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An interesting premise.

Believable characters

A world I recognise & can relate to (I'm not a great sci-fi fan but love stuff like The Handmaiden's Tale, The Discworld series)

An emotional impact - I like stories that pull at my heart strings.

Stories where the internal conflict is mirrored by the physical story. 

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I'm not sure I get the question, but I know the shortest explanation for what makes a good story is something like this:

 

Something happens that is so bad, it kicks the protagonist out of normal life. Every attempt to fix it goes awry leading to the climax, and then the protagonist establishes a new-normal life.

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I'm not sure I know exactly what you're asking, but I think that the best stories have:

A fairly obvious plot

Good conversations

Some humor and a little bit of fun

A couple plot twists

An OH NO inducing chapter

And either the good guys win, or it has a good lead on to a second book

 

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Hmmm...For me, I'd say:

 

*Good title first of all; otherwise, what's the point of reading it?

 

*Strong Christian morals/values that coincide with what the Bible says and aren't watered down/barely mentioned at all; I will, obviously, read books that don't have these, but I'm interested in ones that do

 

*Good plot--concise and thorough; not lacking (no plot holes especially...ugh!)

 

*Enough research done if the story's set in historic times or has information that definitely needs research about; however, the book doesn't need to be like a lecture or a school textbook...please.

 

*Good scenarios--appropriate plot twists, good storyline that leads all the way to the climax

 

*Realistic characters--Give me characters with relatable flaws, pains, sufferings, etc. Give me characters that have similar problems/issues that society has today. Even if it's a book that's more mystery-related or whatever, at least give them a couple of flaws that make them seem human despite their fame or place in society. Don't give me characters that live happily-ever-after lives all the time; that's just fluff. (Unless it's for kids; then that would be acceptable. lol)

 

*And, most importantly, everything and everyone has a role. Seriously, it's kinda sad when the author puts in a character that's only mentioned a few times and never shows up again. I can think of one book in which the MC was able to help someone about to go through a similar situation that she had just gone through, yet that character was mentioned towards the near end of the book and never was mentioned again. (She might be mentioned in the third book of the series and I just haven't read it...lol.)

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My elements are:

 

1) The story has to have a message.

 

2) The message cannot be "corporations are evil," and "Christianity, bad!"  These are not only offensive, but mind-numbingly unoriginal.

 

3) Commentary has to be subtle.  No, "Well, Bob, as you already know..." segue ways into backstory.  Nothing beating you over the head with the message.

 

4) Decent characters and variety.

 

5) Characters whose personality and motivations are peeled back like the layers of an onion through the entire book.

 

6) Plot twists that are well seeded, but still unexpected.

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- character development

- good message or moral of the story

 

Without character development, the story will read flat to me and relatively unrelatable.

Without a good message behind it, I won't care much for the story, no matter how well written. 

 

Formatting, presentation, grammar, tone, etc... all those are secondary (though they are important). 

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