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  1. #1
    David Summers

    little confused but im trying to learn

    Hello. maybe someone can help me out. Im currently reading Stephen King's "On Writing" He speaks of the difference of what is "situational" and what is "Plot" he concludes by saying "There is a huge difference between story and plot"
    I'm not sure exactly what this means. Can anyone explain the difference?

  2. #2
    Eyan Carrington

    Re: little confused but im trying to learn

    I really enjoyed Stephen King's book, although some of his books left me thinking he couldn't plot to save his life. I, of course, could do much better... okay, maybe not.

    According to EM Forster, a story is a "narrative of events arranged in their time sequence - dinner coming after breakfast, Tuesday coming after Monday..."

    A plot is also a sequence, but it is more concerned with incidents and consequences. A plot can be multi-layered and involves giving the background of characters and events, looking at the motives of why people do what they do. A plot conveys emotion through people's actions.

    Imagine the difference between (1) a bedtime story told to a child ('the hungry caterpillar did this and then this and then this') and (2) a book with a main sequence of events also with sub-plots, a character with a main goal and an emotional goal, a compelling atmosphere, etc etc.

    Crash, which has just won the Oscar for best film, has little story, but it has a fascinating interweaving plot of many characters with complex emotional issues.

    A story is linear and may even be expressed in a few sentences. A plot is multilayered and may involve lots of index cards and margin notes if you are in the midst of writing one!

    Of course, I could be talking rubbish, but that's my interpretation.

  3. #3
    Wayne G

    Re: little confused but im trying to learn

    The story is what you keep in the forefront of your mind as you write your plot. I think you have to have the story before you set out writing. From that you "plot" out the events of the story. The story is looking at Earth from space; the plot is zooming in and seeing the individual continents and their geographic features.

  4. #4
    Joe Zeff

    Re: little confused but im trying to learn

    Clearly, EM Forster never read Catch 22 or The Illuminatus Trillogy.

  5. #5
    Tommy M

    Re: little confused but im trying to learn

    Stephen King said he writes his stories without knowing what will happen (though he may have a vague idea). In other words, he does not develop a plot (a story line which he sticks to rigidly) during his first draft.

    Instead, he takes a handful of charaters and puts them in a situation, such as a boy and his mother trapped in their car while a 200 lb rabid dog lurks just outside. And he writes about the characters in that situation, without knowing what will become of them.

    Many writers devise their plot beforehand - A, B, C, and D will happen, and they try to stick to that plot (though may give themselves the freedom to stray).

    Whatever works best...

  6. #6
    David Summers

    Re: little confused but im trying to learn

    Thanks a lot to those who answered. This helps a great deal

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