1st: WORLD plot
2nd: EMOTIONAL plot
And I feel this is the golden ticket. These are the character-based books, but I think it goes further than simply the character. The emotional plot does not solely impact your characters; it impacts your readers. It’s gut wrenching, tear jerking, belly laughing to the point that the story literally becomes about the emotional journey your characters take. I believe TWILIGHT is an example of an emotional plot, and that’s why it was so successful.
I read a new release recently that I loved, but ultimately it left me wanting for more. I couldn’t pinpoint the issue. The prose was beautiful; the characters real, but still something…felt off. I now believe that missing element is the emotional journey. And I believe if we can tie our readers to our story emotionally, well, all I can say is watch out world! :)