However, there are certain things every story should have. I'm going to share them with you by linking to some of my favorite posts about them.
The 5 Essential Story Ingredients--Totally different from what I'm listing below. Great post though on how to help keep your reader engaged in the story.
A complete structure (plot)--you know, a beginning, middle and end and all the stuff that keeps the story moving? This link takes you to another page with links. Links to a powerpoint, a youtube presentation, etc. Definitely worth your time! Especially if you're a visual audio learner. :)
How to Build a Story
Characters. These characters don't have to be human. They can be animals or even a planet. I read one book where the people didn't make any sense to me and kept getting in the way of the real star of the show--the world.
7 Common character types
How to Craft Compelling Characters
How to Create a Character Profile
Setting that pulls you in and helps you understand the world and how the characters relate to it.
The Basic Elements of Setting in a Story
How to Employ All 5 Senses in Creating Your Setting
Writing Dynamic Settings
Suspense and Tension. Yeah, it's not just for mysteries or FBI thrillers.
6 Secrets to Creating and Sustaining Suspense
41 Ways to Create and Heighten Suspense There is so much good info in here!
Conflict--yes, this is different from suspense and tension. They are closely related, but different.
The Secret to Creating Conflict
External Conflict Vs. Internal Conflict
7 Types of Narrative Conflict--just in case you've forgotten.
What have I missed?