The main parts of a story are
character(s), plot and setting. You may have heard these terms before. Every
story has characters. The characters can be adults, children, or even
animals. In some stories, objects with human traits and voices are
characters, like the teacup in Beauty and The Beast, for example.
The plot is the story itself. A good
plot captures attention and makes the reader of your story want to keep
reading. Conflict is another term that is related to plot. Every story has a
conflict. This is the issue or problem faced by the characters. It may be a
problem they need to solve or an adventure you want them to have.
The setting is where the story takes
place. It may take place in a familiar city or another country, in the
character's home, at a school, in a sports stadium…any place that fits the
characters and the plot. Of course, there can be more than one setting
within a story if the story is long enough. Since you will be writing a
short story, it will probably be best to set it in only one place. Related
to setting is the time period. A story may be set in the present, in the
past, or in the future.
When you plan a story, begin with a
character or characters, a plot (something for the character or characters
to do), and a place and time for the action of the story to happen. You may
be surprised how many ideas you have for characters, plot, and setting once
you start thinking about them. These things may be based on your own
real-life experiences, or they may come completely out of your imagination.
Think about some of your favorite stories. How would you describe the
characters? Where do the stories take place? What is the story about?
The Main Character
Begin with a main character. To do this,
think of some of the interesting people you have known. You may decide to
write about a character that is based on a person you know, or you may want
to give an animal or thing the characteristics of a person. Do you have a
favorite uncle who does really funny things? Do you know a kid who is really
smart but maybe a little clumsy, too? Do you have a pet that seems to think
he is human? Once you start thinking about all the people you know and what
makes them special and different from each other, you will begin to get a
lot of great ideas for characters.
Of course, your character or characters
will need a story to be part of. They need to do something interesting or
have a special experience. Think of some of the things you are interested in
and like to do. You might want to write a story in which the characters play
sports, solve a mystery or win a contest. Something exciting, embarrassing
or scary that has happened to you or a friend can also be a starting point
for a good story.
When you have an idea for a plot and the
characters it will involve, you will need to decide where your story will
take place. Sometimes you will decide on the place before you make up the
plot. If you like the zoo or the mall, you may want to set a story in one of
those places. Maybe the place you spent your last summer vacation is a good
setting for your story. If you choose the plot first, the setting of the
story may be obvious. For example, if you decide to write a story about a
baseball player, there's a good chance that at least part of the story will
take place on a baseball field!
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