Plot Vs Story

James_Bond_(Pierce_Brosnan)_-_ProfilePlot versus story? I have to be honest, I thought they were the same thing. I was listening to an instructor this week who set me straight. They are not, and both components are necessary for a successful novel.

The Plot is the physical journey your character takes. It’s the action, the conflict, the spine of the novel. You can restate the plot by asking yourself what happened. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

The Story is the emotional journey. It’s everything the character experiences and how they experience it. Its what’s going on in the character’s head in reaction to what’s happening around them.

If you want a great novel, you have to have both. If the story (emotional journey) is missing, the reader will not be able to connect with the characters and understand their motivations. They will simply be placed in one thrilling scene after another.

If the plot is missing, there will be too much emotion and not enough action. Your characters will get bogged down in the muck and your reader will become frustrated.

A great example of plot vs. story was shared by an instructor of a course I have been taking. He was quick to point out that books are more story oriented than movies because you can get into your characters’ heads. He chose to use movies for his example because more people would be familiar with what he presented.

James Bond films, especially the older ones, are long on action/plot with only a touch of emotion.

The Twilight Trilogy is steeped in atmosphere and internal battles. The trilogy is story/emotion heavy with less plot.

Harry Potter is a great representation of balance. There is a lot of action combined with an emotional journey that transforms Harry into the Wizard he is destined to become.

Plot and Story work together. Plot causes a reaction in the character (story), and this reaction leads to further action (plot).

Hope I didn’t confuse you. My intention as always is to give you something to think about and hopefully help you along the way to becoming published.

-Jan R


Plot Vs Story

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