The basic ingredients of a story are a gripping plot, characters that the readers can identify with, lots and lots of dialogue between the characters, and plot twists that make the reader want to keep turning the pages. Adding elements that challenge conventional thinking and allow the reader to leave their own world and step into one I've created make the books more than something to read: they become an escape for the reader.
Structure, viewpoint, conflict, resolution.
Memorable characters, explosive action, a good plot, an unexpected twist and a terrific ending.
The journey of human, flawed, multi-dimensional characters; the struggle to grow, to change, to overcome; the power to engage the reader in the outcome.
Character, a beginning, middle and end, not necessarily in that order.
Characters, plotline, dialogue, action, setting; in that order!
Character, emotion, depth, the central issue that changes a life - I can always tell a writer is filling in the blanks if the dimensions of a character is not fully rounded.
Something that gets the reader to turn the page with passion. I've read many books that were very unusual in format, such as alternating narration of chapters. And many, many more that were quite "regular." But for me to read it, I have to want to know what happens next or be intrigued by what a character is thinking. Obviously plot and character . . . I'm very impressed with beautiful writing. Lawrence Durrell comes to mind. Or Hemingway. But I'm also taken with character development, like "Hotel Paradise." "The Life of Pi" is a gorgeous book, so daring.
A good hook at the beginning, an outstanding middle, and a great ending.
Character and time. I used to say "conflict" but that comes with character.
The basic ingredients of a good story are interesting characters, that take us to a place that we don't suspect.
To me, the most basic ingredients of a story are characters and events. You have to have characters that are diverse with their own strengths, weaknesses, passions, and fears. After that, you have to have these characters getting into stuff. A story should always try to offer characters that readers can love or hate, plus the story should place these characters into a world where there's always something to do. For lack of a better term, being a writer is a lot like being a god of a made up world. You create everyone and everything that exists within, and though you may have plans for these creations you'll find that they don't always end up doing what you would want or expect. Sometimes, the story you are in charge of will develop a mind of its own and you'll just be following to see where things end up. For me writing is all about breathing life into something that didn't exist before you came along, and something that could still exist long after you're gone.
Intrigue, action and great writing are all the best ingredients. Only because every writer is different in their writing styles.
Love, passion, desire and of course conflict that keeps the love from occurring at first.
Characters drive the story. Well fleshed out and loved by the author. If the author isn't affected by the character's actions, emotions, etc, the reader won't be.