Every story needs to have a noble quest for the character to succeed. That quest might be to save the world or to find love. Whatever it is, it is essential to the story. These are the elements every noble quest needs.
Normal Life: The story starts with the character living a normal life, but with the understanding that something is about to change. This is the shortest part of your story, sometimes only a sentence or paragraph, never more than a scene or chapter.
Inciting Incident: The inciting incident is something that happens to upset the main characters world. This needs to happen by the end of the first chapter.
Decision: This is the decision the character makes to leave status quo and go on the story’s journey. This is where you make it clear what the character’s goal is. What does the character want?
Conflict: This is the main part of the story. The character moves toward his goal. Something happens to keep him from his goal. He reacts. Because of his reaction, something else happens. Everything that happens should move the character toward his goal, and at the same time, block him from achieving it.
Fork in the Road: This is about 3/4 of the way through the novel. The character has gone on this journey and grown through it, but if he continues, he risks everything. This is the point of no return, the decision the character must make to risk everything to finish the journey. The stakes here have to be high.
All is lost: The character has made the decision to carry on and faces his biggest challenge. This is the climax where it looks like all is lost.
Epiphany: At this point, the character changes in a fundamental way or has an epiphany that carries him through to the end.
Satisfying Ending: All is set right in the world, or at least, or if it can’t be set right, there is a satisfying conclusion. The character’s life goes on with a new normal because of the journey.