There is no plot in real life.
I remember hearing Ethan Hawke discuss this idea in an interview, and it really stuck with me. He postulated that people aren’t interested in plots — they’re interested in other people. Therefore, as an actor, his mission was to create a character who was complicated and messy. You know, the way people behave in real life.
It’s only in retrospect that we can make any sense out of what happens to us — only in hindsight do the events we experience lead to what might resemble a coherent story. In real-time, it’s all a jumbled, confusing mess.
So why plot a novel? Or a short story, for that matter? Why not just let the story unfold in real-time, then look back and find the plot afterward?
Maybe the characters trump plot — and if they’re real enough, maybe they’ll tell you what’s going to happen.
Food for thought.