In this post I will attempt to explain these elements.
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the mass media nation attacked. Only the writers, master of all creative elements could control them. But when the world needed them most, they vanished. Hiding in their rooms with their personal libraries and glasses. You can be one of them and save the ancient art of storytelling. I believe, we can save the world.
(Parody of the Intro to the Avatar series if it sounds familiar)
What are the elements of good story telling? It sounds like an obvious question to answer but it is a fundamental one.
Sometimes the answers that seem simple need a more spread out answer. I find it best to label and number information with regards to organization. It makes it easier to read, divide, and categorize in your mind for later. Besides, most writing outlines are fun to write! Then again that might be just because I am a geeky, organizing enthused weirdo.
Step Zero: Everyone has a story inside them. No matter how small, or sloppy, or unplanned. There is something to say, to make, to do, to create. If you are living in a reality that doesn’t cater to your mind in the right way I want to know about it. Tell us what you smile about when you’re thinking to yourself. What are you afraid of? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? Never let anyone tell you that you cannot/ shouldn’t write because you haven’t before. How do you think you’re going to get better if you don’t practice?
Everyone has a story they can tell. If you’re wondering where to begin, or already have some key points of a story in mind, here is where you can start.
Step One: Characters.
Identify who is telling the story. Is it you? A talented hero? A disgruntled neighbor? A young alchemist ready to become something great? Who’s story is it? Who is telling this story? Perception and view points have at least an 80% impact on how the story is read and taken in by others. If you saw/read the story of Harry Potter from Snape’s view, would it not be a completely different view of the characters? You must make sure you know who is telling the story.
Step Two: Setting.
Where are you? Whether it is an apartment on the coast of Southern Italy or a grand kingdom in the land of Gondor, you must have a setting. The where and the when are so fundamental to the story. If it takes place in a real, physical place you can actually travel to, like Italy, then it helps you tell the story because people can look up what Italy looks like or may be in Italy. But if your setting is something conjured from your mind, you’re going to need a little more than a simple description of the shore to help create the ground your characters walk, fly, or swim on.
Step Three: Finding Your Purpose.
Why is the character going on through this story? Why does it need to be told? Why is it imperative that their story be told NOW? In this way? Why during that time? What’s the point of telling it now? Why does it need to be said? Is there subliminal messaging or lack thereof? What is the center? The morals? The themes behind it. Story telling used to be the means by which elders passed on history or taught lessons for children to remember. Now people can tell stories about what they think and feel. What do you need to say? Write it in a paragraph. A page. A novel if you must.
Step Four: Planning the Plot.
Where? Why? When? What time? How? This is after you know the who. Put them somewhere. 16th century England? 24th Century on the moon? 5:00 pm in the gym at a middle school in Montana? Why is your character there? Why is it crucial for them to be there? You picked that place because it was the best place for the story to happen, or that’s where it happened in the first place if your tale is nonfiction.
Step Five: Backstory
Is this your origin tale? If so, you must have details in details dipped in detail sauce with a side of details with details to drink. What do the dwellings look like? The plants, the clothes the people, the aspects of culture? You have to show as you tell. You cannot divide these elements like you did in elementary school when you had an object you could describe. You have to show your readers what you are talking about as you tell them about it.
What do you think are the elements of good storytelling? Mostly details? Mostly character development? What are your favorite stories? Why?
Here is another point of view on the Elements. By Kimberly Applecline – Elements of Good Storytelling