It took me this long to reach plot in a series about how to write a book… Well, the world is a strange place indeed.
So what is a plot?
Sort of. It is the major conflict presented in the story. Usually the conflict is what is outlined at the back of the book and is what we tell our friends when we tell them about that one book you have read.
outlining a plot example: “Samantha was the happiest woman alive when she was about to marry the love of her life when she receives a phone call that reminds her of a ghost of the past causing her to leave the happiest day of her life and go across the world to India”
This plot outline shows us the classic example of the conflict between Expectation “her marriage” and reality “the phone call”. It is now understood that she wants to quickly get done with whatever she has to do in India and return to her marriage. It also raises questions like “what is that ghost of the past?” “why is she going there?” “how will her fiance feel?” “what will happen to her wedding?” “how did she get the plane ticket and visa to India so quickly?”(I am being serious, you could answer that question).
You could then focus on answering the questions throughout the book and raising new ones and then answering them. But the plot ultimately revolves around the conflict of interests that this situation has caused and how that conflict will be solved.
It can also be the conflict between two character goals. Like a conflict between an antagonist and a protagonist.
Example: ‘John wants to reach the green point ( a fictional place) because he is an explorer and he has always wanted to see the green spot. However Nigel, the lord of thee city, does not allow for the citizens to leave its bound because he makes them do slave labour for a small amount of food’
With this plot, we have two clear opposing character motivations, causing the conflict to push the plot. This way you can easily make the readers root for John who wants something everyone wants:- freedom and detest Nigel who opposes him for the reasons that nobody wants to see happen:- slavery.
In order for the plot to be efficient, you have to set two sides or sometimes even more sides. After that, you can make them all shades of grey.
However, you can break this mold if you like, you will be fighting an uphill battle but you can do that, this is just the preferred method of story telling.