The central character must want something. They have a goal to achieve.
What are the stakes? They must be important to the main character.
Conflict -- As the story progresses, make things worse for the protagonist.
Take them out of their comfort zone.
How does the ending play out? Make sure it's an emotional ending and satisfying to the audience. Chances are the audience will remember the ending if it's good.
What's the central idea that holds the story together?
Who's story is this?
What do they want?
Why can't they have it?
What do they need in order to understand?
What does the protagonist get at the end that they did not have at the start?
10 things that can go wrong while writing a story.
- VEERING -- Sliding off course -- the story goes off on a tangent
- NOTHING HAPPENS -- Imagine if you are the reader. You need to capture their attention as soon as possible and keep them glued to the page.
- WHO'S THE PROTAGONIST? WHO ARE WE FOLLOWING?
- NOBODY WANTS ANYTHING? -- Instead of proactive characters, we have a bunch of characters reacting to the situation. This is very boring. Make sure your characters, especially the main protagonist is ACTIVE rather than REACTIVE.
- LACK OF CONFLICT -- everyone gets along. Look at LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE ( if you haven't watched it, I suggest you watch it and read the screenplay) -- if the family all got along in that -- it would make for a very boring movie.
- LEAVING PARTS OF THE STORY OFF THE PAGE -- sometimes you'll have characters mention things that happened rather than showing them. Sometimes it's better to SHOW rather than TELL. It also adds more flavor and depth to the story.
- PLOT, BUT NO STORY. Make sure you have INTERNAL and EXTERNAL GOALS for your protagonist.
- THIRTY PAGES IN -- still nothing happening.
- ENACTING NOT DRAMATIZES
- STORY SEARCHING FOR MEANING -- what's the protagonist's internal goal?