Difference Between Plot and Story

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    Plot vs Story

    Many of us don’t realize that there is a difference between a plot and a story, because we refer to the plot as a story. However, the plot should correctly be referred to as the storyline, which is different to the story itself.

    The plot is the meat and bones of the story. It can be charted and outlined to highlight the critical events during a movie, book, or TV show. The plot is developed in order to create a better story.

    The story is the idea, the general theme, and the loose interpretation of the event in its entirety. You can easily create the same story over and over, and adjust the plot in order to create differences. This happens all the time in TV series, and within genre movies and books.

    Perhaps this is best illustrated through crime related shows. Whether you are a fan of Law and Order, Criminal Minds, Bones, or NCIS, the story is basically the same. 1. There is a crime that takes place. 2. There is a team to investigate the crime. 3. The team engages in crime solving techniques that lead them through a maze of developments. 4. The crime is solved. What makes a difference in whether or not you choose to watch each particular show is the plot. The plot takes the characters through the specific movements, twists, turns, and developments to reach the climax.

    Developing a plot involves tight specifics that can be summed up in a sentence or two. Developing a story involves using creative thought, and adding in details, character traits, and embellishments to make the story more engaging.

    When writing, the plot is usually derived first. You know which direction you wish to take your story, and how it is going to end up where you want it. A well developed plot can create an incredible story, but a well developed story does not necessarily indicate a great plot.


    1. Plot is the heartbeat of a story.

    2. Plot development equals a better story.

    3. Story development does not equal a better plot.

    4. The same story can be repeated with changes in the plot to create different stories.

    5. Plot development is brief, specific, and tight.

    6. Story development is about creating details and embellishments to make the plot engaging.

    7. The plot is very much like the outline of the story, while the story is why you watch or read the event.

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