Five Great Quotations about Why We Must Write
Mimic sounds to appeal to sense of hearing

Five basic elements make up a story

What is 400-07172957en_Masterfile a story? An idea or a setting or a character alone do not make a story. A fictional story is all of those and more.

For the convenience of analysis and discussion, stories often are broken into parts. These parts typically are referred to as the five elements of fiction. They include:
Plot How the problem in the story is overcome, typically thought of as physical action
Setting – Where and when this action occurs
Character – Whoever attempts to solve the story’s problem as well as those who create the problem and those that appear incidentally
Point of view – Perspective from which the story is narrated
Theme – Purpose for which a story is told

It’s easy to think of the five elements of fiction as a matter of the 5 W’s and 1 H, or what, where, when who, why and how. Plot is what happens in the story. Setting is where and when the story happens. Character is who the story happens to. Point of view is how the story happens to be told. Theme is why the story happened to be told, or its message.

Each of these elements appears naturally in the story, whether you consciously intend them to or not. Consider the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Best of Both Worlds”. The plot is about stopping a Borg invasion of the Federation. The setting is the 24th century (various stardates are given) in various star systems and aboard the starship enterprise and the invading Borg cube. The characters are the Enterprise’s crew, particularly Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander Will Riker and Lt. Cmdr. Shelby. The point of view largely is from an outside perspective, as if we were aboard the Enterprise. The theme is that individuality and self-determination triumphs over collectivism.

Virtually all of the problems with poorly written stories are that one or more of these elements are in some way muddled. In addition, you may perfectly nail each of these five elements but still tell the story poorly because it lacks flair; such problems are a matter of style, which is a part of understanding the craft of writing though not an element of fiction itself.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from an urban area like California's Orange County or a rural area like Loving County, Texas, I can provide that second eye.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)