There are many elements that make up a good story. Often, it is said a good story must have conflict. That doesn’t always hold true, however, it is likely 98 % so. Good stories are what stays with the reader.
First, the writer must believe in the story. Before it can move others, it must move the writer. When the writer believes in the story, other things happen. The writer says to himself, how can I get others to believe in my story?
Subtleties of emotions take over. Suddenly a word or phrase is added, never realized before. It comes from an emotional place the writer may not have known existed. And the beauty of this is that it will find others who will experience that same emotional connection.
Many poems do not have conflict, yet tell a compelling and good story. Indeed, conflict is a device that may be the thread that holds the story together, but it need not dominate every page. Some parts of a story are relaxing interludes to beefier parts of the overall story and may stand on their own.
A way of looking at this is that a novel, for example, is like long trip; half the fun is getting there. On the trip, one must stop for gas, meals, use the bathrooms, or just sightsee. You have to slow down when making curves and speed up when on straight flat surfaces, however always proceed cautiously.
A good story only needs enough words to accomplish the objective. A reader will always know when you are wasting their time. Thus it is important to gain the trust of the reader early so they will stay with you during interludes.
A word about the interludes; that is where the best writing must occur. It is not the place for flowery gobbledygook. It is the place for honest and well-crafted thought.
What is a good story? Simply, something that touches the reader. Is that all there is to a good story? Obviously not, however, what is offered here is a starting point.