Stories may differ in message, content and characters, but each one is required to have these 16 different elements. By the time you finish this article, you will be well equipped with a checklist that will be worth keeping – albeit, not necessarily written in the proper order.

·Your story must have a theme. It is the thread that runs seamlessly from beginning to end telling what the general story is about.

·It must also have a plot, which is usually encased in the central climax, or possibly in a series of events.

·All stories have an arc. This is the gradual increase of momentum and interest that builds at the beginning, reaches a fever pitch in the middle, and declines into resolutions of story conflicts at the end.

·Some stories move fast and some move slow, but all of them move at some rate of speed – usually a mixture of fast and slow. This is called pacing.

·Whether you do it mentally or by proper analysis, there is always some form of outlining that goes into storytelling.

·And all stories have resolutions at the end, which sum up all of the questions that have been raised during the story.

·Every story must begin with a good hook in the first paragraph, or you won't have a reader to worry about entertaining.

·All stories

are told from a point of view; either first person, second person, third person limited or third person omniscient. Right now, editors are mostly buying third person limited.

·Every story has to do with the characters, their problems, and how they resolve their problems.

·Stories also have that little thing where people talk to one another – dialog. The trick is to write dialog that actually sounds natural. Become a good eavesdropper and you write excellent dialog.

·Every story has characters, and each character comes with their own bag and baggage of physical descriptions, emotional hoopla, and psychological concoctions.

·It would be a challenge to write a story without some degree of research. Sometimes it is only defining how insane a person can be, how irate parents can be, or how irresponsible children can be – but it is research, nonetheless.

·There is always a timeline in every story. While some authors may dwell on the same scene for a whole chapter, others will skip years in a single sentence.

·All stories call for settings – and if you're really good at writing, but if you are really good at writing, you can call them imagery.

·And every story has verbiage – like it or not. Out of every 2,500 words, you can cut 300-500 words.

·Not all stories have show, don't tell, but they absolutely should. If I told you what show, don't tell is, I would only be telling and not showing, and that is against the rules. Therefore, it will have to wait for another article.

If you have included all of these things in your story, it may not be good, but it will certainly be complete.