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Plot or No Plot

I recently perused the stacks for reading material with several writer friends. One of them picked up a book and exclaimed, "Does it have a plot? I'm not reading one more book without a plot!"
When I first started teaching plot to writers more than six years ago and then writing about plot extensively, plot was little talked about. I remember searching for plot in the index of several of the most popular writing books at the time and only one had even a page dedicated to the subject. 
Now, the taboo has been lifted and plot seems to be the "it" element most discussed in writing circles. 
And then there is literary fiction....
As much as I appreciate the need for plot and the struggle writers face in creating compelling and multi-layered plots, I love plotless books. I love when the language takes center stage and characters who develop without much dramatic action dominate. 
Literary fiction is essentially plotless and yet all of my favorite books and the ones I remember the most fall in that category. 
Sometimes I worry I've gone too far in my zest to support writers in creating well-rounded stories with exciting action that transforms the protagonist and in the end means something. 
Plot is well and good, but often no plot is sublime....

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Thank you!

As a lover and writer of literary fiction, I have to agree with you about plotless books (however, I do think literary fiction books have a plot; they're just not "When John discovers a centuries-old mollusk bone in his underwear, he must embark on a dangerous search to find out how they got there").

Thanks for giving them their due along with the more plotty, which I also enjoy reading. Just not in the same way.

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The Decline and Fall of the American Attention Span

I was recently shopping out my screenplay of Plasma Dreams.  Almost everyone remotely involved with the movie industry demands, "State the plot in one sentence."  Good gravy; if I could state the plot of Plasma Dreams in one sentence, the movie could be made in one sentence. 

 The plot is complex, with many underlying themes.  Even if I restricted my "plug" to the physical action alone, it would take three or four pages.

 I am told the "one sentence plot" is what they call "high concept."

 I think it's "High B.S."

 

Eric

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Gratitude

Thanks for your comments.
I agree, Kristen J. Tsetsi. Literary fiction does have plot -- usually character-driven. Genre -- usually action driven.