Storytelling Essentials: Understanding the 7 Literary Elements

Storytelling Essentials: Understanding the 7 Literary Elements

So, you want to write a story that doesn’t just exist but captivates and resonates. Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re unpacking the seven essential elements of literature that transform a mere story into an unforgettable journey.

For a more in-depth exploration of these literary elements, I highly recommend checking out Fija Callaghan’s comprehensive article on Scribophile. She delves into each element with finesse, offering valuable insights that can elevate your storytelling. Here’s the link to her article: What Are Literary Elements?

1. Characters

Characters are the puppeteers of your narrative. They pull the strings, dance on the stage, and make the audience invest emotionally. Whether your characters are ordinary folks facing extraordinary challenges or mythical creatures navigating uncharted realms, they are the backbone of your story.

2. Setting

Setting isn’t just the where; it’s the heartbeat of your story. It’s the creaky floorboards in the haunted house, the scent of street food in a bustling market, or the eerie silence of a desolate desert. The setting is the silent director shaping the mood and atmosphere of your tale.

3. Narrative

First-person, third-person, omniscient—how you tell your story matters. The narrative lens is like a camera capturing the essence of your tale. It determines whose perspective the reader sees, influencing the intimacy and connection they feel with the characters and events.

4. Plot

Plot is the connect-the-dots puzzle of your narrative. It’s the series of events that propel your story forward. A well-crafted plot keeps readers on the edge of their seats, eager to uncover what happens next. It’s the roadmap that ensures your story doesn’t meander into the wilderness of confusion.

5. Conflict

Conflict is the secret sauce that adds flavor to your narrative. It’s the friction between characters, the tension in the air, and the obstacles that stand in the way of your protagonist. Without conflict, your story risks being as bland as a monotone monologue.

6. Theme

Themes are the melodies that linger in the minds of your readers. Love, justice, the passage of time—these are the underlying concepts that give your story depth and meaning. A well-explored theme resonates with readers, sparking introspection and connection.

7. Voice

Voice is the rhythm, tone, and style of your narrative. It’s what sets your story apart from the rest. Whether it’s a quirky first-person narration or a distant third-person observer, the voice is the soundtrack that plays in the reader’s mind, creating a distinctive experience.


In the world of storytelling, the seven elements of literature are the backbone of a captivating narrative. Characters breathe life into the story, setting provides the backdrop, and plot guides the journey. Conflict adds spice, theme gives depth, and voice adds a unique flavor. And, again, if you’re looking for a more in-depth article about this topic, I’d recommend reading this from Scribophile: elements of literature.

So, aspiring storytellers, let these elements be the compass guiding you to better story writing.