that she can learn to be a good person and keep up her charade of being an upstanding citizen. The pilot does a superb job of setting up the stakes, the story, and the characters, while smuggling in deep philosophical ideas.

Personal essays

Our first foray into nonfiction on this list is the personal essay. As its name suggests, these stories are in some way autobiographical — concerned with the author’s life and experiences. But don’t be fooled by the realistic component. These essays can take any shape or form, from comics to diary entries to recipes and anything else you can imagine. Typically zeroing in on a single issue, they allow you to explore your life and prove that the personal can be universal.

Here are a couple of fantastic examples:

“On Selling Your First Novel After 11 Years” by Min Jin Lee (Literary Hub)

There was so much to learn and practice, but I began to see the prose in verse and the verse in prose. Patterns surfaced in poems, stories, and plays. There was music in sentences and paragraphs. I could hear the silences in a sentence. All this schooling was like getting x-ray vision and animal-like hearing. 

Stacks of multicolored hardcover books.

This deeply honest personal essay by Pachinko author Min Jin Lee is an account of her eleven-year struggle to publish her first novel . Like all good writing, it is intensely focused on personal emotional details. While grounded in the specifics of the author's personal journey, it embodies an experience that is absolutely universal: that of difficulty and adversity met by eventual success. 

“A Cyclist on the English Landscape” by Roff Smith (New York Times)

These images, though, aren’t meant to be about me. They’re meant to represent a cyclist on the landscape, anybody — you, perhaps. 

Roff Smith’s gorgeous photo essay for the NYT is a testament to the power of creatively combining visuals with text. Here, photographs of Smith atop a bike are far from simply ornamental. They’re integral to the ruminative mood of the essay, as essential as the writing. Though Smith places his work at the crosscurrents of various aesthetic influences (such as the painter Edward Hopper), what stands out the most in this taciturn, thoughtful piece of writing is his use of the second person to address the reader directly. Suddenly, the writer steps out of the body of the essay and makes eye contact with the reader. The reader is now part of the story as a second character, finally entering the picture.

Short Fiction

The short story is the happy medium of fiction writing. These bite-sized narratives can be devoured in a single sitting and still leave you reeling. Sometimes viewed as a stepping stone to novel writing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Short story writing is an art all its own. The limited length means every word counts and there’s no better way to see that than with these two examples:

“An MFA Story” by Paul Dalla Rosa (Electric Literature)

At Starbucks, I remembered a reading Zhen had given, a reading organized by the program’s faculty. I had not wanted to go but did. In the bar, he read, "I wrote this in a Starbucks in Shanghai. On the bank of the Huangpu." It wasn’t an aside or introduction. It was two lines of the poem. I was in a Starbucks and I wasn’t writing any poems. I wasn’t writing anything. 

Creative Writing Examples | Photograph of New York City street.

This short story is a delightfully metafictional tale about the struggles of being a writer in New York. From paying the bills to facing criticism in a writing workshop and envying more productive writers, Paul Dalla Rosa’s story is a clever satire of the tribulations involved in the writing profession, and all the contradictions embodied by systemic creativity (as famously laid out in Mark McGurl’s The Program Era ). What’s more, this story is an excellent example of something that often happens in creative writing: a writer casting light on the private thoughts or moments of doubt we don’t admit to or openly talk about. 

“Flowering Walrus” by Scott Skinner (Reedsy)

I tell him they’d been there a month at least, and he looks concerned. He has my tongue on a tissue paper and is gripping its sides with his pointer and thumb. My tongue has never spent much time outside of my mouth, and I imagine it as a walrus basking in the rays of the dental light. My walrus is not well. 

A winner of Reedsy’s weekly Prompts writing contest, ‘ Flowering Walrus ’ is a story that balances the trivial and the serious well. In the pauses between its excellent, natural dialogue , the story manages to scatter the fear and sadness of bad medical news, as the protagonist hides his worries from his wife and daughter. Rich in subtext, these silences grow and resonate with the readers.

Want to give short story writing a go? Give our free course a go!

creative writing parts of a story


How to Craft a Killer Short Story

From pacing to character development, master the elements of short fiction.

Perhaps the thing that first comes to mind when talking about creative writing, novels are a form of fiction that many people know and love but writers sometimes find intimidating. The good news is that novels are nothing but one word put after another, like any other piece of writing, but expanded and put into a flowing narrative. Piece of cake, right?

To get an idea of the format’s breadth of scope, take a look at these two (very different) satirical novels: 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

I wished I was back in the convenience store where I was valued as a working member of staff and things weren’t as complicated as this. Once we donned our uniforms, we were all equals regardless of gender, age, or nationality — all simply store workers. 

Creative Writing Examples | Book cover of Convenience Store Woman

Keiko, a thirty-six-year-old convenience store employee, finds comfort and happiness in the strict, uneventful routine of the shop’s daily operations. A funny, satirical, but simultaneously unnerving examination of the social structures we take for granted, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is deeply original and lingers with the reader long after they’ve put it down.

Erasure by Percival Everett

The hard, gritty truth of the matter is that I hardly ever think about race. Those times when I did think about it a lot I did so because of my guilt for not thinking about it.  

Erasure is a truly accomplished satire of the publishing industry’s tendency to essentialize African American authors and their writing. Everett’s protagonist is a writer whose work doesn’t fit with what publishers expect from him — work that describes the “African American experience” — so he writes a parody novel about life in the ghetto. The publishers go crazy for it and, to the protagonist’s horror, it becomes the next big thing. This sophisticated novel is both ironic and tender, leaving its readers with much food for thought.

Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is pretty broad: it applies to anything that does not claim to be fictional (although the rise of autofiction has definitely blurred the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction). It encompasses everything from personal essays and memoirs to humor writing, and they range in length from blog posts to full-length books. The defining characteristic of this massive genre is that it takes the world or the author’s experience and turns it into a narrative that a reader can follow along with.

Here, we want to focus on novel-length works that dig deep into their respective topics. While very different, these two examples truly show the breadth and depth of possibility of creative nonfiction:

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Men’s bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls them from the beyond, makes them appear as ghosts. In death, they transcend the circumstances of this place that I love and hate all at once and become supernatural. 

Writer Jesmyn Ward recounts the deaths of five men from her rural Mississippi community in as many years. In her award-winning memoir , she delves into the lives of the friends and family she lost and tries to find some sense among the tragedy. Working backwards across five years, she questions why this had to happen over and over again, and slowly unveils the long history of racism and poverty that rules rural Black communities. Moving and emotionally raw, Men We Reaped is an indictment of a cruel system and the story of a woman's grief and rage as she tries to navigate it.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

He believed that wine could reshape someone’s life. That’s why he preferred buying bottles to splurging on sweaters. Sweaters were things. Bottles of wine, said Morgan, “are ways that my humanity will be changed.” 

In this work of immersive journalism , Bianca Bosker leaves behind her life as a tech journalist to explore the world of wine. Becoming a “cork dork” takes her everywhere from New York’s most refined restaurants to science labs while she learns what it takes to be a sommelier and a true wine obsessive. This funny and entertaining trip through the past and present of wine-making and tasting is sure to leave you better informed and wishing you, too, could leave your life behind for one devoted to wine. 

Illustrated Narratives (Comics, graphic novels)

Once relegated to the “funny pages”, the past forty years of comics history have proven it to be a serious medium. Comics have transformed from the early days of Jack Kirby’s superheroes into a medium where almost every genre is represented. Humorous one-shots in the Sunday papers stand alongside illustrated memoirs, horror, fantasy, and just about anything else you can imagine. This type of visual storytelling lets the writer and artist get creative with perspective, tone, and so much more. For two very different, though equally entertaining, examples, check these out:

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

"Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure." 

A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. A little blond boy Calvin makes multiple silly faces in school photos. In the last panel, his father says, "That's our son. *Sigh*" His mother then says, "The pictures will remind of more than we want to remember."

This beloved comic strip follows Calvin, a rambunctious six-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger/imaginary friend, Hobbes. They get into all kinds of hijinks at school and at home, and muse on the world in the way only a six-year-old and an anthropomorphic tiger can. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is, Calvin & Hobbes ’ popularity persists as much for its whimsy as its use of humor to comment on life, childhood, adulthood, and everything in between. 

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell 

"I shall tell you where we are. We're in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A dim, subconscious underworld. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves. Hell, Netley. We're in Hell." 

