The king died and then the queen died. The king died and then the queen died of grief.
The first sentence is a story, while the second is a plot. Apparently this example comes from E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel. According to this review, the book is 175 pages of must-read material!
Anyway, I do like that example of his. I also like this explanation:
A story is a series of events recorded in their chronological order. A plot is a series of events deliberately arranged so as to reveal their dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance.
The way I think of it, a plain story is like history: boring. ;) But a plot is someone’s telling of the story. It may be biased or inaccurate, but it’s more interesting! Many works of fiction are based on the same basic stories or actual events. Is there even such a thing as a truly original story? I doubt it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets frustrated when trying to come up with an original story. Everything’s been done before! I need to constantly remind myself that the originality is all in the plot, the telling of the story.