As writers our job is to tell the best story possible and to do that we use all five story elements. Yep, all of them.To get you going, see if you can write a paragraph that explains your story using all the story elements.
For example I’ll use my book, The Forgotten Warrior.
Sydney Morgan (protagonist), a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate,
learns (circumstance) her mother has cancer and is forced to tolerate her absentee father (adversary) who comes back into her life. She can’t forgive him for leaving, plus she’s worried (purpose) about her mother and little sister and has to take care of them. Just when she thought things could not get worse, Syd is given a clear stone that sends her back in time (catastrophe). Syd’s desperate to find her way back home.
Of course, there’s much more to the story such as she meets Tarik, a stripling warrior, and falls in love. She also meets Chief Captain Heleman, who asks her to train the stripling warriors to fight. But through everything that happens to Sydney, the five elements are the pulse that beats throughout her story: protagonist, circumstance, purpose, adversary and catastrophe.
You’re probably thinking that was easy for me because my story is already written. Okay, let’s plot a brand new story using the five elements.
Protagonist – Jesse, a sixteen-year-old girl,
Circumstance – has no idea who her parents are. She’s lived in one foster home after another.
Purpose - Jesse wants to belong to a family. The Davenports’ are her last chance. They do volunteer work at an assisted living center and take Jesse with them.
Adversary – As Jesse listens to an elderly woman trying to recall a memory, Jesse is suddenly thrown into the scene in the elderly woman’s mind.
Catastrophe – A shadowy figure threatens to kill Jesse if she intrudes on the woman’s memories again.
Okay, this is a story I’m toying with right now. I have a basic idea and know where I want to end up. Story elements help reinforce and flesh out the character’s inner and outer conflict, which will continue throughout the entire book until the very end.
Do you think using these story elements will help you as you write your book?
Let me know what you think, and give it a try.