A friend asked me “What do you expect in a story line?” I could not explain what my expectations were, although in my mind, my answers were under process. I would answer that I had no particular expectations in a story line, or I would like a movie, TV series or a book whenever I felt like it. With my mind under process, I constantly knew my expectations in a good story line. The following are the ingredients that makes a plot worth appreciating.
*A deep and original plot.
The plot must also be well-distinguished and should not be easily imitated by any author/producer.
*Action, drama, comedy, thriller, and sometimes gore, and supernatural elements rolled into one.
These elements add flavor to a so-called unique and well-developed story line, which makes it more enjoyable to tune into.
*The presence of psychological and philosophical aspects.
It is true that some (even many) are already satisfied with books, films and TV series that are produced only for pure entertainment. I am one of the people who is not merely satisfied with entertaining oneself but is rather obsessed with story lines providing messages to the audience. The psychological and philosophical aspects (not necessarily the Voltaire, Rousseau or Plato kind of philosophy. As long as the story makes the audience think, it will be fine.) are what makes the story line deeper, enhancing enough to develop the audience’s critical thinking. I would prefer a story line that makes the audience think, making them reflect about life and teaching them the most important lessons in life. But I would also consider such story lines that are enjoyable.
*A good and realistic twist – not the shallow and unlikely-to-happen kind of twist.
*Excellent character development – wherein a character in the story is given particular attributes (bio data, personality, talents, hobbies & interests..) as if it was a real-life person.
*Plot coherence – meaning to say that the plot should be realistic.
This is not a question of including supernatural elements but rather on whether a certain circumstance is likely to happen if it were to occur in the real world. Examples of realistic elements in the story are a military environment that is as strict as in the real world, the training of soldiers that is as intensive and takes as long and a reconciliation between long-time frenemies (friends turned into mortal enemies or rival siblings) that does not happen in a day. Should the story be fantasy or real-life based, including such elements are what makes the plot believable.
*A concrete progression of the plot.
The progression must be felt by the audience as to determine whether a certain film or book has a story line. It would be perceived as random otherwise, filled with unconnected scenes that does not build a plot (thus, a film or a book with no story line).
*An outstanding art and animation – for cartoons, anime, other animated works and movies with animated scenes.
*An attractive yet realistic special effects – especially for action, fantasy, horror, and animated films and series.
Exaggerated special effects (or special effects that has nothing to do with the story line concept and is considered unnecessary) are seen as unrealistic.
*And finally, a good overall audience impact (and enjoyment).
The most important ingredient in creating a good story line. An element wherein the audience is so much hooked to a certain show that will not make him or her leave the chair until the entire series is finished. An element wherein the audience will suffer from post-series (movie, book..) depression that will provide difficulty for him or her to move on, or do other things. An element wherein those sad dramatic scenes will actually make the audience cry. An element wherein the fight action scenes will make the audience feel he or she is actually watching a live battle match, or those comedic acts that provoke laughter throughout the theater. An element wherein blood is actually feared with passion, or those gore, horror, suspense, dark psychological thriller, fantasy and supernatural aspects actually create fear and air of mystery and suspense. An element where murderous acts provoke feelings to the audience as though real murders are committed or murder investigations that makes the audience part of the detective team. An element wherein the lighthearted comedies warm the audience hearts or romantic scenes that give chills of love. In short, an element wherein the story actually moves the audience. Otherwise, there is no impact.
Examples of works with good story lines are as follows. The shown examples may contain spoilers.