Stories have to be told as two threads.
On the surface, stories seem to consist of just one thread. Words follow each other to form sentences, which follow each other to describe events. That's the obvious thread, the first thread, one event following another from beginning to end to create the plot.
That first thread, though, cannot stand alone. We've all read or watched or heard too many plots that tried to make do on their own, and the results are always bland and empty. No matter how clever a plot may be, it cannot satisfy us on its own. The characters won't interest us. The events won't matter to us. Soon after reading, we forget such plots because they aren't memorable; they don't seem to matter.
A subtle, invisible thread must be woven into the plot to make it come alive for us and stay with us. The author needs to choose the characters and events well to weave that second thread, so that hidden under the surface events of the plot will be a sequence of emotional and philosophical charges set off by those events.
This thread acts as a hidden harmony within the story. It is where we come to care about the characters, come to have expectations about what will happen to them. Those expectations make the events of the plot matter to us; they alternately reward and frustrate us as they occur so that we are emotionally and philosophically involved with the story until the end, and they're what make the ending matter to us.
It is the interplay between these two threads, the plot and its hidden harmony, that create a story. When a story fails to satisfy us, it's almost always because too much of the author's effort has gone into the plot and not enough into the story. When they're properly woven, though, there's something about stories that captures us heart and soul. We crave them as though our need for them were stamped into our blood and bone or written in our genes.
Maybe it is.