Every good story has three core elements. When they are woven together wisely, you don’t notice any of the seams, you become invested in the story, and you begin to forget about life’s worries and frustrations.

Plot is the first element. It’s the events of the story, all the trials and tribulations, a hero must go through to get what he wants.

The second element: character, how do these events change him internally, and adjust his course of action, in a cause and effect way. Through experiencing setbacks, our hero is forced to learn something and try to do better the next time. He’ll fail again, try again, and fail again — repeatedly, each time growing a tiny bit.

As an author, the first challenge is weaving these two together in an interesting yet realistic way from start to finish. Each scene should have a tribulation which leads to a realization and a new path —- which leads directly into the next scene.

The third element is what separates authors from writers: theme. Within the story, this is the common element in all of the scenes, the element which unites them and holds the story together.

How is this related to life? Plot is the external, the body. Character is the internal, the mind. So that makes theme the soul, the soul of the story. I think this is a useful analogy that I want to explore further.