Comics aren't just the realm of superheroes and one-joke strips, as Alan Moore proves in this serialized graphic novel released between 1989 and 1998. A meticulously researched alternative history of Victorian London’s Ripper killings, this macabre story pulls no punches. Fact and fiction blend into a world where the Royal Family is involved in a dark conspiracy and Freemasons lurk on the sidelines. It’s a surreal mad-cap adventure that’s unsettling in the best way possible. 

Video Games and RPGs

Probably the least expected entry on this list, we thought that video games and RPGs also deserved a mention — and some well-earned recognition for the intricate storytelling that goes into creating them. 

Essentially gamified adventure stories, without attention to plot, characters, and a narrative arc, these games would lose a lot of their charm, so let’s look at two examples where the creative writing really shines through: 

80 Days by inkle studios

"It was a triumph of invention over nature, and will almost certainly disappear into the dust once more in the next fifty years." 

A video game screenshot of 80 days. In the center is a city with mechanical legs. It's titled "The Moving City." In the lower right hand corner is a profile of man with a speech balloon that says, "A starched collar, very good indeed."

Named Time Magazine ’s game of the year in 2014, this narrative adventure is based on Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The player is cast as the novel’s narrator, Passpartout, and tasked with circumnavigating the globe in service of their employer, Phileas Fogg. Set in an alternate steampunk Victorian era, the game uses its globe-trotting to comment on the colonialist fantasies inherent in the original novel and its time period. On a storytelling level, the choose-your-own-adventure style means no two players’ journeys will be the same. This innovative approach to a classic novel shows the potential of video games as a storytelling medium, truly making the player part of the story. 

What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow

"If we lived forever, maybe we'd have time to understand things. But as it is, I think the best we can do is try to open our eyes, and appreciate how strange and brief all of this is." 

This video game casts the player as 17-year-old Edith Finch. Returning to her family’s home on an island in the Pacific northwest, Edith explores the vast house and tries to figure out why she’s the only one of her family left alive. The story of each family member is revealed as you make your way through the house, slowly unpacking the tragic fate of the Finches. Eerie and immersive, this first-person exploration game uses the medium to tell a series of truly unique tales. 

Fun and breezy on the surface, humor is often recognized as one of the trickiest forms of creative writing. After all, while you can see the artistic value in a piece of prose that you don’t necessarily enjoy, if a joke isn’t funny, you could say that it’s objectively failed.

With that said, it’s far from an impossible task, and many have succeeded in bringing smiles to their readers’ faces through their writing. Here are two examples:

‘How You Hope Your Extended Family Will React When You Explain Your Job to Them’ by Mike Lacher (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

“Is it true you don’t have desks?” your grandmother will ask. You will nod again and crack open a can of Country Time Lemonade. “My stars,” she will say, “it must be so wonderful to not have a traditional office and instead share a bistro-esque coworking space.” 

An open plan office seen from a bird's eye view. There are multiple strands of Edison lights hanging from the ceiling. At long light wooden tables multiple people sit working at computers, many of them wearing headphones.

Satire and parody make up a whole subgenre of creative writing, and websites like McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Onion consistently hit the mark with their parodies of magazine publishing and news media. This particular example finds humor in the divide between traditional family expectations and contemporary, ‘trendy’ work cultures. Playing on the inherent silliness of today’s tech-forward middle-class jobs, this witty piece imagines a scenario where the writer’s family fully understands what they do — and are enthralled to hear more. “‘Now is it true,’ your uncle will whisper, ‘that you’ve got a potential investment from one of the founders of I Can Haz Cheezburger?’”

‘Not a Foodie’ by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (Electric Literature)

I’m not a foodie, I never have been, and I know, in my heart, I never will be. 

Highlighting what she sees as an unbearable social obsession with food , in this comic Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell takes a hilarious stand against the importance of food. From the writer’s courageous thesis (“I think there are more exciting things to talk about, and focus on in life, than what’s for dinner”) to the amusing appearance of family members and the narrator’s partner, ‘Not a Foodie’ demonstrates that even a seemingly mundane pet peeve can be approached creatively — and even reveal something profound about life.

We hope this list inspires you with your own writing. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be that there is no limit to what you can write about or how you can write about it. 

In the next part of this guide, we'll drill down into the fascinating world of creative nonfiction.

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creative writing parts of a story



Lesson 1: parts of a story.

Every story has the same basic parts. This lesson will give you an overview of the parts of a story.

You will do some practice exercises to get your imagination going so you can plan the parts of a story you want to write.

Please click here for a printable version of this lesson (below).

For the lesson plan for this lesson, click here

The main parts of a story are character (s), plot and setting . You may have heard these terms before. Every story has characters. The characters can be adults, children, or even animals. In some stories, objects with human traits and voices are characters, like the teacup in Beauty and The Beast, for example.

The plot is the story itself. A good plot captures attention and makes the reader of your story want to keep reading. Conflict is another term that is related to plot. Every story has a conflict. This is the issue or problem faced by the characters. It may be a problem they need to solve or an adventure you want them to have.

The setting is where the story takes place. It may take place in a familiar city or another country, in the character's home, at a school, in a sports stadium…any place that fits the characters and the plot. Of course, there can be more than one setting within a story if the story is long enough. Since you will be writing a short story, it will probably be best to set it in only one place. Related to setting is the time period . A story may be set in the present, in the past, or in the future.

When you plan a story, begin with a character or characters, a plot (something for the character or characters to do), and a place and time for the action of the story to happen. You may be surprised how many ideas you have for characters, plot, and setting once you start thinking about them. These things may be based on your own real-life experiences, or they may come completely out of your imagination. Think about some of your favorite stories. How would you describe the characters? Where do the stories take place? What is the story about?

The Main Character

Begin with a main character. To do this, think of some of the interesting people you have known. You may decide to write about a character that is based on a person you know, or you may want to give an animal or thing the characteristics of a person. Do you have a favorite uncle who does really funny things? Do you know a kid who is really smart but maybe a little clumsy, too? Do you have a pet that seems to think he is human? Once you start thinking about all the people you know and what makes them special and different from each other, you will begin to get a lot of great ideas for characters.

Of course, your character or characters will need a story to be part of. They need to do something interesting or have a special experience. Think of some of the things you are interested in and like to do. You might want to write a story in which the characters play sports, solve a mystery or win a contest. Something exciting, embarrassing or scary that has happened to you or a friend can also be a starting point for a good story.

The Setting

When you have an idea for a plot and the characters it will involve, you will need to decide where your story will take place. Sometimes you will decide on the place before you make up the plot. If you like the zoo or the mall, you may want to set a story in one of those places. Maybe the place you spent your last summer vacation is a good setting for your story. If you choose the plot first, the setting of the story may be obvious. For example, if you decide to write a story about a baseball player, there's a good chance that at least part of the story will take place on a baseball field!  

creative writing parts of a story

Printable version of this lesson.

For the lesson plan for this writing lesson, click here

Journal Buddies Jill | January 29, 2023 May 13, 2019 | Creative Writing

51 Super Story Starter Sentences

Story Starter Sentences to Ignite Your Mind— We’ve made it easy for you to start your next story. You see, we put together a wonderfully fun and creative list of 51 story starter sentences. Hopefully, these ideas will give you the inspiration you need to get started on your next creative writing project.  

Story Writing Sentence Starters

Why Use Story Prompts?

It’s true…

One of the most challenging parts of creative writing can be actually getting a new piece started.

I mean, it’s not always easy to come up with fresh ideas to hone your story writing skills and before you know it, you can waste 30 minutes looking at a blank piece of paper.

Even if you have an idea, coming up with that opening line to get you started can be a challenge. The great news is once you get started the writing usually begins to flow. But, if you need some assistance getting your creative juices flowing…

Then you may find that our story starter sentences will ignite your mind with great ideas. Plus, they may also give you an opening line to get you going so you don’t spend all your time trying to come up with an idea on your own.

So get to it and use the writing prompts in your classroom today.

51 Story Starter Sentences

Sentence Starters for Story Writing

I hope you enjoyed this list of story starter sentences.

Discover More Ways You can Write Your Very Own Stories

If you want to create and write your own stories, then it’s essential you learn how to develop the plot of a story. This is why we’d like to encourage you to a look at our article :

Six Steps to Develop the Plot of a Story and 15 Fresh Writing Prompts Ideas .

