The plot is the mechanical framework upon which the story hangs, so it’s really just a device to help you tell the story. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, as such, it can be dispensed with if it’s not useful.
The story is the thing – the whole thing. Nothing else matters. The story will give you the characters, and once that happens you’re off and running.
I know I’ve said this before, and it’s not a novel idea (read Joseph Campbell’s work), but humans are hard-wired to both tell stories and, most importantly, to listen.
If you don’t believe me, start telling a story the next time you’re in a group of people. Don’t be shocked if everyone starts to get quiet and begins hanging on every word. It can be a little spooky.
Before the printing press, stories were the only way to pass knowledge down from generation to generation.
So it’s literally in our DNA.
P.S. – If you want see a great example of how to tell a story with no plot, watch Robert Altman’s “3 Women.” Thank me later…