10 Storytelling Elements

Storytelling at its finest and simplest

My article is based on these tips.

The Contract

This is the starting point of the story. Knowing what the story is primarily about is key for the initial imaginary contract signing between you (the author/writer) and reader.

Example: The Last Days by New Author is about the death of humanity except for one survivor. It will have blood with lots of gore. It is a horror story.

That is the promise you make to your readers. The readers are set on a journey of horror and not (strictly) romance or comedy. Now it is possible to blend genres but just make it clear through the writing, characters, and scenes of that plan.

P.S.: I broke the contract with my readers…once…it was minor yet still important.

The Pull

The Last Days by New Author

Dust clogged my nose and I woke with a cough. The broken ground of greys, blues, and blacks rumbled beneath my weight as I sat up. After regaining my breath, my itchy eyes searched around. The fog settled deep in the distance and the wind carried no sound. No animal appeared in my sight. Only rolling garbage. The buildings on Selson Street, once tall, wide, and lively now a rotten decay of their former beauty. I then asses myself. Few cuts on my legs, the jean pants turned raggedy. As I inspect, a pinch develops on my side. I grunt at the pain and lift my shirt. A tentacle, about a foot long, wiggled like a cat’s melodic tail from the side of my ribs. It had scales and two mouths with sharp, bent teeth. One mouth already sucking my blood. The other hanged at the end. But where was the blood going? The narrow belly of this creature, if it was a creature, wasn’t expanding. What was happening?

Does the above made up paragraph from the made up story and made up author pull you in? Yes? No? Leave a comment below.

But “pulling” the reader in just means to keep their attention for the rest of the journey.

The Incident
The incident is the conflict of the story. All stories need some type of conflict or incident that starts the story moving. This can be attributed to plot events. In my opinion, incident, conflict, and events are all interchangeable when talking about how and what can move the story along. A way to help think about “incidents” is to think of the origin stories of your favorite superhero/comic book characters.

The Reveal
The writer reveals to the character(s) and the readers what the story (events, incidents, and conflicts) actually entails. It can be delivered through dialog, narrative, or action.

Point of no Return
The time in the story when the character(s) must make a decision. And this decides how the story will develop.

Examples: Mass Effect Trilogy; Dragon Age; Elder Scrolls; Fable; and Halo

I love me some well written villains. Sorry, guys, the villains have to win a tiny bit. I know, cliche formula. I like to call this the false climax.

All-is-lost moment
The character(s) experience a moment of despair and lost of hope for themselves and the future of the story. This usually takes place after an epic battle which results in the villain winning.

News of Hope
Side-kicks don’t always have to the Robin of the group in the story. Let the side characters shine. It might just bring some hope to the protagonist.

When the magic happens! Everything is at stake and it’s now or never (Bon Jovi) for all characters involved.

The End
The unwinding part of the story. Here, loose ends can be knotted if this story is complete. It can also be left open for the reader to determine how it should end. But for the most part, it is the smoldering of a fire pit.

And now I’m at the end. Thank you for reading and learning.