What are the things that grab your attention when reading a novel? Romance? Action? Mystery? Suspense? Perhaps your favourite genre doesn't lend itself to romance, but all novels have key ingredients and if you lack them your reader will soon get bored. It is part of your story arc and it is what will make or break your novel.
What are the elements of a good story arc? Pixar seems to have this down to a science and shared some secrets recently on how they did it. You can use their techniques with any genre of story. To put it simply it starts with:
The story as you know doesn't end there but has many more "arcs" (because of that's) that lead to more action and adventure for Harry. Until finally we come to the end of book one and discover . . .
The moral of the story . . . I know the first Harry Potter book had him solving a mystery that saved the school, but for the life of me I can't remember the moral of book one or rather the lesson learned. I think it has something to do with good conquering evil (since they all seemed to have that theme).
The point is, this is why Pixar has such huge success with their stories. They get the audience invested and involved in their characters. Then they create a situation the main character has no control over, which drives the story from there until it reaches a climax, where the character has to make a decision. The decision will either solve or drive the story further. You control that. Until you finally get to your ending. Basically, your story arc is six points that can drive the story forward and to a conclusion.