- Story — an account of an event or a series of events.
- Fictional — describing imaginary people or events.
- Literary — writing that is important and memorable with permanent artistic value.
Literary story is imagined; it is not a memoir that tells a happening that the narrator knows occurred or has experienced. Although a real happening can stimulate the imagination for the basis of a literary story, to present a memoir story as a fictional story loses the potential of imagination-based creative elements. Imagination allows growth of characterization, motivation, setting, and provides a special memorable experience for the reader.
Structure and theme
The author of literary fiction explores the imagination for just the right story elements to describe an event in a series of scenes. The author then structures the story and establishes a thematic goal that will influence character and plot development.
Characters of the literary story must be interesting, be complex and developed, and contribute to the story with author-controlled prioritization. The author creates each character’s emotional story arc to fit in with motivations and actions of all characters, and to contribute to plot momentum. The characters in a literary story are unique, yet they are not bizarre. They have heroic characteristics, but they are not superheroes with powers beyond the limits of human expectation. In good stories, the reader has thorough knowledge of who the characters are and why they do what they do. The reader follows a progressive unity and focus of the story, and the development of characters is always consistent with story conflict-resolution. In essence, story resolution must be in accord with everything the characters have done in the story. That is the essence of storytelling.
A literary story has a character driven plot with carefully developed and sequenced motivations that is presented through scenes structured with conflict, action and resolution, and results in sufficient reader emotional involvement to cause (1) enlightenment or (2) reversal of thinking. Successful storytelling depends on the author’s personal traits, beliefs and opinions. But the author is not part of the story. A literary story demands an author’s willingness to imagine the most effective characterization and plot motives to assure story momentum and to achieve reader delight.