Story Elements: Everything You Need to Know

These are the baseline characteristics in the making of a story, inclusive of, but not limited to, the story’s setting, focal point (or plot), main actors, conflict, and final resolution. Together, these features fuse to create the story’s plot. Here’s a synopsis of how each of these elements helps in the story’s development reasonably.


It refers to the location of the action. Typically, an author describes the story’s environment in detail to help the readers visualize the scene. Settings can be similar to everyday life or unusual (say, a fantasy world). While the latter is interesting, the former can help readers visualize the story better and feel more connected to the plot.


This is the fundamental theme around which the entire story revolves. A plot should have a clear, three-step structure, including a beginning, middle, and end. It should also have all the necessary suspense and descriptions, called exposition, to let the readers understand the happenings and follow the story from the start until its conclusion.

Characters (or main actors)

These are the individuals, animals, or anything personified that the story is about. Sometimes, there can be one or two main characters together with multiple secondary characters, though it doesn’t happen always. Typically, the author introduces the story’s characters in detail by sharing their physical attributes and personality traits to help the readers visualize them. The story’s main characters determine how the plot will develop. These are usually the ones who will resolve the conflicts the story centers upon. However, secondary characters are significant too because they supply additional explanations, details, or actions.


This refers to a problem or challenge around which the story’s plot is based. Every story must have a conflict to solve. Without it, the story will be flat and boring as it won’t have a trajectory or purpose. Perhaps that’s why conflict is often called the engine of a story. Readers crave conflict and are interested in seeing how the characters attempt to resolve it.


By the end of a story, all the conflicts should have a resolution. Thus, it can be called the culmination of everything that the characters went through during the story. The resolution must fit the rest of the story in creativity and tone and solve all parts of the conflict. However, in some stories, the conflicts may be left a bit open-ended intentionally to add a touch of mystery.

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