Plot vs Story: What Is the Big Difference?

Hello, gals and guys!

Today, we’re going to tackle the confusing ”plot vs story” question.

plot-vs-story

Indeed! Why can’t they be used interchangeably?

I’ve been taking a writing class on Skillshare this week and finally came to learn the answer. The difference is so big, yet we never really hear about it. We keep on using plot when we mean story and story when we mean plot. I figured I’d share this information with you because I kept wondering why the heck were they different. Isn’t that all just the same thing?

No, it’s not. One might think that they differ subtly, yet it’s far from the truth. In fact, it is quite clear.

Plot is actually the physical action of your novel. Let’s use my novel Nightshade:The Death Stone as an example. Rosellia, the main character, travels to different dimensions (this is physical), then she is kidnapped (again, it’s physical), and saved by the Nightshade (physical). This has nothing to do with how she feels about all this. Plot is that: action. It’s what happens to your character in terms of events and situations.

As for the story, it is simply the contrary. Rosellia’s emotions and feelings towards the events happening to her and her growth as a character are what make the story. Story is emotions. Her relationship with herself? Story. With others? Story.

Story is emotions and feelings whereas plot is physical (action).

Don’t we just feel better knowing the big difference?

I sure do!

Now it’s easier for me to understand whenever I read about one of those two important pieces of the creation of a novel. I hope it is easier for you too.

Do you still have any questions about plot or story?

You’re always welcome to leave a comment.

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4 thoughts on “Plot vs Story: What Is the Big Difference?

  1. thesarahdoughty March 4, 2017 at 8:04 pm Reply

    I always combined these two together, because they are, in a way interchangeable. Without the plot driving the story, we wouldn’t have a character to care about, nor would that character have any basis for change/growth/progression. 😊

    • Catherine GV March 4, 2017 at 8:09 pm Reply

      You are right! They complete each other. However, I think it’s essential to be able to distinguish them first in order to mix them better in our own work later on. Or only to be able to better understand classes one takes or writing books one reads. xD But yes, it’s true. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting, dear!

      • thesarahdoughty March 4, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        Yes, I agree with you. Knowing the difference is important. 😊

      • Catherine GV March 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        Indeed, it is. 🙂

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