Steven, I responded to your comments in thread #4 of this series, so going backward chronologically, but given your two posts, it would seem you and I are very much on the same page.
I have literally read scripts by writers whose ‘stories’ had nothing to them, no soul, no spice, nothing original, and frankly didn’t even work as a story. And had their response to my critique been to say, “But I have all 40 STC story beats!”
It’s such a reductive way of thinking about Story.
Here’s where I think the real problem lies: There is a kind of magic involved in the writing of any good script. And one can’t quantify magic. But one *can* quantify plot points, act breaks, etc. So the average Joe Aspiring Screenwriter, flummoxed by the vicissitudes of creative magic, will embrace *any* approach which claims to provide a quantifiable paradigm or process to writing a successful screenplay.
It reduces the creative act of writing to widgets.
“Purposeful structure” is an interesting counter-phrase and I like that because — to me — it suggests that the writer has engaged their characters in story prep because where does the purpose derive from? The characters and their goals.
Thanks again for your observations. Strong takes.