There’s a treasure trove of excellent writing information for you in that article.

So get to it and check it out today. I think you’ll be glad you did!

More Links & Resources for You

If you enjoyed these  Story Starter Sentences, please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. I appreciate it!

Sincerely, Jill creator and curator

Sentence Story Starters for Writing Inspiration

Tap to See Prompts Fun Plot Twists Ideas, Tips, and Examples 15 Fresh Plot Ideas for Stories Story Ideas Generator Resources Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7-8 Grade 9-12 All Ages ------------End of Om Added --------- Tags All Ages , creative , creative story ideas , Creative Writing , get started writing , great ideas , ideas , list of story starter , Starter Sentences , story , Story Ideas , story starter , story starter sentences , story starters , story starters for kids , story writing , Story Writing Ideas , story writing prompts , write a story , writing , writing project , writing skills div#postbottom { margin-top: 12px; } Featured Posts

Spring Writing Prompts

Storyboard That

Teaching Parts of a Story

As the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a plot! This particularly holds true in the classroom. After speaking with numerous elementary school teachers, I have found that everyone has their own preferred method to teach the same concept. All of the teachers I spoke with introduced their preferred plot diagram and asked students to complete a simple worksheet reinforcing their outline. With the power of Storyboard That, you and your students can take these charts to the next level.

For high school and middle school, see our article on plot diagram.

S.T.O.R.Y. - Holes

Parts of a Story Lesson Plan

Plot definition.

Plot is the main events of a story, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence of events. Various genres or types of literature may contain different sequences, or use different terminology. This article is intended for elementary school teachers teaching the parts of a story to their students.

Parts of a Story | Beginning Middle End

Most Common Parts of Plot


The beginning of a work of literature; the setting and characters are introduced.

The "conflict" or "problem" is the primary obstacle that the main character must overcome.

The sequence of events or attempts to overcome the problem.

The turning point of the story.

How the problem was resolved.

The ending of the story, the lesson or moral learned.

Grade Level: K-5

Although this lesson covers multiple age ranges, below are Common Core State Standards for Grade 5. Please see your Common Core State Standards for the correct grade-appropriate strands.

Students will be able to explain the parts of a story using details from the text.

Ways to Skin a Plot!

Parts of a story - grades k-2.

BME: Beginning, Middle, End

For young readers and listeners graphing the parts of a story are simple with a "BME". In this scenario, students might be reading themselves, or being read to. With the direction of their instructor, they will fill out a three-column chart, aloud, as a class. Each column will contain details from the Beginning, Middle, and End of the story. This activity for young readers is excellent to help reinforce sequencing!

Students can easily learn, to summarize most stories with a systematic approach. The “B”, or beginning, of the summary should stop after the problem is introduced. The “M”, or middle, should stop after the climax. Finally, the “E”, or end, should include and explain the resolution/conclusion, i.e., how the problem was solved.

BME - Plot - Template

Parts of a Story - Grades 3-5

Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then

In this five-step process, students are asked to recall specific aspects of the story they read. “Somebody” asks students to recall and describe the main character. “Wanted” requires students to evaluate what the character wanted to do, or was trying to achieve. The “But” is the conflict of the story. It is the inevitable problem the main character runs into, and must face and fix before getting what they want. For the “So”, students tell the ways that the character attempted to solve the “But”. It is important to note that sometimes the main character makes multiple attempts, failing on their first few tries. Finally, students get to the “Then” of the story. “Then” refers to the attempt to solve the problem that worked, this is also known as the resolution.

Somebody / Wanted / So / But / Then - Template

What’s the S.T.O.R.Y?

Another similar five-step diagram is "S.T.O.R.Y." This is a great acronym to use in class to help students remember the sequence of events and parts of a story. It is very similar to "somebody, wanted, but, so, then". The acronym stands for:

S.T.O.R.Y Teaching plot grades 3-5

The event arch is a plot diagram broken down into straightforward language that is perfect for primary school grades. Notice that the event arch and the plot diagram are very similar. The main difference is the terminology used, and the substitutions of "events" for "rising action". For primary grade levels the use of words like introduction, problem, climax, resolution, and conclusion. I have also seen some diagrams that overlay the S.T.O.R.Y acronym or "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" to their outline.

Event Arch Chart - Introduction to Conclusion

Whichever way works the best with your classroom is recommended; after all, there is more than one way to teach plot structure!

Add a Presentation

Related activities.

The Wild Robot Plot Summary

Privacy And Security

Each version of Storyboard That has a different privacy and security model that is tailored for the expected usage.

Free Edition

All storyboards are public and can be viewed and copied by anyone. They will also appear in Google search results.

Personal Edition

The author can choose to leave the storyboard public or mark it as Unlisted. Unlisted storyboards can be shared via a link, but otherwise will remain hidden.

Educational Edition

All storyboards and images are private and secure. Teachers can view all of their students’ storyboards, but students can only view their own. No one else can view anything. Teachers may opt to lower the security if they want to allow sharing.

Business Edition

All storyboards are private and secure to the portal using enterprise-class file security hosted by Microsoft Azure. Within the portal, all users can view and copy all storyboards. In addition, any storyboard can be made “sharable”, where a private link to the storyboard can be shared externally.

Creative Writing 101

Creative Writing 101

You love to write and have been told you have a way with words. So you’ve decided to give writing a try—creative writing.

Problem is, you’re finding it tougher than it looks.

You may even have a great story idea , but you’re not sure how to turn it into something people will read.

Don’t be discouraged—writing a compelling story can be grueling, even for veterans. Conflicting advice online may confuse you and make you want to quit before you start.

But you know more than you think. Stories saturate our lives.

We tell and hear stories every day in music, on television, in video games, in books, in movies, even in relationships.

Most stories, regardless the genre, feature a main character who wants something.

There’s a need, a goal, some sort of effort to get that something.

The character begins an adventure, a journey, or a quest, faces obstacles, and is ultimately transformed.

The work of developing such a story will come. But first, let’s look at the basics.

It’s prose (fiction or nonfiction) that tells a story.

Journalistic, academic, technical writing relays facts.

Creative writing can also educate, but it’s best when it also entertains and emotionally moves the reader.

It triggers the imagination and appeals to the heart.

Elements of Creative Writing

Writing a story is much like building a house.

You may have all the right tools and design ideas, but if your foundation isn’t solid, even the most beautiful structure won’t stand.

Most storytelling experts agree, these 7 key elements must exist in a story.

Plot (more on that below) is what happens in a story. Theme is why it happens.

Before you begin writing, determine why you want to tell your story.

Resist the urge to explicitly state your theme. Just tell the story, and let it make its own point.

Give your readers credit. Subtly weave your theme into the story and trust them to get it.

They may remember a great plot, but you want them thinking about your theme long after they’ve finished reading.

2. Characters

Every story needs believable characters who feel knowable.

In fiction, your main character is the protagonist, also known as the lead or hero/heroine.

The protagonist must have:

Resist the temptation to create a perfect lead. Perfect is boring. (Even Indiana Jones suffered a snake phobia.)

You also need an antagonist, the villain , who should be every bit as formidable and compelling as your hero.

Don’t make your bad guy bad just because he’s the bad guy. Make him a worthy foe by giving him motives for his actions.

Villains don’t see themselves as bad. They think they’re right! A fully rounded bad guy is much more realistic and memorable.

Depending on the length of your story , you may also need important orbital cast members.

For each character, ask:

The more challenges your characters face, the more relatable they are.

Much as in real life, the toughest challenges result in the most transformation.

Setting may include a location, time, or era, but it should also include how things look, smell, taste, feel, and sound.

Thoroughly research details about your setting so it informs your writing, but use those details as seasoning, not the main course. The main course is the story.

But, beware.

Agents and acquisitions editors tell me one of the biggest mistakes beginning writers make is feeling they must begin by describing the setting.

That’s important, don’t get me wrong. But a sure way to put readers to sleep is to promise a thrilling story on the cover—only to start with some variation of:

The house sat in a deep wood surrounded by…

Rather than describing your setting, subtly layer it into the story.

Show readers your setting. Don’t tell them. Description as a separate element slows your story to crawl.

By layering in what things look and feel and sound like you subtly register the setting in the theater of readers’ minds.

