o Believable and Relevant Physical Setting
o Point of View
o Problem or Conflict Situation
o Dialogue (or Monologue or Thought)
o Relevant Physical Action
o Relevant, Original Descriptive Metaphor
From The Essence of Fiction: A Practical handbook for Successful Writing, by Malcolm McConnell (NY: Norton, 1986), p 37
Somewhere in any scene there must be dramatically revealed some aspect of the overall conflict of the story.
...I take this one step further. Fiction is never about people with no problem or conflict in their lives. At first examination, this may seem perverse, that literature, one of the most respected art forms of Western civilization, is entirely devoted to the negative aspects of life. Be that as it may, the fact remains, that all effective drama, on the stage or in the pages of a fictional work, involves characters faced with one kind of problem or another.
This central core of conflict, of course, does not necessarily mean that the writer must accentuate the negative side of life.