This is an outgrowth of the "why kill your darlings" thread. So many people say we must kill our darlings, and do various other things, because they get in the way of the "story." (What, exactly, is the "story," anyway?) I submit that there's more to a novel than its mere story. There's theme, atmosphere, depth of character, style (not merely the writer's choice of words, but the style of the writer's thought and the light it shines on the rest of the material), and so on. From where I sit, "story" is simply puppets enacting a plot, usually in the context of a strong three-act structure. For me, there are many reasons to read a good novel, and story is only one of them - perhaps not even the most important of them. For years, my signature on this forum has been "Don't bore the reader." Readers can be interested, fascinated, and entertained by all sorts of aspects of a novel, not just the story. Discuss!