While they concentrating on the action, the dialogue , the tension , the drama, and conflict that keep them turning the pages, they’re also getting a look and feel for your setting.

4. Point of View

POV is more than which voice you choose to tell your story: First Person ( I, me ), Second Person ( you, your ), or Third Person ( he, she, or it ).

Determine your perspective (POV) character for each scene—the one who serves as your camera and recorder—by deciding who has the most at stake. Who’s story is this?

The cardinal rule is that you’re limited to one perspective character per scene, but I prefer only one per chapter, and ideally one per novel.

Readers experience everything in your story from this character’s perspective.

For a more in-depth explanation of Voice and POV, read A Writer’s Guide to Point of View .

This is the sequence of events that make up a story —in short, what happens. It either compels your reader to keep turning pages or set the book aside.

A successful story answers:

Writing coaches call various story structures by different names, but they’re all largely similar. All such structures include some variation of:

How effectively you create drama, intrigue, conflict, and tension, determines whether you can grab readers from the start and keep them to the end.

6. Conflict

This is the engine of fiction and crucial to effective nonfiction as well.

Readers crave conflict and what results from it.

If everything in your plot is going well and everyone is agreeing, you’ll quickly bore your reader—the cardinal sin of writing.

If two characters are chatting amiably and the scene feels flat (which it will), inject conflict. Have one say something that makes the other storm out, revealing a deep-seated rift.

Readers will stay with you to find out what it’s all about.

7. Resolution

Whether you’re an Outliner or a Pantser like me (one who writes by the seat of your pants), you must have an idea where your story is going.

How you expect the story to end should inform every scene and chapter. It may change, evolve, and grow as you and your characters do, but never leave it to chance.

Keep your lead character center stage to the very end. Everything he learns through all the complications you plunged him into should, in the end, allow him to rise to the occasion and succeed.

If you get near the end and something’s missing, don’t rush it. Give your ending a few days, even a few weeks if necessary.

Read through everything you’ve written. Take a long walk. Think about it. Sleep on it. Jot notes. Let your subconscious work. Play what-if games. Reach for the heart, and deliver a satisfying ending that resonates .

Give your readers a payoff for their investment by making it unforgettable.

In How to Write a Novel , I cover each step of the writing process:

1. Carry a writing pad, electronic or otherwise. I like the famous Moleskine™ notebook . 

Ideas can come at any moment. Record ideas for:

2. Start small. 

Take time to build your craft and hone your skills on smaller projects before you try to write a book .

Journal. Write a newsletter. Start a blog. Write short stories . Submit articles to magazines, newspapers, or e-zines.

Take a night school or online course in journalism or creative writing. Attend a writers conference.

3. Throw perfection to the wind. 

Separate your writing from your editing .

Anytime you’re writing a first draft, take off your perfectionist cap. You can return to editor mode to your heart’s content while revising, but for now, just write the story.

Separate these tasks and watch your daily production soar.

Few pleasures in life compare to getting lost in a great story.

Learn how to write creatively, and the characters you birth have the potential to live in hearts for years.

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Before you go, be sure to grab my character arc worksheet.

Just tell me where to send it:

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How to write a novel: a 12-step guide.

Literacy Ideas

Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students

A complete guide to story elements

What Are Story Elements? 

Story Elements,teaching | File 0016 1 1 | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

Developing a solid understanding of the elements of a story is essential for our students to follow and fully comprehend the stories they read. However, before students can understand how these elements contribute to a story’s overall meaning and effect, they must first be able to identify the component parts confidently.  

So, what are the elements of a story, then? For the purpose of teaching our students, we can usefully divide these elements into two groups.

The first group comprises the basic components of a story and is generally taught to elementary and middle school students, while the second group consists of more complex elements taught to more advanced students.

Though the elements identified below provide a comprehensive overview, they are not an exhaustive analysis of every possible element of a story.


Story Elements,teaching | Story Elements Teaching Unit | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

☀️This HUGE resource provides you with all the TOOLS, RESOURCES , and CONTENT to teach students about characters and story elements.



these are the five key elements of a story


Story Elements,teaching | STORY ELEMENTS 1920 x 1080 | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

More Advanced Elements

When students have gained sufficient experience in recognizing these essential story elements, they can then begin work on the story elements that are more advanced, regardless of their age.

Let’s take a brief look at four of these more advanced story elements.

These more advanced elements are a little more difficult to define than those on the basic list and, therefore can be confusing for students who are new to them. All these elements pertain to how words are used, but style also pertains to the purpose of the text, tone to the author’s attitude to the subject, with the mood being concerned with the reader’s attitude to the subject.

Why Are Story Elements Important?

There are many reasons students need to be well-versed in identifying the elements of a story, not least of which is the deeper levels of comprehension and enhanced appreciation this brings. Understanding how a story is organized is necessary for students to access the highest levels of comprehension of that story. Understanding how a story is organized also provides students with a frame of reference that significantly assists with recall. Often necessary, especially where exams are concerned, the implications here for subjects outside the English classroom are apparent too. 

Being familiar with the various elements that combine together in good storytelling also helps students in their own writing. It helps students to organise their thoughts and competently weave together the various threads of their own stories. No small feat for an experienced writer, let alone a novice!


Getting to grips with the various elements of a story begins very early on with the first stories children hear. Often even before they begin elementary school. Students will have learned to identify the essential elements in stories by answering simple questions about the people in the story and the events that happened.  

As students grow confident in identifying the key elements in their favorite stories, they begin to move on to more complex stories. They begin to recognize the more complex elements that require more advanced critical thinking skills .  

In their simplest forms, activities to aid students in identifying story elements start with answering basic guided questions before students begin to move on to more focused reading activities, a few of which we will look at here.

Story Elements,teaching | Story2BMap2BImage | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |


Graphic organizers are a great way to assist students in extracting the elements of a story and organizing them in a visual way that helps them to comprehend the story better. They can further assist students in recalling, retelling, and summarizing. One of the best-suited graphic organizers for identifying story elements is the story map.

Story maps help students to organize the elements of the story in a visual manner that assists in gaining that fuller comprehension. Students examine the assigned text and extract the information related to each element. They can then record this information on their copy of the story map.

Story maps easily lend themselves to being differentiated, as the teacher can select the elements most appropriate for the age and ability of the students. In the beginning, students should gain experience identifying the basic elements in simple stories – fairy tales for example – before moving on to more sophisticated stories employing a wider range of elements.

Practice in the use of story maps will see students developing the ability to efficiently summarize the characters, setting, theme etc., of any reading material instinctively. Story maps can also be used as a valuable prewriting planning exercise.

Eventually, in regards to reading , students will be able to identify a story’s elements naturally, without the aid of a story map or graphic organizer of any sort – though this option will always remain for those who require the additional support a story map offers.


Story Elements,teaching | story tellers bundle 1 | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:


As we have noted, for the advanced student, there are a lot of different component parts of a story to identify and work with. We could isolate each element and build a series of discrete lessons around each. The possibilities are endless, and it is obviously impossible to cover every possibility here. However, it is worth looking at three more general activities to ensure students understand story elements and how they work.

Activity 1: Read, Roll, and Retell

Story Elements,teaching | writing dice task | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

This simple activity is a fun way for students in a group to review material they have recently read. It begins with a student rolling a die or dice. The number they roll corresponds to a list of questions on each story element.

For example, the student rolls a three, which corresponds to a question on the setting, such as Where and when did this story take place? The student then answers in as much detail as possible regarding the text.

This activity can easily be differentiated by increasing the number and complexity of the questions and broadening the range of elements included. More than one question about each element can be included too.

Activity 2: Pick a Part

This activity works well with students working in pairs. Each student has a copy of the story. The various story elements are written on pieces of card: character, setting, mood, tone etc. Students take turns picking out a piece of card, making sure their partner does not know which element they have selected. They must then read a brief extract from the story corresponding to that element. Their partner must attempt to identify the element. When their partner has successfully identified the story element, it is their turn to pick a card.

Activity 3: Story graph 

Story Elements,teaching | story graphs | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

This activity works best for recording the sub-elements of the plot, such as exposition, rising action, conflict, falling action, climax and resolution. The storygraph works as a straightforward graph with the various elements above listed on the x-axis, according to their chronological appearance in the text. The y-axis represents excitement, with the most dramatic points plotted higher. Students plot these points for each element. For example, the exposition of the story (usually corresponding to the setting of the scene, the introduction of the characters etc.) will be plotted relatively low in the excitement stakes, with the excitement gradually rising to the crescendo of the climax before dipping slightly for the resolution.  

