top of page
  • Writer's pictureH.A. Worthington

Elements of a Story: The Outline of Storytelling

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

The elements of a story are the fundamental basic building blocks you need to consider when starting to outline your story.


The central topic, lesson, or message of the narrative


  • Love

  • Growing up

  • Rich vs Poor

  • Forgiveness

  • Road to redemption


The general atmosphere or emotional complexion of the story meant to evoke emotion. Mood helps readers feel the same emotion as the characters. The description of the setting, word choice/diction, and imagery of the story, help to create mood.


  • Whimsical

  • Humorous

  • Gloomy/Depressed

  • Fearful/Suspenseful

  • Hopeful


The time in history, time of day, weather conditions, and geographical location in which a story takes place.


The person or character who tells the story

Point of View:

The perspective from which a story is told

  • First Person:

A first-person narrative is told from the protagonist's point of view and recounts their experiences of events using pronouns: "I", "us", "our", and "ourselves".Attitude and personality should permeate the voice of the narrator.

  • Second Person:

This narrative voice implies that the reader is either the protagonist or a character in the story and the events are happening to them. Uses the pronoun: “you, your, yours, yourself, yourselves” to address the reader. You're told what you're thoughts and feelings are.

  • Third Person:

The third-person point is the most common perspective in works of fiction. The third-person uses he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, their, theirs, and themselves pronouns. The narrator can be an all-seeing and all-knowing omniscient narrator that may occasionally access the consciousness of a few or many different characters. Attitudes and thoughts are shown through dialogue and thoughts.


The main character whose story we follow.

Outside of adjectives and adverb used to describe their physical and personality characteristics the most important thing to consider :

  • What does the protagonist want?

  • Who or what is opposing them from getting what they want?

  • What will their life look like if they get or don't get what they want?


A character, ideology, or internal struggle in conflict with the protagonist

  • What does the antagonist want?

  • Why does their goals conflict with what the protagonist wants?

  • What will their life look like if they get or don't get what they want?


A problem or struggle between opposing forces. This conflict is usually between the protagonist, the 'hero', and the antagonist, the 'villian', who's goals are in direct opposition.

As mentioned in the definition of an antagonist, a conflict is not always an external struggle with a foe or force. It can also be an internal struggle such as low self-esteem or overcoming trauma that keeps the protagonist from reaching their goals.

Flushing out the basic elements of theme, mood, setting, narrator, point of view, protagonist, and antagonist will greatly help with the development of the most important elements of storytelling, the plot and dialogue.


The sequence of events that develops a story.


A conversation between characters.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page