->''"Not just a bunch of stuff that happens."''
-->-- ''Literature/HowNotToWriteANovel''

A fictional(ized) series of events that have some connection.

The quality of a plot is often judged by how convincing that connection is established along the criteria of

* ''cause and effect'' (physics),
* ''emotional motivation'' (psychology) and
* ''reason'' (logic and ethics).

Failure to meet those criteria results in a PlotHole. If the first criterion is repeatedly violated, we have a RandomEventsPlot, the second criterion is not met if someone acts OutOfCharacter, and a consistent failure to meet the third is called an IdiotPlot. DeusExMachina is a desperate plot-advancing technique that does not quite link events in a story in a convincing manner but at least keeps it going.

Plots are usually driven by {{Conflict}}, which has a strong tendency to make stuff happen. According to Creator/{{Aristotle}}, Plot, together with {{Character|s}} and {{Spectacle}}, is one of the six items present in any story.

A PlotPoint is an important event or state of affairs that the viewer or reader is required to be aware of in order to follow the plot. An object or character whose only purpose is to drive the plot (i. e. provide the connecting element between events) is called a PlotDevice. Similarly, a PlotCoupon is an object that acts as a key to advance or resolve a plot. In contrast to the PlotDevice, it is actively and purposefully used (and often also sought out in the first place) by the characters to reach a goal, while a PlotDevice doesn't necessarily require a character's volition to advance the plot. See also MacGuffin and MagneticPlotDevice.

A popular definition of how a plot as a whole should progress within the "running time" of a work is the succession of [[ActBreak five acts]]: ''[[{{Exposition}} exposition]]'', ''[[RisingAction rising action]]'', ''[[TheClimax climax]]'', ''falling action'' and ''resolution''. However, a work of fiction can contain more than one plot. This is called subplots or PlotThreads.

In some formats, the plot can take a back seat to other aspects that are deemed more important. For these cases see NoPlotNoProblem and ExcusePlot. Also bear in mind the SlidingScaleOfPlotVersusCharacters, for when character development overtakes the overall plot.

For a list of prefabricated plots, see {{Plots}}. For basic, archetypal plots, see Literature/TheSevenBasicPlots, TenMoviePlots and MasterPlots.

Compare {{Consistency}}.

''Please note: As one of the major [[SuperTrope Super Tropes]], the concept of Plot is [[OmnipresentTrope omnipresent]]. There's no need to list Plot as a {{trope}} on any work's page or to list works here.''