I was reading your comments on Stephen's work and a question occurred to me.
You described the story-worthy problem as the "spine" of the novel. I know I overdid it with the eyes stuff in my last attempt, but how often should the writer be reminding the reader of the SWP after the inciting incident? I'm guessing it's not nearly as much as the character's surface desire. When I was in inciting incident hell you referred me to Allan Leverone's novel PASKAGANKEE, and it was extremely helpful seeing how the SWP (redemption for guilt) was just hinted at in the beginning, but the character's surface desire (to find the killer) was always on the page in some form or another. As surface problem and SWP are joined at the hip, does the character remind the reader of the SWP simply by striving to solve the surface problem, or should there be some more direct attention called to the SWP so the "spine" of the novel is always visible.