Students can further label these points on the graph with details of the corresponding events in the story.


And so our own story draws to a close, but let’s review the takeaways so that our students can live happily ever after – at least as far as story elements are concerned!

Many elements are at play when we drill down into how stories work. To comprehend a story, students must understand how the major elements interact. To do this, they will need to first be able to identify these elements accurately. This will require practice in the form of discrete lessons on story elements that are progressive in difficulty. 

The ideas on story maps and other activities above represent a good starting point for these discrete lessons. But, it is crucial to reinforce this learning through reference and repetition in other lessons, where the main focus is not on the elements of a story themselves.

There is no magic at play here; just practice, practice, practice. All very element -ary, my dear teacher!

Download our FREE Character Trait Lists now


These lists are excellent for helping students to describe characters and objects when writing and help students get to know and understand different character traits.

Story Elements,teaching | 1 Slide1 | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |


Story Elements,teaching | story writing 3 | Teaching The 5 Story Elements: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Students |

Once you have developed a strong understanding of story elements, it’s time for your students to use them to become story creators and write grand narratives .

Ensure your students invest time in planning the essential elements (Setting, Character, Plot, Conflict and Theme) of a narrative and really flesh those elements out before chasing down a single idea they may have had, such as a story about a cowboy in space.

You can find our complete guide to narrative and story writing here , which is a must-read before you, and your students consider writing their next bestseller.

Be sure to flip many of the activities in this article around story elements so that they come at them from the author’s perspective more so than the audience’s.


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7 ways to write great Characters and Settings | Story Elements

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Elements of Literature

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The Writing Process

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Short Story Writing for Students and Teachers

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How to write a Narrative: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers

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5 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love

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Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies

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Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students

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How to Write a Great Plot

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

NO PREP REQUIRED A ready-made unit on Story Elements awaits you.

Creative Writing News

Narrative Arc, Story Arc, Plot Arc and Character Arc (Definitions + Examples + Tips For Creating A Narrative Arc In Your Story)

What is a story arc? Does it mean the same thing as narrative arc or plot arc? These are questions many budding and professional writers often ask. And they are very important questions too. Storytelling arcs help to make great stories memorable and outstanding.

In this article, Charles Opara will give apt narrative arc definitions. Then, he’ll dissect a sample story that has a clear story arc. What’s more, he’ll explain the difference between a character arc and a narrative arc. You’ll also get bonus tips on how to create the arc of a story in a narrative 

Ready to learn about arcs in stories? Read on.

The Story Arc Also Known As The Narrative Arc.

When many writers get a story idea, the last thing they think about is the narrative arc. But the story arc is one out of many techniques that keeps the reader hooked .

Before we learn how to create a story arc, let’s define a narrative arc.

What is a narrative arc?

The story arc or narrative arc or dramatic arc is the path a story follows. It gives a story a definite form, one with a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

The concept of narrative arc as we know it today was created by Gustav Freytag, a German novelist and playwright who closely analyzed ancient Greek writing, along with William Shakespeare’s five-act plays.

As the term suggests, when plotted on paper, a typical narrative arc forms the shape of a hill or pyramid.

story arc

Creative writing experts suggest that a typical story arc has five elements..  Understanding these elements will help you know what to focus on when trying to create a narrative arc in your story.

Here they are, arranged in the order in which they appear:

The Five Elements of a Story Arc


This is the reader’s introduction to the story. The exposition offers background information to prime the audience for the rest of the story, including introducing the main character(s) (the “who”), setting (the “where”), and circumstances or time period (the “when”).

Rising Action.

This is when conflict begins to ramp up. The rising action usually begins with what’s called an “inciting incident”—the triggering event that puts the main events of the story in motion. This is when the audience starts to see what your story is really about.

This element forces you to answer questions like, what visual representation describes the structural elements of your plot?

This is the highest point of tension in your storyline, and often the point at which all the different subplots and characters converge. Typically, the climax requires the main character to face the truth or make an important choice.

Falling Action.

This is what happens as a result of the protagonist’s decision. During the falling action, the conflict gives way to resolution. Loose ends are tied up, and tension begins to dissipate.


Also known as a denouement, this is how your story ends. The resolution of a narrative arc isn’t always happy, but it does close the loop and show how the events of the story have changed the characters and the world around them.

How To Create A Narrative Arc (Examples and Tips).

I will demonstrate these 5 elements using excerpts from my horror short story piece: It Happened.

Arc of a story

A Demonstration of the Five Elements of a Story Arc using the horror short story piece

‘It Happened’ by Charles Opara

Exposition (Opening)

It is official. My son is missing — if you believe the statement I made back at the station. I am in the backseat of a squad car, on a manhunt for the prime suspect in my son’s abduction, and we have just gone past the orphanage at Aladinma. Chuma, my first child, left home for Church to rehearse for a play his youth group plan to stage on Sunday and has not returned since. Look at the time. It is past nine. The police chief and I have spent the last forty-five minutes visiting some of Chuma’s friends in their homes and interrogating them. They all said the same thing: they last saw him at the rehearsal and do not know where he went after that.

The police chief is constantly on his phone, constantly talking to his boys, asking if they have made any progress. Every negative response he gets threatens to turn me into a nervous wreck.

Help me, Lord, before I lose my mind. I am a poor widow whose mite comes from her earnings as a nurse at a state-run clinic, one of the outstations for the proper reference hospitals in the city. I have no one else but you, Lord, and I thank you for revealing to me who my son’s abductor is. I speak of Ihemee, the destitute on our street. Would I even know his name if it were not for my son, whom he chose to befriend?

Chuma has been acting strange ever since we moved to Ikoku Avenue, almost three months ago. He has a knack for expressing ideas that could not possibly come from a nine-year-old. Like the time he asked me a riddle: “Grass eats dirt, cow eats grass, and man eats cow. What eats man?” I answered ‘nothing’, and he said, “Maggots. Maggots eat man. They turn him into dirt so the grass can eat.”

When Chuma became fascinated with setting traps for house rats — when I noticed he was a little too eager to take out the rubbish, every evening — I asked Uchendu, my second child, to follow him and see where he would take the trash. Uchendu came home to report that he had seen Chuma speaking with Ihemee at the dumpsite.

characters in the story

What? My son? Talking to that mad man? After I specifically warned him to steer clear of him? What sort of mind-control medicine is that homeless herbalist using on him? Ihemee, of all people! How can Chuma want to be friends with that disgusting thing? A tramp who could be carrying skin diseases yet unknown to man? Who might even be a runaway from a mental institution, and potentially dangerous?

Analysis Of The Opening (Exposition).

Notice the background information. I’m referring to the incidents that happened before we joined the story:

We also learn a bit about the narrator.

She’s a nurse.

And two other characters, who are at the heart of the conflict: Chuma and Ihemee.

The police chief gets off the phone and says to me, “My men have apprehended the suspect.”

“Praise God,” I chant. “Is my son with him? Have they found him?”

”Calm down, Madam. Your son is not with him, but we will find him. I assure you.”

He tells the driver to turn the car around and our convoy of two makes a U-turn. At one point, the other car’s headlight strikes me with a blinding haze of white that catches the tears welling up in my eyes.

character arc

If my premonition misses, my son is not in a black cellophane bag and Ihemee is not a ritualist looking for a human head while pretending to be shelter-challenged.

I keep my head turned towards my window, away from the police chief, and watch the dark shapes of trees as they fly by. A quick flash of light from a working streetlight ambushes me with my sad reflection.

Analysis Of The Rising Action.

The inciting incident is the phone call the police chief receives. It informs him that the suspect has been apprehended.

At this point, we start to get a sense of what the story is about.

At the shoulder of the hill, a putrid smell filled my lungs. But I was like a moth drawn to the strong light on the other side, I could not be denied. I crawled up the slope, taking my time. At the summit, I fell on my chest and slithered up and poked my head over the hill. The first thing that caught my eye was a bright furnace. And then a man. He was naked, stark naked. He looked like the driver of our bus. There was another man by the fire. He was tending to the flames with a long stick. I knew I had seen him somewhere before, on the bus, perhaps. Wasn’t he the one who sat closest to the door?

