A story is a fictitious tale that is written to entertain, amuse, or
instruct the reader. A novel is the same as a story but it is longer
and more complex. To understand a story or novel, you need to
understand the six elements used by authors when they write a story or
Characters are the first element to look for when reading a story or
novel. Characters are most often people but can be animals or even
fictionalized beings like those seen in cartoons or movies. The main
character plays the biggest role and is often the first character to be
introduced. Most often the story is seen through the eyes of the main
character. Secondary characters play a smaller supporting role and are
introduced throughout the story.
The setting is the second element you should look for when reading a
story or novel. The setting is the location where the story takes
place. A story may take place in a home, countryside, town, school, or
wherever the author chooses to have the action occur. The setting is
usually revealed very early in a story.
The time when the story takes place is the third element you should
look for when reading a story or novel. A story may take place very
recently or many years ago. Usually the time when the story takes place
is introduced very early in the story.
The problem is the fourth element you should look for in a story or
novel. The problem most often grows out of a conflict between the main
character and another character in the story. But the problem can also
involve a circumstance such as a hurricane, a war, or one of the many
obstacles that produce a conflict in life.
Events are the fifth element you should look for when reading a story
or novel. An event is an attempt at solving the problem in the story.
In a story there are usually a number of attempts to solve the problem
and these events make up most of the story.
A solution is the sixth and final element in a story or novel. The
solution is how the problem is resolved or brought to an end. Most
often the solution is revealed near the end of the story. Sometimes the
solution is not revealed until the very last page or even the final
paragraph of the story.
Recognizing these story elements will help you better understand and
enjoy a story, remember the story facts, and appreciate different
writing styles used by authors.