- The people are introduced by characters.
- The character transforms through challenge in conflict.
- What did the character change?
As the silence builds, someone finally blurts out, “beginning, middle, and end”, which is a popular topic during my keynotes and training sessions. I smiled and thanked them for their courage to assure the audience that it was not a trick question.
When answering “beginning, middle, and end” gained popularity, those are not the elements of good stories. Two successful and admired business people shared insights and reflections while I sat in the audience at an event a few months ago. I was disappointed that they listed a chronological sequence of facts instead of stories.
There are many books about the structure, engineering, and craft of story. Understand, embrace and include the three basic elements of a good story. Good stories need context and emotion for the audience to connect and process the story.
Consider the example of how to use these three elements to build a better business story. It usually takes some exploration and discovery to uncover and distill the three elements. Practice develops the ability to deliver a good story. There are opportunities at work, home and the activities we engage on a daily basis.
Each of us has the ability to tell better stories if we embrace the three elements.
What are the 3 main elements setting influences in stories?
- It is locale.
- The time of the year.
- The time of day.
- There was anlapsed time.
- There is a mood and atmosphere.
- There is a climate.
- The geography is related to geography.
- Man-made maps.
The backdrop against which your dramas play out is provided by the place fiction that is staged. Setting is more than a backdrop for action; it is an interactive aspect of your fictional world that saturates the story with mood, meaning, and symbolism.
The setting includes the region, geography, climate, neighborhood, buildings, and interiors. This relates to a country, state, region, city, and town, as well as to more specific places, such as a neighborhood, street, house or school.
Readers have clear associations with different periods of the day, which makes it easy to create a visual orientation in a scene. Climate is linked to the geography and topography of a place, and can influence events and people. There are obvious influences in a story like a mountain a character must climb, a river a character must cross, or a forest a character must traverse to reach safety.
Readers want visual evidence in a story world, and man-made geography is easy to include. The influences of humankind on geography can lend authenticity to stories set in a real locale.
Notable landmarks include dams, bridges, ports, towns and cities, monuments, burial grounds, cemeteries, and famous buildings. Consider the influences of mankind using the land, as well as the effects of mines, deforestation, agriculture, irrigation, vineyards, cattle and coffee plantations.
The ancestral influences of European countries such as Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Poland are prominent in many regions of the United States.
What 3 things do we need to include in your storytelling?
- People are introduced by characters.
- The character transforms through challenge in conflict.
- How did the character change?
Two successful and admired business leaders shared their insights and reflections at a recent event.
While there are entire books and courses of study on crafting and telling better stories, anyone who understands and incorporates just three basic elements tends to show remarkable improvement Regardless of plot, twists, and approaches, good stories (even in business) have three essential elements: Current attempts to tell stories in business focus on environment instead of characters, symptoms over conflict, and present a resolution without the journey and transformation (if appropriate). This isn’t fiction, no need to focus on internal monologues, deep held secrets, and the work of novels. Extreme frustration, fear, and disappointment are what most people experience when they work. The challenge is not just the business problem requiring resolution, but the emotional ride through the process of asking for help, finding a solution, getting the budget, implementing the project, and finally, hopefully, realizing results.
There is a real connection between revealing genuine emotion and the way people evaluate solutions in terms of risk to themselves. Proof that the problem is understood on a personal and business level is offered if the narrative is real.
Sharing the emotion experienced on the pathway is a starting point for a more detailed and productive discussion. I help clients capture actual emotion and distill the right elements of the journey to resolution based on real people.
Introduce real people into the situation instead of setting the scene of a generic client. After a cup of coffee, Harry attended project and status meetings to represent security, handled routine and requested security reviews, connected with others on social media and ended his day around 5pm. An endless onslaught of attacks and changing threat landscape means more manual tasks. Skipping lunch and heading home after dark, Harry is putting on weight, stressed out, and most importantly missing the soccer games of his daughters, and date nights with his wife.
Faced with the reality that he is unable to keep up with the workload, Harry starts working later and later into the evening and on the weekends to find a solution. He has to convince his boss to approve the time and effort for evaluation after narrowing down potential solutions to three. The personal realization that the current situation is not working is the real challenge, not just the change in the external environment.
A lot of people are afraid to admit they need help because they fear repercussions from a superior who may question their work ethic. It takes a lot of time and effort to capture just the right amount of challenge without scaring people.
Harry was surprised that the initial setup only took two hours and did not cause a hiccup. An hour after the install team walked him through the system, Harry was able to see changes in the environment and take action from a central console. Harry was worried that his boss would penalize him, but he found a better relationship with his team and an accommodation of excellence on his desk. Finding time and energy to assess the solution and make a decision is one of the challenges in the struggle.
Two people that I interviewed last year on behalf of my clients told me similar stories. During the balance of the day, when a colleague is sharing a story, it’s common for people to point out how the attempt missed an element. The entire experience shows that it takes some exploration and discovery to uncover and distill the three elements. There are opportunities at work, home and the activities we engage on a daily basis.
Each of us has the ability to tell better stories if we embrace the three elements of the practice. Take your best next step in 7 days if you learn how to apply the Straight Talk Framework to your most pressing issue.
What are the basic elements of a story?
There are five basic elements of a story. The five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict and the resolution. The essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the reader to follow the action in a logical way.
What are the 5 basic elements of a short story?
They combine the five key elements that make up a great short story: character, setting, conflict, plot and theme.
What are the 4 basic story elements?
1 The major story elements are character, setting, plot and theme.
What are the 7 elements of a story in order?
- A theme is 1
- There are two characters.
- A point of view.
- There is a plot.
- There is a conflict.
- There is a resolution.
Writing advice on the internet can make you want to quit before you even start. Even the most beautiful structure will not stand if your foundation isn’t solid.
Most storytellers agree that there are seven key elements of a story. Make sure they are included to boost your chances of selling your writing.
Give him a reason for his actions. Depending on the length of your story, you may need important cast members. A sure way to put readers to sleep is to promise a thrilling story on the cover, only to begin with some variation of: Do this, and what things look and feel and sound like subtly register in the theater of the readers’ minds while they’re concentrating on the action, One perspective character per scene, but I prefer only one per chapter and ideally one per novel, is the rule for determining Point of View.
All you can say is what your POV character sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes, and thinks. Third Person limited is where most novels are written, with one perspective character at a time, usually the one with the most at stake. It is what makes your reader want to keep on reading.
Story structures are mostly the same, even though they are called by different names. Whether you can grab readers from the start and keep them to the end depends on how effectively you create drama, intrigue, conflict and tension.
Effective nonfiction depends on conflict and is the engine of fiction. If everything is going well in your plot, you will quickly bore your reader. A deep-seeded rift in a relationship can be revealed if one of them says something that makes the other storm out.
If you are an Outliner or a Pantser, you must have an idea of where your story is going and how it will end. It may change as you and your characters experience the inevitable arcs, but never leave it to chance.
The leader of your character should be the center stage. He should rise to the occasion because everything he learns from his trying to fix the terrible trouble he was plunged into should make him rise to the occasion.
Readers like to be educated and entertained, but they never forget being moved. Click here to read my 12-step process for How to Write a Novel if you want to dig deeper.