What's the difference between plot and story?

I am very confused. Someone, please educate me.

Edit: I think I figured it out.

Feel free to discuss it, though.

Plot is underlying action that propels protagonist forward in the narrative. Story is both the plot and the literary decisions of the writer–it’s how details like tone or POV shift the plot’s impact on the reader?



I always liked E.M. Forster’s definition:

We have defined a story as a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence. A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. “The king died and then the queen died” is a story. “The king died, and then the queen died of grief” is a plot.


Plot is more about how to get the character from point A to point B and story is more about how you execute the plot; what happens, how the characters act and react, and how you write it. Plus more.


Plot is the event chain plus character to get character from point A to point B.

Story, is everything, including setting tone, etc. I wrote a break down here:



Premise, plot (character {motivation, agency, inner conflicts,
character background, character traits [vices, virtues, quirks]
character arc(character change, character evolution)}, conflict, events)
research/facts, setting/world (location, time, mood), dialogue,
narration, Point of View, and that special something called what this
story has that makes it different from all other stories.

Note that character want (taken from trait list) + conflict == Character motivation.


foreshadowing, themes, author experience, culture


grammar, spelling, voice, style, word choice, pacing, tone, detail/descriptions

You could write a plot but have absolutely no story. A synopsis, for example is a plot, but it’s not a story in terms of what an agent wants.

Basic: All stories must have plots, but not all plots have stories. All plots must have characters, settings and events (conflict can be optional in some set ups). But not all event chains are plots. You also can have a premise independent of a plot–though this is often difficult for people to pull off, it is possible and does happen that the seed fo the idea changes as one writes the plot so it doesn’t resemble the premise at all. You can also form a plot without a premise.

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Same as between a skeleton and a body.

like a matcha powder and matcha ice cream