For some reason it’s really hard to look for it.
When I’m slowly going through a story at my own pace, I can for sure make out elements and the way they affect the overarching plot, but it’s difficult for me to see the bigger picture of that. How do all those elements tie together to make a cohesive, interesting experience? What part of this makes the story work, what’s the biggest driving factor for the characters and point of intrigue for the readers?
I think this is a pretty big key I’m missing out on. It’s obviously not something as important for short stories, but it still needs to be there. I can have a theme and some hints at a setting, but no framework to support it so it just kind of hangs there, flat and really “oh so you want to get a message across?”
Like anything striving to walk upright, a story needs a backbone of sorts.