Story Basics

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When I first started writing I had a tough time figuring out what actually made a story, a story. I read multiple books on how to write fiction, looked up article after article online. After all that research my brain was on overload. Why couldn’t someone post the basics in a way I could understand?

Thats why I decided to come up with my own guide to writing fiction.

Like learning any new concept, it is important to learn the basics first. The broadest element of a story is its structure. Once the foundations are in place, it is broken up into chapters, which are made of scenes. Scenes contain their own miniature story structures and are put together by a string of paragraphs, that are chunks of information dividing into sentences.

It all starts with planting the seed of an idea into the ground.

Here is my writing story tree:

Story Structures[Ground]:

Whether you are someone that likes to make a comprehensive outline depicting each and every detail of your story or someone that likes to write as they go, understanding the foundations of a story is crucial to knowing how a story should be developed.

Story Structures are blueprints and outlines of dramatic structure intended to give your audience an introduction to your world and characters, before slowly escalating the stakes, until you reader arrives at a climax and resolves it in a satisfying way before concluding.

Example: 3-arc structure, 5-arc structure, and stages of a heroes journey.

Chapters [Roots]:

The typical addiction of what happens next? Chapters aren’t what you think they are.

Chapters are actually about structure and organizing scenes into larger chunks that make the story more digestible to a reader.

Chapter length is used to control the pace of reading. Longer chapters feel slower, while shorter chapters give a rushed feel. It is important to understand your audience when considering chapter length as different age groups vary in their attention spans.

Chapters must always start with an interesting beginning and end on an emotionally high point, such as cliff hangers.


Probably the most important (and difficult) aspect of story structure to master.

Scenes are linked through the constant cycle of cause and effect that a character goes through. Think of a scene as a mini story with a beginning, middle, and end. As one scene ends, it sends the characters on a new journey or direction that begins with the next scene.

In every scene, the audience learns something about the characters, setting, or plot. By the time you are finished writing, your story will look like a chain of scenes categorized into chapters that fit within your story’s structure


Everyone has their own writing style and this is where most differences start to show. How you want to communicate your ideas, and how you chunk your information together is up to you and the way you tell your story.

If you have no idea whatsoever, don’t worry. This section goes into detail on an extremely helpful technique using motivation and reaction chunking that will give you a great introduction on how you should write paragraphs.


Everything before a sentence is structure in some form. Writing sentence is like talking, and it is the words that come out and have meaning. The way you talk and the words you use are unique to you.

Listed below are the fundamental writing methods you will use to convey what is happening in your scenes.

Action: This is what a character is doing in the scene

Dialogue“: Is anytime 2+ characters speak. This is conversation and verbal conflict. Dialogue has many purposes, including: Progressing the story, revealing something about the characters, exchanging information, and humor.

Narrative: This is everything going on in the background that connects pieces in a story. It is the setting, time, tone, and place.


Are clichés bad? Tropes vs. Clichés

Simply put, if you need an exact rule Cliches are BAD  Tropes are GOOD This is not always the case though. Cliches are bad because the audience is going to be reminded of all the other times they experienced that same cliche. If you can manage to write a cliche in a new way that…

Point of View and Tense

First person Third persin (limited): Only see the world from the protagonists point of view. And the limited aspect means we do hear some of their thoughts and feelings. If it was third person omniscient we could hear anyone’s mind Multiple points of view Past Tense Present Tense

Writing Fiction: Active and Passive Voice

Active Voice: What is Active Voice, and why is it a good thing? Active voice refers to a style of writing that when read, makes it easier for readers to feel as if they are there with characters in the moment. Richie gave the panting dog a bowl of ice cold water (active) The panting…


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