The Six Basic Story Elements

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Story elements are foundational features that make a story, such as characters, setting, problem, and solution. These pieces work together to form the plot. Some lists of story elements only consist of 5 of these, other lists have 7 or 8, but the following story elements are the most foundational.

Characters – Characters are the central figures in any story. Of course, they can be people; they can be people and animals, or even cars. Any actor in the story who has thoughts and motivation and takes action is a character.

Setting – Where the story takes place. Many stories have a single setting: a room or a city or mountain. Some stories move from one setting to another as the characters move through time and space.

Plot – The plot includes the events that take place in this story. They don’t always occur linearly, and often we see them from various points of view, but they are the trials and tribulations the characters live through and participate in, driving them – and the story – to its conclusion.

Conflict – In a story, conflict is the battle that happens between opposing forces. Conflict can be external: Like Lucy pulling that football away from Charlie Brown just as he is about to kick a field goal.  Conflict can be internal: Charlie Brown is trying to decide if he wants to trust Lucy this time. It’s the conflict that makes the story exciting

Resolution – The resolution is just the ending of the story. It’s the tying up of each of the loose ends we followed as we read along. The treasure is found. The friends reunite. The lost dog comes home. A satisfying resolution is a reward we get for reading a story through to the conclusion.

Theme – The theme in a story is harder for younger kids to understand because it is abstract. The theme of a is the main idea the author is attempting to get across. It’s the “truth” the story is designed to demonstrate.

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