EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS • Create: vt. To make or bring into being by applying the imagination. Successful writing requires the writer to create before turning to the mechanics of writing.
CHARACTER • All stories are about characters. Story events happen to characters. Always start by identifying the main characters. Explanation Examples Beings in stories that A person, a dog, a talk- think and act on their own ing stump, and so on behalf.
CHARACTER TRAIT • Character traits are any information that makes a character seem clear, real, vivid and interesting to readers. Explanation Examples A trait, ability, fear, passion, A jagged scar across a history, relationship, or character- cheek, six fingers on one hand, istic or a character that makes the a fear of cats, a whiny voice, the character interesting to readers. ability to jump 8’ high, etc.
GOAL • A goal is what the main character wants to do or get in this story. It’s what the character is after in the story. Explanation Examples What a character wants to do or To get a million dollars, to get in a story. Become a star football player, to fly to the moon, to have pizza for dinner, to fly a kite, etc.
ELEMENT #3 GOAL • The goal of the main character tells readers the following information: *What the story is about *How the story will end *How to understand and interpret every action and event in the story
ELEMENT # 3 GOAL • The goal of the main character is the one element most commonly overlooked by student writers. • Failure to create a specific goal for the main character is the second most common reason student stories fail.
ELEMENT #3 GOAL What is the goal? Little Maysie wanted to be the best baseball player in her school.
POWER OF A GOAL The goal of the main character is THE MOST IMPORTANTsingle bit of information you will create in your story. WITHOUT A GOAL, YOU DON’T HAVE A STORY!
MOTIVE • A motive explains why a goal is important to a character. The more important the goal is, the more suspenseful & intriguing the story will be. Explanation Examples Why a character wants a specific To impress his classmates, to goal; what makes that goal save her mother from becoming important to the character a slave, to feel good about herself, to get revenge, etc.
MOTIVE IS A MUST! A character’s reasons for wanting a particular goal are called the character’s MOTIVE. Each individual story focuses on a character’s struggles to reach a specific goal…… But, readers will decide how to view that character and goal by learning WHY the character wants that particular goal.
CONNECTING GOALS & MOTIVES • GOAL determines where the story will end (character resolves goal—either gets it or doesn’t) • MOTIVE determines which possible ending readers want and expect
CONFLICTS & PROBLEMS • Conflicts and problems are the obstacles that block a character from reaching a goal. These obstacles are the root of every plot and every story event and action. Explanation Examples Obstacles that block a character The antagonist, a villain, from reaching a goal. a storm, prejudice, parents, etc.
RISK & DANGER • Risk and danger represent the likelihood that something will go wrong and the consequences (what happens) to the main character when something goes wrong. Explanation Examples The bad things and the trouble a Embarrassment, being the character could get into if things laughing stock at school, go wrong (worst-case scenario) being killed, being abandoned, etc.
STRUGGLES • Struggles are what a character does (the action, the plot) to overcome obstacles and reach a goal. Explanation Examples What a character does to try to Any action that is part of get past conflicts and problems an attempt to reach a goal. and reach a goal.
DETAILS • Details about the characters, settings, actions, and objects make a story seem real and vivid to readers. Explanation Examples Specific, unique information about Action verbs to describe the characters, settings, actions, actions, sensory details to and objects (things) in a story. describe objects and settings, etc.