We explain what story is and its general characteristics. In addition, how is its structure and the elements that this narrative presents.

What is a Story?

Story: Definition, Elements, Structure and Characteristics

A story is  the narration of an imaginary story that may or may not be based on real events. It can be manifested in writing or orally. The word story comes from Latin and means "to tell."

The story is one of the narrative genres, such as the novel or the chronicle, and is made up of subgenres such as science fiction, adventure, fantasy, horror, among others. It is distinguished from the novel by its shorter length.

It is a great teaching method and a valuable pedagogical tool, since the story allows to expand vocabulary, stimulate imagination and improve the oral expression of the reader, during any stage of life and, especially, during childhood.

Characteristics of the story

Characteristics of the story

Among the main characteristics of a story, the following stand out:

  • It can be narrated in the first, second or third person.
  • Unlike the novel, it is a short story with a simple plot and few characters.
  • It maintains the same structure as a novel: it has an introduction, a middle and a denouement.
  • Cause emotions in the reader or listener, quickly.
  • It can cover an infinite number of themes or sub-genres, such as fantastic, children's, police, realistic, comic, horror, fairy or mystery, among others.

There are two general types of stories, with their respective subgenres:

  • Folk tales: They are narratives transmitted through different generations and told with certain variations with respect to the original story. In many cases, the authors are unknown because, in the origins, the stories were narrated orally and there were no records of their creators. Some examples of folk tales are fables , myths, and legends.
  • The literary stories: They consist of carefully crafted narratives with a specific intention. They are the product of a rigorous work by the author, capable of creating a story with a particular climate, which generates emotions in a specific audience. For example, a story for children is not the same as one for adults .

Structure of the story

Structure of the story

A story is characterized by maintaining the following structure:

  • Introduction: Describe the setting and a short presentation of the characters. In addition, the type of evidence narrator and how the story will be told (if respects the time line or occurs timeless way).
  • Development or knot: It details the plot of the story, through the development of conflicts and the sequences of actions of the characters.
  • Denouement or end: It describes the resolution of conflicts and actions that took place during development, and can be considered as an open, tragic or happy ending, among others.

Story elements

Story elements

Every story has certain elements:

  • Characters: They are the ones who carry out the actions in the story and can be represented by people, animals, objects, among others. In addition, they are categorized as main characters (on whom the plot focuses), secondary (those who appear repeatedly) or tertiary (minor, who appear once or very few times).
  • The narrator: He is the one who reveals the story and all its details. You can tell the story in different ways, from the place of the protagonist (in the first person) or from an omniscient place (who knows every detail of what happened and narrates it objectively).
  • The actions: They are the events that all the characters carry out. They usually happen in a certain time and place, and they are the ones that give way to the story, from the entanglements to the unveiling of the story.
  • The atmosphere: It is the climate that history acquires, which can be one of tension, pleasure, fear, familiarity, among others. It is associated with the environment in which the actions occur and with the emotions that it can generate in the reader.
  • The time: It is the length of the story, which can be as little as a few hours, days, or years. In addition, the passage of time conditions or alters the role of the characters.


Anas is an editor of a prestigious publishing company in the United States. She studied Mathematics in Arizona. Anas is also a teacher and one of her long-term goals is to build an institution that offers free education to everyone who are financially not stable. .

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