Writing in itself can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t know where, or how, to begin. Through this post, you’ll learn about the four factors that make a story, and how they work together to make it good.

Writer writing a story in notebook

Writing Your Story

If you’ve done any kind of research on the topic, you’ll know that writing a story is a complex process of choices and planning to make characters, scenes, and other information work together in a flowing, functional way.

Assuming that you’ve got your research or a general idea of what you want to write about, we can get down to the actual storytelling. Let’s dive a little deeper into what four factors make a good story.

The Plot

This will be the backbone of your story. It is the events and scenes that create friction, tension, and movement in your story. This sequence of events must flow in a natural way that leaves your readers wanting more.

Make sure to create the right balance between tension and reward to propel your characters forward from the beginning of the story, through the middle, and ultimately the end.

The Characters

Whether you want to write about a couple working through the struggles of marriage, or an alien race fighting to survive extinction, you’ll need characters.

One character alone in a story is rare, and the protagonist of a story usually only grows from being challenged by other characters, including an antagonist.

“There is only one plot – things are not what they seem.” – JIM THOMPSON

#writeitupza #storytellingtogreaterheights


7 Character types to add to your story:

  • Protagonist: The main character in your story, and the character that your audience will be most interested in. Their backstory, personality, and strong and weak points should all be carefully plotted out. Think about what their personal motivation will be and work toward a character arc that progresses over the course of the story.
  • Antagonist: This will be the villain in your story. The Joker to your Batman, or the Thanos to your Avengers. This character’s main purpose exists to antagonise the protagonist through villainous or ill-meaning actions.
  • Love interest: The love interest is the protagonist’s object of desire. Ideally, this character type should be compelling, with a solid backstory of their own.
  • Confidant: Think of this character type as the best friend or sidekick of the protagonist, like Buzz Lightyear was to Woody. The confidant’s role is a supporting one, and often the protagonist’s goal flows through the confidant. Keep in mind that not all stories need a confidant, you’ll have to decide whether your story will work with or without one.
  • Deuteragonists: This character type will often overlap with the confidant. The deuteragonist is close to the protagonist, but your story’s main plot will not directly correspond with their own character arc.
  • Tertiary characters: Some stories need them, others not so much. These tertiary characters populate the world of the story but do not necessarily link to the main storyline. They are minor characters that serve any number of functions and may have various personal dynamics.
  • Foil: A foil usually only exists to bring the main character’s attributes and qualities into sharper relief. This is because the foil is effectively the opposite of the protagonist.

The World

This is the environment where your story plays out. It can take place on a desolate planet, under the sea, or in the mind of a character. The choice of your setting will not matter so much as the physical details you put into it.

Think of the atmosphere, time period, seasons, cultural and political systems, and especially the topography of the place you are writing about.

MORE READING: How to Write a Believable Word: A Guide to Worldbuilding

The Language

This is the best part of your story in my opinion because it’s the words that will actually make up your story. Think of the grammar, style and voice of the writing you will use.

Everything from word choice, dialects, character names and how you choose to write all these elements cohesively into sentences, scenes and chapters, will ultimately make up your story.

Let’s Recap

The ideal story only exists on a page, so you have to write it for it to exist.

By including a solid plot and characters in a setting that helps both progress, you can write a good story that your audience will enjoy reading.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this article, so feel free to comment down below!