by Ian McHugh (writing at ianmchugh.wordpress.com)
So, having an idea for a story and having a story are two different things. “Well, duh,” you might say. But the difference between the two isn’t just words.
Having a notion that the world is round is an idea. A story is like the ship you build to prove that idea. Like a ship, a story needs something to push it along, a method for navigating and steering it and a watertight structure to prevent it from sinking without trace into the dark and airless depths of crushing despair below. Like a ship, a story is a cohesive, complex, mechanical whole, the purpose of which is to deliver your idea to its destination (your readers). And like a ship, if any parts of the machine are poorly designed or constructed, your story will end up becalmed in the middle of nowhere, go off in the wrong direction or sink without trace into the dark and airless depths of etcetera.