All great books are about the quest. What does the main character (MC) want? Desire is what propels the MC to step out of their comfort zone and dare to do something different.
If Frodo and Samwise didn’t long for adventure, then The Lord of the Rings wouldn’t exist…or would have been a vastly different book. Had Katniss Everdeen been content to allow her little sister to compete in The Hunger Games, odds are pretty good a) it would have been a very short and depressing tale and b) Panem’s Capitol would have been left to continue slaughter for entertainment.
The thing about the quest is that most people long for it. It’s wired into the construct of what it means to be human. Maybe we aren’t daring enough to set out on our own adventure, but we LOVE to experience adventure all the same.
Obviously, there are countless odysseys we can ONLY experience via story. The only way I can ever “live vicariously” as a spy, wizard, vampire, Navy SEAL, etc. is through the lens of others. I can’t travel in space or back through time (as tempting as that high school reboot might be).
Story, then, is my passport into experiences and places that would otherwise be off limits.
Last time, we talked about character development in my post, How Story Forges & Refines Characters. We can conjure a main character in our minds, but the story…the quest ultimately is what adds depth, dimension and resonance.