So Aristotle wrote a treatise on dramatic theory. In this he lists 4 elements which are considered essential to story telling. 1. Plot, 2. Character, 3. Thought, 4. Diction.
Compare these to a book I have recently read to compare the 4 elements.
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. Book 7 in the Throne of Glass series.
The books are a main plot with well woven subplots. I think the main plot throughout is overcoming the monster (as defined by C. Booker in The seven basic plots). The story is set over a 7 book epic, viewed through the characters. The incredible character development begins with a rags to riches story which develops into an overcoming the monsters plot. The book is from the fantasy genre and the universe is well written.
If I had to pick a main element, I say it was characters. They are so well rounded and the story is told through their journeys. Each book often skipping between different characters to increase their development.
I don’t know what Aristotle meant by Thought and Diction. So I need to research that further.
So after a google search I think it means: Thought: I think it means WHY the characters are saying and doing what they’re doing. With Diction being the HOW they are saying and doing it? So Thought = Theory; Diction = Practice?
Still not completely sure, but then as Aristotle didn’t actually print/publish/write anything and it’s all from notes from lectures, it’s still only students’ interpretations of what he was saying.