on Writing Forward:
A plot is a sequence of related events in a story.
Plot usually centers around the protagonist’s primary goal or challenge, the central story problem. Each event in the story pushes the protagonist toward a climax where they either succeed or fail to resolve the story problem. In a mystery, the challenge might be to solve a crime. In a romance, the goal is to find true love.
As the plot progresses, the stakes get higher and tensions rise. A killer is on the loose. If the detective doesn’t solve the crime fast, the killer will strike again. As the detective closes in, the killer taunts the detective and threatens his family. Then he kidnaps the detective’s daughter. The situation grows increasingly dire, desperate, or dangerous. The story intensifies at every turn.