The Six Elements to a Balanced Story

NCWA welcomes Joe Bunting from The Write Practice in a series of writing prompts.

This post contains excerpts from Joe’s e-book. See links following post to obtain the complete version.


The Foundation of Writing

Some people say there are five elements of story. Some say ten. I say (for now at least) six.

Here they are:

1. Action. What are the people in your story doing?
2. Dialogue. What are they saying?
3. Description. What are they seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling?
4. Introspection (also known as inner monologue). What are they thinking?
5. Emotion. How do they feel?
6. Exposition. What other information does the narrator (i.e. you) want us to know?

The Prompt
Write a story about a schoolyard fight. Try to use all six elements of storytelling. Go ahead and write for thirty minutes.


Excerpts and writing prompt from Joe Bunting’s e-book,

14 Prompts, available by clicking on the link.


Joe Bunting is the founder of  The Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone. View his website.

Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she’s not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for The Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. She occasionally blogs at, but only when she feels like it.


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