How to Use 5 Essential Story Elements to Write a Captivating Story

Writing a captivating story involves the coordination of five essential story elements: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.

As a writer, once you master how to balance these elements in your story effectively, you are perfectly positioned into coming up with the best story for your readers. As a good writer, you should know how much weight to give to your characters by balancing the primary and supportive characters so that each aligns well with the storyline or plot.

It would be best to develop a setting that brings out your story in an exciting and relatable way to your readers. 

Let them feel a part of your story by just being able to relate to the setting. 

Do you want to keep your readers glued to your story? Use these five story elements effectively.

1. Characters

A good story starts by choosing ideal characters who will carry your story to the end. They should be lively and captivating who bring life to your story, and flow seamlessly through your readers’ minds.

Coming up with ideal characters is a daunting task, which will sometimes leave you worrying whether the characters you created will appeal to your readers. Will they fall in love with these characters to the point of making them icons?

Well, this is relative, and it has more to do with your readers than it has to do with you.

However, there are a few things you can do on your part to bring out lively characters.

Let your characters be ordinary before becoming icons in the story.

How would you feel if you were reading a book and immediately introduced to a rich and established character who just appeared from nowhere?

You would be left wondering about how they came into their current positions.

You would be pushing to understand who they are and how they got where they are today. Right?

Well, unless, as a writer, you will be explaining about the character later in the story, it would be great if you began with their growth process and bring them into iconic positions in the presence of your readers.

To develop a believable character, let your readers know what happens before arriving at the enticing and juicy parts of the character’s life story.

Get a notebook and make a list of all the things that should happen to your characters before they arrive at the best part of their life in your story.

This way, you will make your story more real and relatable to your audience.

Let your characters have some touch with the reality of what is happening in your life.

Indeed, whatever is happening in your life as a writer is probably happening to many other people. These people are your target audiences, and when they get to encounter characters portraying people they have met in real life, they will have a reason to read your story to the end.

Use your parents, neighbors, friends, colleagues, boss, etc. to build up characters that can bring life to your story.

Pick your characters’ names

One other important thing in building a captivating character is coming up with your character’s name. 

Choosing a befitting name is not always about picking the name you like, which is a good thing but not always practical. You can research names before settling for them as your characters’ names to be sure to give them touch with the current trends.

Use online tools like Character Name Generator, Reedsy, Fantasy Name Generators.

2. Setting

The setting is the environment or the location you will put your characters in. 

A captivating story needs a perfect setting. It is an essential story element as it gives your readers a theme to relate with. 

Do you want to create a theme of adventure? Or are you bringing a city life into your story? 

Whatever you have in the back of your mind, you should be thinking about the following considerations for coming up with a captivating setting.

The mood

The mood of your story has an important role to play in the setting you will settle for when writing your story. 

For example, when writing a scary adventure story, you will need a supernatural setting that includes out-of-this-world forests with gigantic trees and bloody rivers.

Let your setting matter in the story

When the setting gains importance in the story, it becomes a centerpiece of the story. 

Let your characters have an inseparable attachment to the setting, so much so that they will need the help of the setting to survive a given challenge at some point in the story. 

You can use aspects of your setting like weather or topography as the only hope for a character’s survival in a given scenario.

Describe it in all five senses

As a good writer, you should describe your story’s setting using all the five senses to make it more vivid, tangible, and perceivable to your readers.

Convey your setting to your readers by describing its looks, what it feels, tastes, smell, or even sounds.

3. Plot (Story Line)

The plot is the necessary foundation of why you are writing the book in the first place. It is the first vision you had before deciding to set out for the whole writing event. 

You should use this story element like a pro author. Your plot has to be outstanding.

It has to give your readers the urge and desire to read your book more and more with anticipation and enthusiasm. 

Coming up with a great plot demands that you follow some basic rules, and you will be dragging a lot of readers along in the story.

These rules include:

  • Start with the plot skeleton. Know where to create conflict, where to try solving it, where to fail, and where to resolve.     
  • Make your plot unpredictable to keep your readers desiring to know what happens next.     
  • Use ordinary characters to solve extraordinary problems.     
  • Incorporate the services of foreshadowing and flashbacks in your plot.     
  • Include multiple story conflicts.    
  • Go through your work to ensure every paragraph contributes immensely to the story.

4. Conflict

Your story needs conflict to make it running and captivating to your readers. 

Conflict is necessary for a clash between two opposing forces in your story, which must include the main character. 

It occurs when the main character contends with either an external or internal conflict. A story’s conflict(s) can fall into one or more of the following types of conflicts:

  • Character vs. Self.
  • Character vs. Nature.    
  • Character vs. Character.    
  • Character vs. Society.    
  • Character vs. Technology, and,
  • Character versus Supernatural, among others.

You can always find ways of creating conflict in your story to keep your readers furiously glued into the story as they try to find where the solution is. Alternatively, you can as well take this advice on coming up with significant conflicts for your story.

5. Resolution

Creating conflict is to bring your readers along to the end of the story, where you use your characters to find solutions to their problems.

This is the story element where you bring your characters into an agreement or a compromise for the sake of peace and settlement of the conflict.

If it was a conflict against nature or supernatural beings, you have to develop an idea that brings the two to each other’s level. Help your readers have a breath of relief as they come to a satisfying conclusion. 

This feeling of satisfaction makes them feel they never wasted their time reading your book.

My Final Thoughts: 5 Essential Story Elements to Write a Captivating Story

While all these story elements are crucial to writing a captivating story, your creativity and imagination bring a real difference.

Use your skills to touch your readers’ hearts and get them attached to your writing to the point of addiction! Need I say? Bring the best literary skills in you and see how much masses you can pull to your favor in the reading industry.

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