Characters that the reader can relate to, and feel pain and joy for, a good storyline that has a beginning, a middle and an end, and fast paced action.
Strong protagonist(s) and always a very bad villain.
A story has to have a purpose, a begining and an ending.
There also has to be a way of conveying all of this, and the mode of traversing it all is very important, as well as unique to the story that is being told.
Wether the book is fiction or non fiction does not matter, it must be engaging for the reader. The story must be interesting, taking the reader on a journey. I feel it is important for the reader to feel as if they were a part of the journey, and that they can feel, and in part relate to the story that is being told.
The most important ingredients for me are an interesting basic idea, strong, individual characters and a pleasing and individual writing style. If one or more of these should be absent, the story won't work for me. I would add a strong theme, but in my experience the theme appears by itself.
I think the basic ingredients of any good story is a cohesive plot, likeable characters, a villian, and interaction between the characters of the story. If the story jumps around all over the place it makes it hard for the reader to keep focused on what is going on. Every body likes a battle between good & evil, & people like to read about overcoming struggles in the everyday life as well as relationships & characters own internal struggles. Altogether I think it is a sense of relatability between the characters of the story & the readers.
Characters, circumstances, and the small things in between
The horror that sits deep in the human soul. I, a Ta'bah feed from the darkness of human kind, feed from the darkness of fear.
anything at all......if it moves the story and progresses......obviously in writing fiction really anything goes...... in writing non-fiction sticking to the facts is probably a ggod place to start......but again anything and everything should be used.
A beginning, a middle and an end.
Speedy and inevitable forward movement driving toward a series of escalating climaxes. It helps if the central character is somewhat likeable or at least fascinating to some degree.
Keep it pacy, interesting journeys and characters. The main protagonist must have a succession of attempts at learning lessons, failing, nearly succeeding etc. until finally the lesson is learnt. A couple of protagonists can have journeys but feel there must be one main one. The antagonists must not be too evil or bad and the story is much more interesting if there is a feeling of compassion for them, or at least we sense his/her/their humanity or vulnerability in some way.
I tell my writing students that the basic ingredients are a solid set of characters within a logically consistent story line with a dramatic central conflict and resulting in a satisfying resolution. However, in my own writing, I don't think I have any "basic" ingredients. The story tells itself, fills itself out, and then empties itself onto the page. Each story has its own "basic" ingredients, in other words.
|Technically, a story should have an introduction, a plot and a dénouement. But a technical account does not merit the paper it’s written on. To my way of thinking, literature should communicate ideas, points of view and feelings. While writing “Crooked,” the story of a lady astronaut compelled to steal a space shuttle to save her life, I held back very little.
Here are the basics for one of my books, "The Trail to Golgotha."
At age twelve, Joachim travels with his family to Urushalim to make a blood offering in Herod’s temple. In a city plaza, he witnesses a gory scuffle between Zealot insurgents and occupying Roman forces. Ushered into the civil government’s fortress, he’s questioned by the procurator and meets a young prostitute—they’ll run into each other again.
After this first outing, Joachim can’t stop thinking about the world beyond his village. At seventeen, he leaves home to work among the pagans of Caesarea Maritima; in the magnificent Roman port city, he learns Latin and falls in love with a married woman—fate will bring them together a second time.
Heartbroken, the handsome son of a Galilean carpenter moves on to practice his trade in the shipyards of Tyre. When he protests the sacrifice of infants to Baal, the Phoenician priests assault him and he must leave that city too.
Chatting about first principles with a young Greek philosopher, Joachim travels east along the Silk Road. In Bactria, he’s taught the story of Zarathustra by a prostitute and the tenets of Zoroastrianism by priests of the temple-of-fire. In the Punjab, he chances into the arms of a young widow who persuades him that life’s purpose is living and that no wisdom exists beyond happiness. When that spell is broken, he journeys across northern India, learning Buddha’s teachings.
At age thirty, Joachim returns to Palestine. A famous ascetic baptizes him in a river pond before he retires to meditate in the desert. In deprivation, he finds his high calling and proclaims victory over the devil. Soon after, he begins to preach in the fishing villages around Lake Tiberias. In due course, he and his followers will challenge the temple institution in Jerusalem.
The spiritual authorities are annoyed by Joachim’s defiance. Accordingly, they falsely accuse him of sedition before the Roman governor. With candor, Joachim faces his judges: an irritated religious council convicts him outright; to keep the peace, the governor is willing to let him die; the agnostic ethnarch of Galilee declares him insane. Yet, “the charmer” has transformed the thinking of many: the governor’s wife pleads Joachim’s innocence before her husband and the captain of the guard frowns on the ignoble sentence pronounced against him.
But Joachim’s “death” atop a Judean hillock is inevitable. Then, the disappearance of his body produces much speculation. Later, those touched by the carpenter turned prophet immortalize his doctrine and assist the birth of his legend.
I think that basic ingredients of a story are the characters, plot, scenery, era, feelings.
You need to have an idea to start with. Ideas are the basic foundations of your plot and without plot, you have nothing. From there, you should create your characters. Your protagonists, your antagonists, and some of your side characters. You can have the best plot in the history of fiction writing, but without likable, believable characters your story won't get very far.
Linked into your plot, you should have a setting. Whether that's a modern day city, futuristic space ship, or a fantasy world of your own creation, you need to know where your plot is taking place and what kind of environment your characters will be interacting with.
Of course, all of this means nothing without some kind of writing skill. The story should be as free as possible of typos and grammar mistakes (though they still happen from time to time, even in published works). The average reader should be able to understand what you're writing. Using big, fancy words is all well and good, but if readers have to have a dictionary beside them to understand what you're saying...they'll loose patience very quickly. An excess of large words will only get in the way of the story you're trying to tell.