The first man dragged an equally unclothed body by the ankles—dead from all indications—out of a pile of human remains and laid it flat on its back. The corpse he had pulled out belonged to the woman who had offered me ukwa while we were waiting for the bus to fill up with passengers. The first man—who, in the glaze of firelight, I could now confirm was our driver—lowered himself on top of the woman’s corpse and assumed the missionary position. It was a sickening sight. I could not think of anything more depraved. I could not think at all. He belched. He puked all over her face. His vomitus poured and poured (bucket-loads of it) and as it did, his head lurched forward and he gurgled, “Bleeegh!”

His oral discharge seemed alive, the way it swirled over the woman’s face and then over the rest of her, soiling and unsoiling her body parts. Jesus! It was a swarm—of maggots. The driver coughed out the last ones. And then came… a long worm—no, a leech, the longest I had ever seen in my life. Maggots, leeches (and God knows what other vermin) turned the woman’s face into a hive. The last thing I saw, before slinking away, was of the driver licking the woman’s skull, slurping back the maggots, and exposing her soggy half-eaten face.

Analysis Of The Climax.

In this scene, the narrator faces a shocking truth: the men, she initially thought were rescuers, are scavengers, decay-feeding supernatural creatures.

Falling Action

Where am I?” I ask.

“In hospital,” Chuma says.

“How do you feel?” Ngozi asks, her eyes the pale red of someone who has been crying.

“Excuse me. That’s my job,” the strange face in the room says. She raises her stethoscope and slips it into her ears. “Now, if the rest of you will give me a moment, I will be done here.”

I feel the cold dab of her stethoscope on my chest and jerk back a little. 

“So it was all a dream,” I say. “Thank goodness. But what happened? Why am I here? Doctor, did you give me a hallucinogen? You can tell me. I’m a nurse.”

“Hold still.” She pulls down my lower eyelid and shines her retinoscope in my eye. She does the same with my other eye. “I did not,” she says. “Your bus had an accident and, for all we know, you are the only survivor.”  

No. She can’t be serious. “Noooo,” I scream, alarming the young woman leaning over me. 

Ada, whom Chuma is trying to prevent from clambering up into my bed, stops struggling and gapes at me for a brief moment before she opens her mouth wide and releases a bawl.

Personal Write space on train

“Mummy, what is it?” Uchendu asks.

“She is still in shock,” the woman in white overall says to Uchendu. “Now, I want everyone to leave so that she can get some rest. She will feel much better after she sleeps it off.”

Analysis of the Falling Action.

Here, we see how the protagonist reacts to her realization in the climax. This action, which starts in the ‘Falling Action’ will lead to the resolution.

“Confused, I watch the woman lift Ada into her arms, and shepherd my family out of the room. 

Chukwunna, lekwa nu mo, Father, see me-o, I repeat to myself each time I recall the accident, and the driver scavenging that passenger’s face. 

Before the woman can shut the door behind her, an impulse makes me say, “Chuma. I want to speak with Chuma.”

“Of course,” the doctor says and allows my son back into the room. 

Chuma bounds over to me and the woman pulls the door shut. He stands by my bed, waiting. He doesn’t know what to say. And for a while, neither do I.

“That thing Ihemee said to the police, the night Obasi went missing, did you understand it?” I ask, finally.

“Yes, Mummy.”

I blink to clear the tear-clouds from my eyes, my lips shuddering slightly.

“Mummy, what is it? Don’t cry. You’ll be okay. The doctor says you will,” Chuma says, switching to Igbo.

“How does Ihemee know what he knows?”

Chuma hesitates.

I reach out and touch his arm. “You can tell me. I won’t get angry. I promise.” 

“He is one of them. He is like Pastor Ikenna, but he is not bad like him. He doesn’t kill and bury children so he can eat them later. He only eats dead rats and the things he finds in the garbage. Mummy, Ihemee is my friend, and he can be your friend too, if you like.”

  E nd Of Story.

How Story Arcs Work.

Story arcs in contemporary drama often follow the pattern of bringing a character to a low point, removing the structures the character depends upon, and then forcing the character to find new strength without those structures.

In a story arc, the character undergoes substantial growth or change, which culminates in the denouement in the last third or quarter of a story.

Plot arc

What’s The Difference Between The Narrative Arc and The Plot Of A Story?

Plot refers to the individual events that make up your story. In other words, the plot is what happens.

Narrative arc, on the other hand, refers to the path or sequence of your plot, and how that series of events creates a flow and progression that keeps the reader engaged at each stage in the story.

What Is the Difference Between a Narrative Arc and a Character Arc?

If a narrative arc is the path of the overall story, a character arc is the path a specific character takes during that story.

The story arc is external, and happens to all of the characters, while a character arc is internal, and happens to one person.

A character arc usually involves a character overcoming an obstacle and changing the way they see the world. (Undergoes an internal change, if nothing else.)

When the narrative arc begins its descent down the pyramid into the falling action and resolution, the character arc has its moment to shine.

Narrative Arc

This is when a character experiences a turning point by:

Typically, only major characters have character arcs, though minor characters can undergo this type of character development as well.

The character arc of the narrator in our sample story

From the story “It Happened”, the narrator’s character arc is her realization that Ihemee is not what she thinks, but something much worse,  something hard to believe.

She now knows that Ihemee is not insane and was speaking the truth when he accused the general overseer of the church she attends of being a cannibal. We don’t know how she’ll respond to this. But it can be inferred that a change has occurred within her, a change in the way she sees the world.

And this change results from her acceptance of the fact that men who feed by digesting their prey extracellularly exist.

Wrap on narrative arcs, story arcs, character arcs and plot arcs..

The story arc can be seen as a pyramid that shows the different changes that take place in a story. There are five elements of a narrative arc. And each element plays an important role in defining the clear arc of the story.

The narrative arc is different from a plot. A character arc differs from a narrative arc. With our aforementioned example, you can decipher what the differences are. And hopefully, you can write classic short stories the everyone will love.

Have you ever tried to decipher the narrative arc of your story? What did you learn from the process? 

Got more tips on creating a story arc? Please share in the comments section. We look forward to learning from you.

About the Author:

creative writing parts of a story

Charles Opara is a Nigerian-born author who writes suspense, speculative fiction, literary fiction and short stories. He is a programmer with a passion for groundbreaking technologies. His creative mind enjoys the logic involved in writing stories and programs, puzzles and problem-solving, basically. In 2015, his horror short “It Happened” was shortlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Prize and in 2017, another story ‘Baby-girl’ was long-listed for the Quramo National Prize in his country. His stories have appeared in Ambit, Flash Fiction Press, and Zoetic Press. He is about to publish a collection of short stories with Fomite Press called ‘How Hamisu Survived Bad Kidneys and a Bad Son-in-law’.

Twitter handle: Charles [email protected]



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Writing skills - creative and narrative writing

Imaginative or creative writing absorbs readers in an entertaining way. To succeed with this kind of writing you will need to write in a way that is individual, original and compelling to read.

Responding to Prompts

Imagine you’re in an exam and you are asked to write a creative piece called ‘The Party’. What does this title make you think of? Before you decide what you’d write, it’s useful to remember that you do whatever you want with the prompt as long as it’s somehow connected to a party.

So this means that for the title ‘The Party’, you could write a lovely descriptive piece about your dream birthday party, or a personal account of a party you attended that was very good – or very bad. You could write a story about a political party, or a doll’s tea party, or a party held by fans to watch the final episode of a TV show everyone is very excited about, or a party that didn’t actually happen because no one turned up. The most important thing is that you choose a story you can write well, showing off your skill in using language effectively and keeping your reader entertained.

Original ideas

There is no formula for having a great idea – but to begin your writing, you do need, at least, some kind of idea. Then you need to find ways to turn your idea into something a reader would enjoy reading. This is the creative part, taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary.

For example, think about writing a description of a coastline. You might start to think straight away about a crowded beach - children playing, deck chairs, sun shining, happy sounds; but, if you stop for a moment, you’ll recall that that's been done before. It's okay, but it's hardly original.

What about turning that idea on its head - not a crowded beach, but a deserted beach? Not summer, but winter? Not lovely and inviting, but covered in oil and polluted? It's not a pretty picture, but it's original - and that gives impact.

