For me, a good story must have compelling characters and a realistic story line.
Most authors are taught about GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) but as a reader, I don't analyze those things. When I read, I read for pleasure and I want a story - Period.
The basic ingredients depends on what type of a story. If I'm doing a news story, then I do research, do interviews, call people linked to the story and get more information than what I need before I start writing. I always figure out the angle before starting.
If I'm doing a work of fiction the first thing I must figure is the plot. Depending on the work , the nature of it, etc., I may do research on that as well, I get an abundance of information , more than I actually need, then I start.
The ingredients, every story needs an angle, every story needs a plot, much as with a news story one has to have the who, what, where, when, etc. There's no getting out of it. If one is writing a suspense story then there must be an element of suspense that is the key ingredient. If one is writing a love story, then there must be love buried somewhere in there to keep the reader's mind going. One has to keep the reader's interest or else.
Alcohol and just a touch of lemon.
I joke. I don't drink when I write, myself. And I don't plot a story out. I'm like a mad chef who just starts hurling ingredients into a pot to see what might develop. Of course, you need strong characters and something for them to do. I like a plot that will engage the readers. Once that gets going, all of the essentials: conflict, climax, resolution, etc. seem to take care of themselves.
A bit of whimsy that appeals to a child's mind.
Characterization is the most crucial part of a story I think. If the reader can't identify with them somehow, they aren't going to care about the story very much. How can they?
I think a good story requires a strong, catchy opening and enough detail to keep the reader interested but it must also have a good conclusion.
What does it take to keep a reader hooked?
There are three: Conflict, conflict, comflict.
The basic ingredients of a story include: believable characters and a hook opening that keeps the reader turning the pages. I believe dialogue is oftentimes more important that descriptive prose.
If it comes from the heart, it will be good. I think people who force themselves to write stories end up with 'formula' books that grow stale very fast.
A good idea, interesting characters (with at least one that we can empathize with and care about), a compelling plot, a bit of mystery concerning the challenges & outcome. Of course, a good command of grammar, spelling, and structure are mandatory foundation. Without them, the best ideas and and most wonderful characters can fall flat.
I think the basic ingredients of a story are the plot, the characters, the theme and the point of view. Under the subject of plot, we can talk about: background, setting, suspense, surpirise, conflict, complication, climax and resolution. Under the subject of character, we can talk about major, minor, round, flat and stereotypical characters; under the subject of theme, we can talk of universal and peripheral themes, and under the subject of point of view, we can talk of first-person, omniscient, and limited points of view.
Great dialogue and pacing. Dialogue makes the reader like, or dislike, the characters which is very important. Without them, the reader could care less about the book.
Pacing is important because many books go into too much detail about one part. It drags the book down and should have been cleaned up in the editing process.
The hook. The storyline. The hook. The characters. The hook.
If you don't hook the editor first, no one else will ever see your work. If you don't hook your readers, you won't keep them. But to have a good hook, you have to have a good story. Twists and turns, surprises, red herrings, characters you love, or love to hate have to blend together to flow into a story a reader doesn't want to put down or to ever end.