In the second lesson from Brandons Sandersons 2014 class he takes on the important factor of conflict. With plot, character and environment you can make a story feel real. Without conflict you get nowhere. He goes through plot, character and environment and how they affect conflict.
“Conflict is what holds everything together”
Story is when a character want something but can’t get it. That’s also conflict.
What is it about. Some genres have loose formulas. Others are more open but you have to have an idea of what you want.
Character need to have two of three traits. Sympathetic, want to protag and competent. A sympathetic character usually have something happen to them (Bilbo Baggins) or they do something nice to make them likable. Wanting to protag means that the character wants to confront the dark lord (Harry Potter) or at least actively go after their goal. A competent character knows what they are doing (James Bond).
Example: 2 of 3 means that a character can be competent and sympathetic but don’t want to protag.
What are different from our world. Is there magic? Are the gender roles reversed? Something should be different.
You should tie in plot, character and setting in the beginning as hooks for the reader. What’s special about each one. At minimum 1 of each but character should have 2.