What Is A Story & Why Do You Need To Tell (Write) It?

Everyone has a story to tell. Whether it’s a personal story about overcoming adversity or an inspiring tale of success, stories are powerful tools that can be used to communicate ideas and values.

Writing stories is also an excellent way to build empathy, develop relationships, and create meaningful connections with others. We use compelling narratives to effectively share experiences and perspectives with the world. In short, writing stories is an invaluable skill that everyone should strive to master.

In this article, we’ll discuss what storytelling is, its importance, how you can use stories to convey messages and evoke emotions, and the various methods for writing an effective narrative.

👉 Just getting started as a writer? See our tips on how to become a better storyteller

What Is A Story?

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What Is A Story?

A story is an account of events, real or imagined, told in a narrative form. It can be as simple as telling a friend about an event that happened to you or as complex as writing an epic novel.

In a simpler form, a story is a narrative that has a character, a goal, and a challenge. Stories can be both entertaining and informative and they often have themes or morals that teach lessons to readers.

Stories can be told through oral storytelling, written stories, plays, and film. They are one of the oldest forms of communication and have been used by humans since ancient times. So, why should you write a story? I mean, why not just read or watch films?

Why Write A Story? 

Well, writing a story gives you the power to create something. To take ideas and turn them into something real – a world of your own, with characters, settings, and events. It allows you to tap into your creativity and craft an unforgettable tale that others can enjoy.

And whether we like it or not, we all have stories to tell. Everyone has had experiences in their life that are unique. There are stories within us all, waiting to be unleashed. And learning to tell your own story can make you a stronger, more creative writer.

That said, storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication. It allows you to connect on a deeper level with your audience. When you share your story, people get to know you on a personal level, which can help strengthen the bond between you and your readers. This allows for a greater level of trust and understanding, which is essential for any successful relationship.

Storytelling also helps evoke strong emotions and encourages people to think beyond surface-level assumptions. A good narrative can make readers feel inspired, motivated, depressed, or hopeful in the face of adversity.

In addition, when people read or hear a story, they can relate to the characters and identify with their struggles and successes. This helps foster understanding and builds empathy among different groups of people.

Now that we’ve explored the importance of storytelling, let’s move on to the elements of a story.

what is a story - How Can You Craft A Compelling Story?

What Are The Elements of A Story?

A story narrative should have a structure. It is a narrative with a plot, characters, and setting. It is usually told in chronological order and has a beginning, middle, and end. The story usually contains dialogues between the characters and moves forward as each character takes action to reach their goal.

The beginning part introduces the characters and setting, while the middle provides the reader with details about how the characters interact with each other and how they deal with conflict. Finally, the last part resolves any loose ends or unanswered questions in a satisfying conclusion.

Let’s consider this excerpt from this short story that captures this:

“Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Gretel who lived in the countryside with her parents and siblings. One day, her parents decided to take her and her brother Hansel on an adventure into the deep dark woods. Little did they know that this would change their lives forever…”

This excerpt contains elements of a story, such as characters (Gretel and Hansel), setting (the countryside and the deep dark woods), and a plot (the journey into the woods).

However, just having a plot, characters, and settings isn’t a story though. A story must be complete with the following elements:

  • Plot: The plot is the framework of your story.
  • Characters: Your characters give your story life.
  • Setting: The setting is the environment in which your story takes place. It can be a real-world location or it could be an imaginary one.
  • Conflict: Every story needs a conflict. That’s what makes it interesting and keeps the reader engaged.
  • Theme: Every story has a central theme or message, something that ties it all together. It could be redemption, friendship, love, family, or anything else you want to explore.
  • Narrative Arc: The narrative arc is the shape of your story. It’s a way to organize your plot points and make sure there is a beginning, middle, and end.

👉New to fiction writing? See our guide on the elements of a story!

What Is A Story Structure?

The story structure is the foundation of any good story. It is a framework that helps writers and readers keep track of a story’s plot, characters, and settings. The story structure organizes the elements in a story such that the story has a beginning, middle, and end.

