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Literature 101 – The elements that make a story

As with painting and song, there is an art to masterful literature. Often, the struggle of a writer lies in how to start off the story the proper way. In this blog, you will have an insight into some key elements that make a story, aimed for a better understanding which hopefully leads to a methodical approach in writing. John Eilermann St. Louis .

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1. Protagonist
The protagonist is the lead character of the story. Typically, the protagonist has inward and outward goals that the audience is aware of. This is the character whose side the audience will take, by way of empathy and understanding. Also, it is important that this character has flaws to make him relatable. A great story is usually one with an interesting protagonist. John Eilermann St. Louis

2. Conflict
It is important for the lead character to undergo some form of transformation in order for him to become more appealing. Nothing does this better than a conflict that the character tries to address with a resolution, which makes the story a success. Conflict can come internally with the character, or externally, in the form of factors outside the character’s head. This could be challenging situations, obstacles, and even other characters. John Eilermann St. Louis .

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3. Inciting Action
An inciting action is an event in the story that spurs all of the characters into motion. This typically develops early on, not later than the first two or three chapters of your story. The inciting action is what leads the character to actualize the series of choices that he will be making, which will develop his character along the way until the climax of the story. John Eilermann St. Louis

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Maxwell Perkins: The celebrated editor of great literary talent

Learning from the best — John Eilermann St. Louis

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Submitting a manuscript to an editor can be a scary experience, especially for young writers. However, it’s a necessary step toward improving one’s craft. Even the greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe were discovered by an editor. Maxwell Perkins of Charles Scribner’s Sons became known in the literary world as a discoverer of great talent. Under his care, many of the authors that people look up to were able to produce their greatest work.

An advocate and mentor — John Eilermann St. Louis

Unlike other editors, Perkins wasn’t the type who would rewrite the author’s work or impose his own ideas. Though there were times when he would get technical, he helped authors flesh out their stories and their characters more. The writing process can be exhausting for authors, but having an editor that acts as an advocate and a mentor is a gift.

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A legend indeed — John Eilermann St. Louis

Throughout his career, Perkins fully believed that the book belongs to the author. Though this meant staying in the shadows while his discoveries enjoyed the spotlight, the renowned editor became somewhat of a legend among aspiring writers during his time.

Not a lot of people know about Maxwell Perkins. But millions know about the writers he discovered and the impact their works had on their lives. John Eilermann St. Louis.

 

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Writers are made, not born

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Even today, many people still have the misconception that writing takes innate talent, that the ability to write good literature is a gift. But it’s not as though celebrated authors had nursed their would-be infamous poems and novels since they were born and just one day up and decided to write them down. It’s time we bust this myth of the born writer.

Firstly, writing takes experience. No one can write good stories, novels, essays, and poems without developing the sensibility to do so. It takes other-ness, lots of observation, studying contexts, and maturity to furrow the language or mine it for literary use. In other words, passion or skill or interest is not enough.

It’s not a simple case of sentence construction or subject-verb agreement; no one just has the knack for it. After all, we’ve to rise above the so-called cliché. Factors such as where one grows up, the availability of books, finding pleasure in reading, and devoting oneself to the craft help writers in both developing their works, literary or not.

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One doesn’t find a prodigy at, say, eight years of age writing profound essays and poems and novels. While talent can more easily be displayed with kids involved in other arts like dancing, playing the piano, or singing, it is simply not the same with writing. Thus, the serious writer should be able show others their work and take criticism. Almost always, the self-proclaimed writer is not yet a writer. Often it takes years or decades of validation, confirmation, and well, critically acclaimed actual books (not necessarily bestsellers, too) to truly make it.

Hi, there. My name is John Eilermann, a college student currently pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. Some of my favorite writers are Roald Dahl, C.S Lewis, Ned Vizzini, and Jonathan Franzen. More on my interests and hobbies here.