More Stories: The Creative Writing Podcast
Season 3: Episode 5 – Elements of Narrative Creative Writing.

In order to improve our creative writing efforts, it helps us to understand the five basic elements of narrative creative writing or storytelling: Character, Plot, Setting, Dialogue, and Significant Detail.

If you’ve been writing for a while, starting to accumulate pages, you may find that you re-read your work, and it seems to be, well…not good. Things don’t seem to be coming together. What you are producing doesn’t feel like a story, it lacks cohesion, it maybe jest feels flat or lifeless or uninteresting. Somehow the writing doesn’t feel complete.

Don’t worry. If you find yourself in this place, you should know that most writers have been there. It is part of the growth and creative maturity process.

elements of narrative creative writing chemistry
Like chemistry, an understanding of the basic elements of narrative creative writing can help you better comprehend how a quality literary work comes together.

I believe that when you have gotten to a place where you’ve been piling up some pages of writing, but you just aren’t happy with the overall quality of the writing, that is a good time to begin to apply some of the analytical knowledge you’ve accumulated to the writing process.

What I am suggesting, then, is that we learn how to breakdown and deconstruct writing that we admire, as a way of learning how to make our own work better. The best way to start doing this is to understand the five elements of narrative creative writing and begin to study how they interact and work together in great literature.

What are these five elements I keep referring to? Well, here we go: Character, Plot, Setting, Dialogue, and Specific Detail.

In non-fiction, you might give these slightly less fiction-sounding titles, but they are the same elements, even if they are re-labled.

By becoming familiar with these concepts, These terms give us a specialized vocabulary for discussing the technical aspects of stories and novels and narrative essays and memoirs. These are the basic building blocks of stories, and by studying them and talking about them, we can improve our writing.

Enjoy!!

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Podcast: Elements of Narrative Creative Writing