THE FOUR ELEMENTS THAT GET A STORY STARTED,

according to yours truly. I want you to write about all four elements in the story you’re starting. Step back from what you’ve written and, on this sheet, allow yourself to say more than has been said so far in the story itself. On this page you’re the writer, you’re not writing through the narrator.

A character (the protagonist):

consider this: what does the protagonist burningly desire? What is the thing for him or her? If this character had a week left to live, what would she try to do?

 

 

A situation (one that puts pressure on the protagonist in such a way that her, or his, habitual way of doing something – something significant – cannot continue):

 

 

A place in which the action will happen, or at least begin to happen:

 

 

A voice that narrates the story (either the protagonist’s voice if it’s in first person, or the voice of a third-person narrator). In order for the story to begin, this narrating voice must make itself heard distinctly, and must – whatever this means – feel right. All it takes is one sentence to establish the sound of that voice in your ear. Has a sentence like that happened yet? If it has, what can you say about this voice?

 

 

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You can download this as a Word document here: Four Elements