To present a story in terms of action means: to present it in terms of events.
A story in which nothing happens is not a story. A story whose events are
haphazard and accidental is either an inept conglomeration or, at best, a
chronicle, a memoir, a reportorial recording, not a novel.
A chronicle, real or invented, may possess certain values; but these values are
primarily informative—historical or sociological or psychological—not
primarily esthetic or literary; they are only partly literary. Since art is a
selective re-creation and since events are the building blocks of a novel, a
writer who fails to exercise selectivity in regard to events defaults on the
most important aspect of his art.