Quick Links: What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

I admit that when I first looked at this post by Jami Gold, I was didn’t think there was going to be much I could get from it. But Jami goes deep. There is a very important difference between the story and the plot, and that difference is what makes a great story. Check out the post at jamigold.com and see if you agree.

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What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

I want a magic pen!
I want a magic pen!

by Jami Gold

May 3, 2016

When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about.

Believe me, I know. I have several query letter drafts that took that road to rejection. *smile*

Yet one complaint I’ve heard from agents over the years is that many queries are too “plotty.” What does that mean?

With few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.

For this post’s image above, the plot event would be: man lost in a desert. The story behind it would be: man struggles to survive.

What’s the difference? Stick with me and find out. *smile*

Nouns vs. Verbs

Which sounds stronger and evokes more emotion?

  • The sorority member stopped her luxury sports car in front of the three-story brownstone.
  • The woman screeched her car to a halt in front of the house.

For many of us, we’re going to say the second sentence sounds stronger. We get a sense of action and urgency, which are emotional concepts.

Now take a closer look at those two sentences. They’re essentially the same idea—a woman is parking in front of a house.

The difference is that the first sentence concentrates on precise nouns:

  • sorority member vs. woman
  • luxury sports car vs. car
  • three-story brownstone vs. house

The second sentence focuses on a strong verb:

  • screeched vs. stopped.

That example isn’t meant to imply that we shouldn’t use precise nouns. In fact, we should use precise nouns and strong verbs. Instead, the example shows how verbs are the part of speech that add action, emotion, and narrative drive to our story.

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If you liked this article, please share. If you have suggestions for further articles, articles you would like to submit, or just general comments, please contact me at paula@publetariat.com or leave a message below.

What Is A Story?

This post by David Baboulene originally appeared on his The Science of Story on 11/3/14.

When I first started my research degree in story theory, the thing that surprised me most was that there is no single definition for the term ‘story’. At least, not one that all the authorities agree, and certainly not one which would cover all the examples that you and I would intuitively agree are ‘stories’. 2,300 years since Aristotle and even the dictionary isn’t right.

Of course, like every other narratologist, I have come up with my own definition, but for this blog post, I won’t be trying to sell you that. I thought I would use this space to capture the top lines that most story boffins DO agree. The common elements that comprise the mainstream and which are useful to know if you are a writer of fiction. Please note the scope I’m setting. I’m not trying to include ‘the story of medicine’ or a poem or a recipe or an argument or the story of ‘last summer’ or Japanese Kishotenketsu conflict free narratives, or all the myriad other things that may or may not be stories. I’m talking about a definition that will help an aspiring writer do good things for their story telling by understanding where the centre of the mainstream flows.

So, let’s look at the simple contents of a generally ‘good’ story:


Read the full post on The Science of Story.


The Secrets of Story Structure (Complete Series)

This post by K.M. Weiland originally appeared on her Helping Writers Become Authors site. Note that while it references K.M. Weiland’s book based on her Story Structure blog series, after you click through to view the full post you’ll find links to her original blog posts in the series there.

If there’s just one thing that matters to your success as a writer it’s story structure. Story structure is what allows authors to create stories that work every single time. Story structure is what allows you to quickly diagnose and remedy plot problems.

The fear that story structure is formulaic and difficult couldn’t be farther from the truth. Story structure changed my life. The moment the foundational principles of this all-important technique clicked into place for me was the moment I came of age as a writer. Now it’s your turn!

In the Secrets of Story Structure series (which is the basis for my award-winning book Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys to Writing an Outstanding Story and its companion Structuring Your Novel Workbook), you’ll learn

  • Why structure is make-or-break territory for every novel
  • How to implement a strong three-act structure
  • How to bring your story to life
  • How to ensure your story built to have the greatest possible impact on readers.


Read the full post on Helping Writers Become Authors.