Writing: The Key Elements

Elements For A Basic Plot Or Storyline

The Three P’s; People, Place and Problem:

  1. People: Who is the story happening too?
  2. Place: Where is it happening?
  3. Problem: What is happening, and why? You finish the story by solving the problem.


  1. Make them somebody your reader will care about.
  2. Give your characters personalities to make them different from each other – you could base some of their traits on people you know.
  3. Make sure the story affects their emotions – have them become happy, sad, angry, scared, frustrated etc. This affects your reader’s emotions.
  4. Have them struggle – don’t make it easy for them, it makes the solution to the problem all the more important.

Setting or Location

  1. Describe the surroundings where your story takes place well enough to make them clear to reader, but not so much that they forget the story and lose interest.
  2. It is easier to describe somewhere you know well.
  3. If you are stuck for a way to describe your location, imagine describing a film to a friend – how would you explain where it took place, and how it looked?
  4. Does your location affect the plot? It is often better if it does have some effect on the story.


  1. Structure your story- have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  2. Start with something that grabs your reader’s attention.
  3. Have suspense through the story – your characters should always be at risk of losing

Remember, there is no real way of teaching writing; everybody learns to write by writing. You are expressing what is in your head, and only you know what’s in there. So pick up your pen, or sit down at your keyboard, and get on with it!