English: what are the elements of a narrative?

English: what are the elements of a narrative?

Or, to ask a simpler English question, how much is a dress?

Narrative is at the core of English. At root, it’s the simple telling of a story. But in practice, it’s so much more than that. Here are five elements to think about when you’re writing a story – or, even better, when you’re planning to write a story.


What happens? Here, we’re talking about the events of your narrative – whether they’re actions taken by your characters (Dave slaps Andreas) or things that happen to them (a boulder falls from the sky, crushing Andreas).


Where is it happening? In a longer work, there could be more than one setting, but if you’re writing a short story, you might be better off keeping the action in one place. Of course, that place could be huge, as in “Dreamtime-era Kakadu” or “Mars Colony 1980”.


Who’s doing what? Coming up with interesting, layered characters is often the key to a great story. Even if your hero is blasting werewolves with a variety of sweet bows, it’ll be a better narrative if you give her some flaws, desires and/or interests beyond killing monsters.


You could probably write a story without conflict, but it’ll probably be boring. Think about what your characters want, then throw as many obstacles in their path as possible. Authors often talk about being mean to their creations – don’t make life easy for them.


It’s very important to think about the ending before you get there, because so many stories just…finish. There doesn’t have to be a twist, but you want your readers to be satisfied when they get to the end. Hint: don’t have a boulder fall from the sky and crush Andreas. And please don’t make it be all a dreeeeeeam.


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