storytelling is a way of life
By this, I'm not speaking of the Creator's Lifestyle, though that certainly is important too, but of the fundamental components of the creative process—and how each of them must live for the story, becoming one with the overall flow of the narrative—supporting it, not fighting against it.
They must not lose their way.
SERVING THE STORY
Quite the contrary. Sometimes it is the sense of awe that is invoked by having elements of your world just glimpsed out of the corner of your eye—and not becoming central to the narrative—that is just what the narrative itself needs.
Almost everything in storytelling is about setting things up and paying them off. Making promises, and fulfilling them. Like a gigantic Rube Goldberg machine, every piece (see above) comes in to play its part in the inexorable forward motion of the plot.
A blend of the familiar and the original
I remember one writer explaining the process of describing characters—that the inexperienced would spend time on what was most prevalent about a character. For example, that he wore khaki pants, a brow jacket…
None of these left an impression, but the story she always remembered was one where a character was described in such a way that his top lip was thinner than his lower one. This very unique detail let her hold on to remembering who the character was (gave her traction) … and traction is what invariably let the mechanism of the story carry her forward—giving her momentum to the end.