what is in a story
One interesting fact is that since I started blogging, I’ve also been reading more blogs. I’m not good at finding them but when I find one that I pretty much like, I end up reading it off and on. It’s like a little world of mine on the internet where I can be a little braver than I am in real life. (Introverts tend to be braver on the internet; did you know that?)
Anyway, the question came from Cassandra Jade about what is the most important element in a story. I bounced between characters, because characters that you cannot click with are just bad, and plot, because a good plot might make up for bad characters and support the characters. And I found out last night I’m wrong. The answer is tension.
Tension can come from the plot and events or from the characters and their relationships. It moves the plot forward, while keeping it interesting and exciting so that hardly anyone wants to put down the story. Always, the reader will be asking the question of, “What about this? How does this fit in? How can he get away with this?” Because of these questions, he will keep reading.
When tension is added between characters, it creates arguments, distractions, and complications. Two stick figures can work as a team but what happens if one of the team members wants the other one dead because the latter flirted with the former’s sister? What happens if one of the team members is on this team because his brother died from it? Tension adds to characters just as much as it adds to plot.
The only sad thing is how difficult it is to create good tension in a story, especially in the plot. Out of all the other elements, tension is probably the hardest one to master but I think it is probably the most rewarding.
Now I just have to decide if I’m going to send my answer to her by the end of the day.