The Seven Crucial Story Elements

By on October 7, 2020

When it comes to excellent story writing, it's all in the planning and the details and story elements are a big part of this. Creating a solid story structure and understanding which elements are crucial to ensure your story flows well, that the characters hook your readers and develop over time and that the plot is exciting and ebbs and flows to keep them turning those pages is all part of the planning process. 

While stories can take many different forms, there are common elements that all good books have that ensure the foundation is solid enough to add then the unique detail that will really wow your audience. 

The seven main story elements and why they are important

The characters

Your characters are the lifeblood of your story. Without believable, relatable, and engaging personalities, you cannot expect people to enjoy your book. Good characters don't have to be likable, they certainly shouldn't be perfect, but they must be compelling, unique, different from one another, surprising, and they must face challenges that your readers can relate to and use these challenges to learn, grow and drive the plot forwards. 

The theme

Every successful story has a theme or several that are continued and referred back to and made evident through the book. The theme is often the motivation for writing the novel in the first place, which inspires the characters to do what they do. Your theme can be anything - courage, heartbreak, prejudice, good versus evil, fighting your demons, redemption, revenge. You discover your themes by understanding why it is you want to write your story in the first place. When exploring them in your account, you don't need to shove them in your reader's face - a good theme will come out naturally, weave it into the plot, and trust that your reader will understand it without stating it explicitly. 

The setting

Your setting is the backbone of your story. The setting evokes a sense of place and will allow your readers to immerse themselves, to ground themselves, to imagine. The environment includes what your characters can see around them but also engages all the senses. By carefully layering the setting into your story, showing your readers and revealing it piece by piece rather than telling them it is there, you allow them to become accustomed to the fictional world naturally. Make action the spearhead of your book, but let the setting unravel subtly, so it registers without effort in your reader's minds. 


Deciding on the point of view is an essential part of creating your story. You can choose between various viewpoints such as First Person (I, me), Second Person (you, your), or Third Person (he, she or it). Determining the POV will change the shape of your story. You must only write from one person's perspective per scene. Though many writers choose to keep the same perspective throughout the novel and tell it through the protagonist's eyes or only change perspective at chapter breaks. However you choose to tell your story; it is important that it is clear whose POV it is; otherwise, readers can quickly feel confused and frustrated. 

The Plot

Structuring your plot before you start writing is crucial to storytelling success. You need to make sure you are clear about what happens, why it happens, and how the action unfolds. Your plot should include an enticing incident that causes the protagonist to set out on their journey and a series of obstacles that they must overcome to achieve their goal. When planning your plot, you should also consider the resolution and how you will make sure all loose ends are tied up when the story finishes. 

Conflict and challenges

Creating conflict is essential in any story. These conflicts can come in many forms, from internal struggles within a character, personality clashes between characters to actual physical barriers they must overcome. Remember, if everything in your plot is going well for too long, readers will get bored, so it's important to add in conflict throughout your story to keep them hooked and excited to find out what will happen next. 

The resolution

Finally, you must bring your story to an end with the resolution. While you write your book, you should keep your ending in mind, and every chapter should be another step towards this ending. Your protagonist must be changed at the end of your story and reflect back on what they have learned. Delivering a satisfying ending is crucial. Don't rush it, and make sure you haven't left any storyline unattended to. 

These seven story elements must be considered and included in every book. So use them to plan your novel before you start writing, and you will feel secure and satisfied that you have the right ingredients to do your story justice. 

Now you've learned all about the most crucial story elements, why not discover how to make an original plot?

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