Telling a story

When you tell a friend a story of something real that happened in life, you’ll build it up around a climax of action, but tell it in a way that keeps your friend interested and listening. Maybe you saw a footballer break his leg during a Saturday match and you then tell it at school on Monday.

A written story isn’t face-to-face and you don’t know the reader and this means you’ll need more elaboration, explanation and detail – but you can still write it in a very similar way to how you might tell it. Even everyday incidents can make very effective stories if you elaborate and dramatise, add detail and explanation, always keeping a sense of tension till the end. Your reader, like your listening friend, enjoys wondering 'where is it all leading' and 'what will happen next'.

Short stories

A short story needs to be compelling to read and to be this it needs to be given an effective structure. Like all texts, stories also have their own basic 'recipe' called 'genre conventions'. Here is a typical story structure that will help you to keep your own story moving through different stages in a compelling way – and help make sure you don’t accidentally ramble on!

This part of your story must work to engage your reader, beginning to absorb them into your 'story-world'. You should aim to hook the reader into the story with the 'plot hook'. Whether you choose to start the story by giving the end away just like Shakespeare did in his play Romeo and Juliet; or you start in the middle of lots of action; or even with very little action at all, you will definitely need to start in a way that hooks your reader – and do so pretty quickly.

Can you find the 'plot hook'?

It was a brilliant summer’s day smack in the middle of the school holidays. It was my birthday, too. I was ten. You can imagine I was feeling that life couldn’t get much better than this: warm weather, holidays, a bar of chocolate all to myself, a bunch of texts from my mates to answer, and being driven with mum and dad to Twycross Zoo. They knew just how much I loved animals and the chimps there were always my favourites. What could possibly go wrong? That day any thoughts of problems weren’t even a distant cloud on the horizon of my sunny mind.

The 'plot hook' in this example is 'What could possibly go wrong?'.

Establish the time and place, as well as the general situation. This can also be used to help develop a suitable mood or atmosphere. It can sometimes help to use a familiar place that your reader can relate to in some way. At this stage, you need to 'set up' the story and begin to introduce the main character(s).

Fiction trigger (or inciting incident)

Use your narrator to tell of an incident or event that the reader feels will spark a chain of events. This helps make the reader feel that the story has really started. From this point, life cannot be quite the same for your main character (that is your protagonist). There is a problem that has to be faced and overcome.

The fiction trigger can be an event that really starts the story. It will develop from the 'plot hook'. If the story is about a day out at the zoo, then maybe an animal has escaped. If it is about a robbery, it might be the event that makes a character consider carrying out a robbery; and if it is about an accident, it will be the event that causes it to happen.

Keeping up the momentum (plot development or rising action) This section builds the tension – keeps the reader absorbed and guessing where it will all lead.

This is where you will move the story forward and will use lots of techniques to keep the reader guessing, 'What will happen next?!'

The problem reaches a head, with suspense creating lots of tension for the reader– showing the reader the possible result of what has come before.

This is not the end of your story – not quite. It will be the key event but your protagonist will, somehow, overcome it and all will be well.

Conclusion (the resolution)

This must leave your reader with a sense of satisfaction, or it could be a twist in the tale leaving questions that linger in the mind.

This is the ending of your story – where all loose ends are tied up to the satisfaction of the reader. A good story will cause the reader to go, 'Hmm – I liked that' or even 'Wow'

By following this story structure, and planning under each of the above headings, you should be able to come up with a tense plot for your own story, one that will engage and absorb your reader.

Writing techniques

Throughout your own story, you will also need to use writing techniques that will work to keep your reader engaged and absorbed. An important skill is to put clear images of the setting and characters in your reader’s mind, as well as to create a sense of atmosphere that suits each part of the story.

Examples of narration

First person narrator.

I held on to the tuft of grass and slowly looked down - I was too shocked to speak. One moment I had been strolling along the cliff with Vicki, the next I was hanging over the edge. And where was Vicki?

The only thing you shouldn't do is swap the narrative point of view during the story - don’t start with 'I' and then switch to 'he', as it is likely to confuse your reader.

Third person narrator

Steve held on to the tuft of grass and slowly looked down - he was too shocked to speak. One moment he had been strolling along the cliff with Vicki, the next he was hanging over the edge. And where was Vicki?

Ending a short story

The ending of a story doesn't necessarily have to be happy but it has to make sense in a way that ties up what has happened.

There are different types of story endings, for example:

There are many possibilities; but there are two endings you should try to avoid:

Whatever kind of story you write, work out a satisfying ending and include it in your plan.

Writing that is creative and imaginative needs to be entertaining. You need to experiment a little and not be frightened to try something new.

What might you write about if the following tasks came up in an exam? Take a few minutes to think about different ways you could interpret the task, and maybe sketch a quick plan for your best idea.

What Are the Parts of a Short Story? (How to Write Them)

AJ_Watt/Getty Images 

Short stories have a relatively broad range of lengths, between 1,000 and 7,500 words. If you are writing for a class or publication, your teacher or editor might give you specific page requirements. If you double space, 1000 words in 12-point font cover between three and four pages.

However, it is important not to limit yourself to any page limits or goals in the initial drafts . You should write until you get the basic outline of your story intact and then you can always go back and adjust the story to fit any set length requirements you have.

The toughest part of writing short fiction is condensing all the same elements necessary for a full-length novel into a smaller space. You still need to define a plot, character development , tension, climax, and falling action.

Point of View

One of the first things you want to think about is what point of view would work best for your story. If your story centers on one character's journey, the first person will allow you to show the main character's thoughts and feelings without having to spend too much time demonstrating them through action.

The third person, the most common, can allow you to tell the story as an outsider. A third person omniscient point of view gives the writer access to the knowledge of all the characters' thoughts and motives, time, events, and experiences.

Third person limited has full knowledge of only one character and any events tied to him.

The opening paragraphs of a short story should quickly depict the setting of the story . The reader should know when and where the story is taking place. Is it present day? The future? What time of year is it?

The social setting is also essential to determine. Are the characters all wealthy? Are they all women?

When describing the setting, think of the opening of a movie. The opening scenes often span across a city or countryside then focus in on a point involving the first scenes of action.

You could also this same descriptive tactic. For example, if your story begins with a person standing in a large crowd, describe the area, then the crowd, maybe the weather, the atmosphere (excited, scary, tense) and then bring the focus into the individual.

Once you develop the setting, you must introduce the conflict or the rising action . The conflict is the problem or challenge that the main character faces. The issue itself is important, but the tension created is what creates reader involvement.

The tension in a story is one of the most important aspects; it's what keeps the reader interested and wanting to know what will happen next.

To write, "Joe had to decide whether to go on his business trip or stay home for his wife's birthday," lets the reader know there is a choice with consequences but does not elicit much reader reaction.

To create tension you could describe the internal struggle Joe is having, maybe he'll lose his job if he doesn't go, but his wife is looking forward to spending time with him on this particular birthday. Write the tension that Joe is experiencing in his head.

Next should come to the climax of the story. This will be the turning point where a decision is made, or change occurs. The reader should know the outcome of the conflict and understand all the events leading up to the climax.

Be sure to time your climax so that it doesn't happen too late or too soon. If done too soon, the reader will either not recognize it as the climax or expect another twist. If done too late the reader might get bored before it happens.

The last part of your story should resolve any questions left after the climactic events take place. This could be an opportunity to see where the characters end up sometime after the turning point or how they deal with the changes that have occurred in and around themselves.

Once you get your story drafted into a semi-final form, try letting a peer read it and give you some feedback. You will most likely find that you became so involved in your story that you omitted some details.

Don't be afraid to take a little creative criticism. It will only make your work stronger.

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How to Craft a Business Story To Energize Your Audience

A good business story leads customers in the right direction. It gives significant information about the business and helps build respect. People feel better after reading a business story. So they begin to anticipate how incredible working with you could be. This is the power of storytelling. This type of courage is required for a business story. But a very interesting business story has this power. You grab attention. You stand out. The customer is drawn to you by your enthusiasm. These generate motivation.

A brand’s capacity to interact with it and connect with its customers has always been important. People like it when businesses take the time to do research about them. Attempt to meet their demands and pay close attention to their concerns.

You have spent years working a 9-to-5 job. You didn’t like anything before you had a clever idea that is currently Amazon ’s #1 seller. Maybe it was a business that had been run by your parents. But these results encouraged you to accomplish your main objectives. Perhaps you have established a successful local photography business with many loyal clients.

