What is the Story Writing Format?

Story Writing usually follows a format that helps writers to structure their work. This format is recognizable to many stories and typically has five main components. Character, Setting, Plot, Conflict, and Theme.

Read on to find out how each feature is used in the story writing format and how best to use them in your writing.


Without characters, nothing will happen in your story; how characters respond to the plot’s events drives the story forward. Characters, however, don’t have to be human or even alive. You can anthropomorphize objects to have personalities, and they can serve as excellent characters just as much as people.

One crucial thing for character creation is knowing your characters intimately. It’s not enough to have a general understanding of who they are. Instead, you should make friends with your characters and get to know them. Once you can understand them as if they were real, it will be easier to know what they would say and how they would react to the events of your story.

If your character is sensitive and shy, they might not shout their dialogue unless pushed far. So what would they say when they’re pushed? What’s the line crossed that makes them shout?

What about a character who is angry and fierce? What would make them softer and kind?


The setting is one of the most essential features of the story writing format and can change everything the other features can influence. For example, a horror story written in a graveyard is a typical setting for that genre – it will make a good story, but something that might be predictable. On the other hand, setting a horror story inside a gym or shopping center will throw off what the reader expects. From there, the characters have to act differently as they discover how to act to events that shouldn’t logically be happening in this setting.

If you want to throw a spanner in the works of your story, then consider changing the setting to somewhere the events would never occur.


The plot, or Narrative, is simply the events of the story. The plot carries your characters through the story; it’s where a writer introduces conflicts and changes in circumstances and allows the characters to develop.

The plot is like a room within which all the other features of the story writing format live. They all interact with one another within the plot, and the plot contains them all. Sometimes the plot will move quickly, and the events will happen in quick succession; sometimes, the plot moves slowly, and tension builds. It’s a writer’s job to understand how to place the plot.


It is a part of the story-writing format that can challenge a writer. Conflict means that you introduce a problem or issue to the plot. Characters must solve this problem and restore equilibrium to the plot. These conflicts can be minor, like an argument, or very large, like saving the world. Conflict should be a challenge to what’s been established as usual in the world of your story. It should clash the ideas of two or groups of characters and force them to confront this difference. It is where knowing your feelings come into play – if you don’t know them well enough, you won’t know how they respond to conflict.


It overarches the entirety of the story you create. A theme is a message you want to embed into your story – the theme could be equality in a story where a specific group of people is under threat. The theme could be environmentalism in a story where something terrible happens to the world.

These shouldn’t be confused with the genre – Genre is a specific style of story with its features and stylistic landmarks; the themes are what an individual story is about.

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