Answers from Elena Ornig
When readers are able to relate to the characters, their actions and reactions, the scene and the settings, and the
conflict and final resolution, they will make only one conclusion: “This story is great!”
Writing a story is creating your final product from the beginning through to the end by understanding the structure, and the overall relationship of all the aspects of the story.
Regardless of what genre you are writing in – you will still follow the same structure: beginning, middle and end of the story.
For any story, a writer needs to answer a few vital questions: who or what; why and how; where and when?
Therefore let us go through each of the questions in order to see how it all unfolds.
Who or what – are the characters, the circumstances, the subjects or the objects of a story; one of which is the protagonist and the other is the antagonist. The protagonist, since early Greek’s dramas, is presented in a story as a main and dominant character with a leading role to play; or simply the main hero with a specific aim to achieve. The antagonist, regardless of who (character) or what (situation, subject or object) will play the opposite role by trying to prevent the protagonist from succeeding. This takes us straight away to one of the most important aspect of the story – a conflict, and the conflict will answer our next questions: why a conflict existed or developed, and how it is resolved. The last questions will set the scene of a story and will answer where and when this conflict took place.
Writing a great story is to discover what if often missing. What writers have to remember is that simply knowing the basic structure of the story and following all the important aspects of the story is not enough to write a great story.
So, what is often missing? The answer is simple- the relationship between the characters and the conflict they are involved in; between the characters and theme of the story; between the characters and settings, between the actions and reactions. The missing part is often the internal relationship between all aspects of a story or simply, how all things inter-relate with everything and how everything is relative to the reader.
Let me explain what I am trying to say here. As we know, the theme of a story is the message from the author to the readers and therefore his or her central idea of the story; for example: “The
truth will prevail” or “There is no such thing as an accident “or “Believe in yourself and never give up”. The situations are what the characters are facing, the actions that the characters take and the reactions of the characters to the situations; the settings that the characters are placed into will become the actual plot of the story. Therefore, the plot has to be relative to the theme of the author to make sense to the reader.
The plot will only be believable if it is relative to the theme. The characters, their actions and reactions, and the situations they are placed into by an author, have to be relative to the plot. For example: if a character is old man and doesn’t have a special power like superman, then he cannot be believable by jumping from one building to another across a street; if a character, as the protagonist, doesn’t care about truth but is making an attempt to prove that “The truth will prevail “, then where is the relationship to the theme? So, the relativity between characters versus conflict versus plot versus theme must make sense based on believable relativity.
Now we can talk about the structure of a story, again keeping in mind that everything has to be relative.
In the beginning of the story the protagonist, driven by motive, is trying to solve a problem or conflict and the antagonist, driven by a different motive, is trying to stop, prevent or destroy the protagonist. The actions and reactions, as created by the author’s situations, become the events of the developing plot. The author, with his or her morals, ideas, messages, or simply the theme, evaluates everything that is happening in the actions and reactions of the characters and therefore leads the characters by intensifying the plot through the middle of the story towards final resolution. Just before the end, when it seems that the problem is unsolvable, or the conflict cannot be resolved, the protagonist makes a last attempt and “bingo”- the protagonist either succeeds or fails, but the conflict doesn’t exist anymore and the story ends.
As simple as the actual structure of the story is- the author of any story has to remember relativity of the plot to the theme, and only then will it make sense to the readers. When everything is relative in the story – readers will believe in the story. When readers believe in the story they will be able to identify how it relates to them. When readers are able to relate to the characters, their actions and reactions, the scene and the settings, and the conflict and final resolution, they will make only one conclusion: “This story is great!”
My warmest regards,