The most popular story structure is the three-act structure, but there are other types of story structure which include the five-act structure (also called Freytag’s Pyramid), and the Hero’s Journey. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you should consider the purpose of the story before deciding which one to use.

For example, the three-act structure best suits stories with a strong central conflict, while the five-act structure can be used to create longer and more complex plots. The Hero’s Journey is best suited for stories focused on personal transformation and growth.

No matter which story structure you choose, it should follow certain fundamental principles, including rising action that builds tension leading up to the climax of the story, and resolution after the climax.

👉 For a deeper look into this structure, head over to our guide on story structures.

How Can You Write A Compelling Story?

To craft an engaging narrative, you must learn to use the elements of storytelling effectively. These elements give you a structure on which you can build on.

That said, this is just one part. Crafting a compelling story requires other strategies. Some tips that can help you get started include:

  • Brainstorm ideas: Before you start writing, take some time to brainstorm potential stories and characters. Think about what kind of message (story theme) you want to convey and the best way to present it.
  • Start with structure: Try following a classic story structure, such as the three-act structure.
  • Add emotion: Evoking emotions is essential for any good story. Think about how you want your readers to feel as they progress through your narrative.
  • Employ the use of literary devices: Consider incorporating literary devices into your writing. Not only does this make your story engaging, but it also adds extra spark and life to your story.
  • Practice makes perfect: The best way to become a better storyteller is to practice writing stories regularly. Also, read the work of other authors and practice writing in different genres until you find your best genre.

👉 See our guide on how to write a story in 9 steps.

How To Become A Better Storyteller

Becoming a better storyteller and writer is not an easy task, but it can be done with dedication and practice. With the right techniques, anyone can learn how to craft compelling stories that will engage readers and leave them feeling inspired.

To become a better storyteller, you must master the 7 elements of storytelling: characters, plot, setting, conflict, theme, point of view, and style/tone. Use these elements effectively in your writing, so you can create narratives that evoke strong emotions.

Below are additional tips you can employ in becoming a better story writer:

  • Read often: Start by reading as much as you can. Not just any type of book – focus on genres that interest you and that have stories with compelling plot lines and memorable characters.
  • Know your audience: Before you begin writing, take some time to think about who your story is for.
  • Learn the structure of story writing: It’s important to understand the basics of story structure, such as the hero’s journey or the three-act structure.
  • Take classes: If you want to take your storytelling skills to the next level, consider taking a class or workshop on storytelling.
  • Join a critique group: Critique groups are another great way to become a better storyteller.

👉 To learn more, read our 15 tips on how to be a better storyteller.

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FAQs on What Is A Story

Can Stories Be Used To Teach Lessons?

Stories can be used to teach lessons. Stories have the power to capture people’s attention and provide them with meaningful messages or insights that they can use in their own lives. Whether it’s an inspiring tale of courage or a cautionary tale of what not to do, stories can be used to captivate people and teach them important lessons about life.

Can Stories Be Based On True Events?

Stories can be based on true events. While some authors prefer to make up their own characters and plots, others like to tell stories that are based on real-life events. These stories may use real people, places, and events as the basis for their narrative, with any necessary changes or additions made to fit into the structure and storyline of the tale.

Can Stories Be Used To Influence People?

Stories are powerful tools that can be used to convey a particular point of view or message and hence, influence people. Authors use compelling characters and an engaging narrative to create stories that elicit strong emotional reactions from their readers. Whether it’s encouraging people to vote or donating to a specific charity, stories can have an immense impact on how people think and act.

Final Notes On What Is A Story

Stories can be used to entertain, educate, and move people to action. They are essential for developing empathy and inspiring us to take on new challenges. Stories also help us process our own experiences and make sense of the world around us. They allow us to contemplate different perspectives, explore our imaginations, and develop a deeper understanding of the world.

Good storytelling isn’t easy but it’s definitely rewarding. It’s an opportunity to express yourself through words and share your unique perspective with the world. You can create stories that inspire, entertain, and educate – stories that will stay with people for life.

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