Create a business story regardless of what your business’s background may be. It is important for your customers and potential clients.

But precisely how do you do that?

How do you develop a strong business story?

The impact of a strong business story

Let's face it, the internet is full of mission statements that are filled with buzzwords. These were developed by committees precisely to avoid offending anyone.

Huge companies can still get away with being reliable. This happens only because they have the resources to invest heavily in brand recognition.

The Alphabet (Google) strategy of leadership succeeded by monetizing its wildly positive impact. It has been so effective that it has been a main factor in dominating the following.

The next ones are:

It is also attempting to gain a dominant position in by adopting similar processes in:

As a result, when entering a new sector, Alphabet does not prioritize profits. It emphasizes dominance. Initial pricing is very competitive and often free. The premise is that when you’re in control, making a profit will indeed be simple.

This strategy calls for substantial resources, which Alphabet has, as well as an extremely long-term perspective.

Freelancers and small businesses, however, face different challenges. Mostly due to their limited financial resources. You need to captivate and inspire your audience to act. You can do anything if you have two legs, a strong desire, are resourceful, and are ready to work hard.

A compelling business founding story entices readers to follow in this footsteps. It gives them a glimpse of who you are and helps in gaining their emotional support.

People feel better just by reading your story.

So people start making assumptions about how amazing working with you would be.

This is the power of storytelling. Recent ideas like brand storytelling are being avidly adopted. Marketers from all over the world use it. A short overview of the business is not required. How to make profits by offering people what they need. Getting people’s attention and building trusting relationships is essential. All of the target audience’s members should take note of this.

If you’re questioning how to tell a story that will deeply incorporate your brand in people’s thoughts, this update is for you.

A compelling business tale

If you don't know much about corporate branding, you can learn more about it through storytelling.

Think about documenting the history of your business. It's enough to win your clients' hearts and minds. A compelling brand story includes both the details and the emotions you want individuals to associate with your business.

Storytelling in advertising is innovative. You can literally write without promoting your brand. Instead, give top priority to factors like efficiency, common values, and customer satisfaction. The story of your business is much more than just words on a page. The message you communicate to others will spread verbally if it is written properly.

Positive customer experiences will help get the word out about your business to people who aren't already customers. Numerous formats can be used for business stories. Businesses have grown and evolved relationships with their customers. These have gained recognition and respect. It gives the brand an unique place in the market.

Today, neglecting your customers could cost you a fortune. Corporate reputation and market share are important. You realize how serious content marketing is for business planning.

However, content is no longer only useful; it is now essential for boosting sales. Businesses today prosper if they can distinguish themselves from competitors.

This is done by developing their own appealing stories and action scenes.

Because other stories seem to have a special effect, you could believe that yours isn't interesting enough. But that's untrue. Every business has an interesting story to tell. Furthermore, emotional language that uses sensorial words is used in our time. As the first phase in creating a business story, write a creative and engaging bio for your website. Additionally, promotional videos describe your personality.

You don’t need any specific skills in order to write your own business story. List the following key moments in the history of your business.

What problems do you confront? Which achievement motivated you to start your business? What steps are you taking right now to solve the problem? What do you want to achieve most?

You have to make the connection between your objective and your founding story. This will really inspire and motivate your audience. Instead of being so limited by your own story, you should continuously be developing new ones. These have to help in communicate with your clients and customers. Try to redefine the end, as a fresh start in both your roles as a buyer and a leader.

It is revolutionary to change the direction of information flow in a society where there was just a one-way flow from businesses to consumers. Ten years ago, most people viewed businesses as something more and more descriptive. Customers today are aware of their worth. They are aware that businesses struggle for each client because their word holds power.

Life is significantly unpredictable. Life is like a twisty road with curves, bends, hills, dead-end alleys, and even traffic jams on the highway. However, your readers don’t need to be notified of every detail. They are not interested in a detailed resume or a day-by-day journal either. The choice of what matters is up to you as you are the storyteller.

Readers may understand better who you are, what motivated you. And also why you are the best person to serve them by reading your story.

That is how you engage, inspire, and empower. Readers get a sense of who you are through an exciting business story. This helps them feel connected and increases their desire to do business with you.

Don’t try to ignore the rewarding or successful parts of your journey. This can be essential especially in your attempt to write an emotional story. Instead, concentrate on your story’s motivating aspects. It is a good idea to discuss your struggles and difficult times along the way to success. It is essential since it humanizes your story. But exhibit your own taste. Don’t be afraid to include the challenging parts of the journey as well. Be sure to properly place them along the story’s evolution.

Final Thoughts

It takes time and effort to develop a powerful brand story. You must present your background, principles, interests, and goals. This has to be expressed in a way that will most effectively generate an emotional bond with your targeted customers. Understanding your clients, team members, and rivals is a good place to start. You also need to know what your customers are looking for. Moreover, you have to share what makes your business unique.

Your brand story needs to be authentic and consistent. This is the most important task. You have to effectively engage with the clients that are truly aligned with your business. This must be done directly in line with your mission statement. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen, it can be a part of your success.

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Writing Your Memoir through Vignettes Part I and Part II (Online)

creative writing parts of a story

Why Take Writing Your Memoir through Vignettes

Whether you’re a newcomer to creative writing or more experienced, this hands-on workshop will foster real progress in developing your memoir by focusing on the creation of vignettes. Your collection of vignettes organized in a strategic sequence can become a moving memoir.

Vignettes provide a short, concise way to capture and bring together your lifetime experiences and their related emotions. They are episodes, glimpses, or snapshots of life, all of which can be used to develop your memoir. Vignettes are a critically important aspect of effective speech and writing. They challenge you to be concise and to the point, while being creative. 

Your instructor will work with you and fellow students in a roundtable format to maximize interaction, foster openness, and build trust among the group, so that you can share and refine your writing. The workshop combines structure and deadlines for the vignette writing process, along with space to take risks in an empowering, invigorating environment. In addition to the weekly group sessions, you will be able to receive personalized feedback on your writing from your instructor throughout the experience. 

This workshop is a three-part series, the aim of which is to offer you the cumulative opportunity to grow as a writer while developing a collection of 10-20 vignettes in total, and producing it as a pilot memoir in a handmade book. You will also have the opportunity to learn about how you can present your memoir through a podcast.

Contact the instructor, Johnston M. Mitchell, at  [email protected]  with any questions or to discuss your writing goal and vision.

Writing Your Memoir Through Vignettes - Part I

Learn how to identify, brainstorm, and complete your own vignettes through weekly writing tasks. You will not only gain an understanding of the vignette genre and writing process, but learn techniques to further develop your voice and writing style.  Workshop Dates:  Thursdays, April 6 - 27, 2023, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Workshop Fee:  $300 Workshop Location:  Online Prerequisite:  None Register Here for Part I

Writing Your Memoir Through Vignettes - Part II

Continue exploring the writing of vignettes for your memoir. Using a roundtable format, you and fellow participants will delve into a deeper application of imagery, reflective voice, and repetition to strengthen your writing and work toward the goal of compiling a collection of vignettes for your pilot memoir. Workshop Dates:  Thursdays, May 4 - 25, 2023, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Workshop Fee:  $300 Workshop Location:  Online Prerequisite:  Writing Your Memoir Through Vignettes - Part I

Register Here for Part II

Course Schedule - All classes will meet via Zoom in the Eastern Time Zone Part I Schedule:

Part II Schedule:

To use Zoom, you will need access to a computer (preferred) or mobile device with internet access. This is a list of basic system requirements.

Screen Size

Zoom are best viewed at a minimum screen size of 11+ inches. If you want to use a device with a smaller screen, we recommend using the mobile apps for Zoom.

Operating Systems

macOS 10.13 or newer (Interlochen recommends Apple products)

Apple iOS or Android

Computer Speed and Processor

Use a Mac or PC 5 years old or newer if possible. While it is possible to use an iPad or mobile device, the experience will be better for you on a laptop or desktop.

If using a laptop, it should have the following specifications:

At least 4GB of RAM

At least 2GHz processor

Internet Speed

creative writing parts of a story

Johnston Mitchell

Instructor of Creative Writing

Questions? Contact Gary.

Associate director of continuing & community education.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 231.276.7340

Gary Gatzke


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