How important is story in a novel?
We should begin by clarifying what is meant by the term "story". The characters act and are acted upon by the mise-en-scene, the other characters, and so forth; the plot is the narrative progression of events. The "story " is the combination of the two--the narration of events along with the revealing and progress of the characters through the fictive time and circumstances. in a simple story like "Goldilocks" the story is all there is, but in a novel, ideally, the story embodies aesthetic, philosophical, even spiritual thought and feelings of the author. So while on the surface, Moby Dick is a story about a sea captain's hunt for a whale, the novel uses this story to convey a compex reading experience. in many respects, the more overwhelming the story, the less is the quality of the novel. A romance novel, for example, is all story, and very little else, while a great novel like Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game has an almost negligible story but is rich in ideas, style, philosophical ideas, etc.