Betty's Tips

Dear readers,

Dear friends, no matter how much effort I have put into my novel, Dreams of an Eggplant, I am still not happy with it. Of course the "dreams" part is easy—who doesn’t dream like an eggplant? But I have come to realize that the dreams are not enough. I need a real plot. —Or is it a real story that I need? Which is which, and what’s the difference?

To find the answer, I went straight to my favorite search engine. It turns out, there is more than one theory on the subject.

I found an interesting discussion of the difference between plot and story at: They tell us that “a story is the requisite timeline of events present in any narrative.” “Plot,” they say is why these events occur as they do. It might help to think of plot as a journey, according to

But another site, sees it the other way around. According to them, plot is a chronological list of events that occur—the storyline. They say that story is the idea or general theme drawn from these events. Plot is what happens; story is why we care. This is echoed in The dictionary agrees defining  storyline as the “plot of a story or dramatic work.”

I saw the same approach in TheSuccessful Novelist by David Morrell (author of the book on which the Rambo movies were based). He cites no less a source than E. M. Forster whose notable works include A RoomWith a View, Howard’s End, and A Passageto India, among others.

According to Forster (as quoted in, a story’s job is to make the reader want to know what happens next. He famously said, “’The king died and then the queen died’ is a story.” This he differentiated from plot, saying, “’The king died and then the queen died of grief’ is a plot. The time sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it.” Who am I to disagree with Morrell and Forster?

Whether you call the storyline a plot or a story, the important thing for me to remember what Lisa Cron has said in her book, StoryGenius, that we need to get below the surface of our tale, and create meaning, internal logic, and a sense of urgency.

So . . . how do I do that? Script consultant Michael Hauge has helped me a lot with his “Story Mastery Six-Stage Plot Structure.” This includes both plot and story—no matter which you call by which term. Each stage of a timeline has an impact on the main character who then has an impact back on the timeline. Complex, isn’t it?

I found some help on the storyline at: Once I get my storyline down, I’ll be ready to hone my causality. I’ll check back with you then.

In the meantime—happy plotting . . . or storytelling.

Betty Wryte-Goode 

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips and sharing them with her faithful readers.

Mixed Up Words . . .


"Council" is a noun that denotes an assembly of people--usually one brought together for the purpose of deliberating, legislating, or offering advice. A city council, for instance, might consider petitions, pass regulations, or offer advice to a mayor. 

"Counsel" is also a noun. It means advice (or a lawyer who offers advice), which is where the confusion might originate. It can also be a verb, "to counsel," which means to give advice

Putting them together: Because of the threat from a distant power, the King's Council counselled him to sign a mutual-defense treaty with their neighbors.