“The comparison between Dante [and Milton] may be misleading. Dante is telling the story of a spiritual pilgrimage – how one soul fared in is passage through the universe and how all may fear and hope to fare. Milton is giving us the story of the universe itself.”
C.S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), as found in Paradise Lost: Norton Critical Edition, edited by Gordon Teskey (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005), p.. 438.
This view of “universe” versus “journey” is an great way to view many stories, fiction or non-fictional. Particularly in Science Fiction and Fantasy, there is discussion of “world building” and how that balances with character development.