Story craft should always be about giving a better experience to your reader. Plot is a huge part of that, and effects a reader’s resonance with the story more than pretty much every other element aside from the characters themselves.
Every (novel length story) should have these basic plot points clearly established:
- Story Goal (the thing that drives the plot)
- Consequence (to not achieving the goal)
- Requirements (to achieve the goal)
- Forewarnings (pressure to achieve the goal)
- Costs (the more given up, the more the reader will root for the goal to be achieved)
- Dividends (what the character has learned through the process of trying to achieve their goal)
The goal does not have to be achieved at the end of a story – like in a Tragedy – it’s just the thing that drives the plot along. But the reader needs to know what it is, and the main character needs to be focused on it. They can get distracted by other things, and there might even be other, smaller goals that come up along the way, but the big Story Goal is the thing they always come back to.