“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
What are the Elements Of An Engaging Story? Most experts put these in a group of seven:
Character, Plot, Setting, Point of View, Style, Theme, and Literary Devices
and for structure
Hook, First Plot Point, Pinch Point 1, Midpoint, Pinch Point 2, Plot Point 2, and Resolution
I tend to break it down a bit more: Give me some twists, turns with a bit of tension and I’m hooked!
However, before jumping into these important principles, there is the question, what genre will I write? Prose or Poetry? Fiction or non-fiction? I find non-fiction fits me better than the others, but I enjoy reading others as well.
A Quiet Mentor And Influencer
I have the honor of knowing a writer of fiction. We have been friends since 1997 when we met as air traffic controllers on an evaluations team. It was in Albuquerque when I discovered she was a fellow Christian writing her first novel.
At the time I had no idea I would ever do any kind of writing other than the technical stuff for work. After all, it is a bit of a leap from articulating air traffic control procedures in writing to rescuing personal stories!
In retrospect, Lisa’s example played a larger part in realizing, I too, could put pen to paper in a more creative way.
As a friend, Lisa has allowed me the privilege of reading her draft manuscripts. I remember the first time she placed her precious collection of words in my hands. I was excited, humbled, and a bit wary. What if I did not like it? What if it was awful? Gasp!
But it wasn’t. In fact, I stayed up until 2 AM on a work night to finish it! It had all the Elements Of An Engaging Story.
Her second novel, Stork Bite, demonstrates these elements of an engaging story even more masterfully:
Element #1 – Twists
Every good story has some surprising twists. If everything was predictable, it is still a story just not as interesting. In Stork Bite, there are five point-of-view characters, each living life, making choices, and dealing with the outcome of those choices. Some of the “twists” take time to resolve.
Element #2 – Turns
The novel is structured into two books that seem unconnected. It takes some faith and a natural curiosity to press on to see how it all works out.
Element #3 – Delightful Tension
The subject matter that holds the story together is a difficult one. Yet, its setting in the south of the United States gives it credibility. At the same time, there is a softness to it. The characters are real.
The tension in the story is that sense of something going on just behind the veil of the words, and there is. The continual background of mystery is subtle.
Capturing Your Story
As you decide what genre you will capture, do consider fiction. It allows you to tell a story using a real person but in a fictionalized way. One of the characters in Stork Bite is based on the life of an Aunt of Lisa’s who lived in that era.
My forte is non-fiction, but using fiction is a viable option. As you download the Five Legacy Stories PDF, think about the ideas presented and consider fiction as a means to capture your story. I am thinking of doing it myself!
What one story could you tell using fiction? Please enter your thoughts in the comments.
2 thoughts on “Three Elements Of An Engaging Story – Twists, Turns, And Delightful Tension”
Nancy, thank you for the shout out and your generous comments about the books! What a wonderful surprise! Lisa
Well deserved !