Character building is essential for telling stories that readers a) can’t put down and b) will never forget. Why am I now talking about character building, since I know I have a reputation for focusing a lot of blogs and classes on story structure?
Stories, like other complex creations, are comprised of multiple parts. If we build a car, the body of the actual vehicle is essential. Everything else will attach to that frame, either inside or outside.
Regardless how innovative and imaginative the frame, I’d argue the engine is a pretty big deal or we’re left with a very large and expensive paperweight, doorstop, or garden planter.
When it comes to designing a car, we won’t get too far without wheels, and brakes might be a good idea as well. Yet, choosing a leather interior or cloth or what color the car might be? Not high on the priorities about making the car actually WORK.
Structure is the delivery system/engine of story. If we keep starting, stopping, flashing back, including too many POVs that aren’t salient to the overall tale? The reader is likely to finally get frustrated and give up.
While structure might be the engine, is it driving anything (plot problem) or anyone (characters) interesting?