28 July 2008

No-plot, Really No Problem??

I recently received the following:

"I've a topic for you. What about the no-plot novel? I've always argued that a novel doesn't need a plot as long as it has a point, also there's the whole "character is plot" argument. The plots in my books are neither here nor there, just things to get my characters to do while I write about them."

I'm not certain what he's getting at here. "...as long as it has a point." I assume this refers to the deeper meaning of the piece or the Thematic Significance. "....character is the plot." I assume this refers to the Character Emotional Development. "...just things to get my characters to do while I write about them." This, I assume, is the crux of his query -- no dramatic action? Perhaps. If the "things" involve conflict that the character then has the opportunity to respond or react to emotionally, I'd say he is writing a novel with plot.

Again, I define plot as a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action filled with conflict in order to further the character's emotional development and provide thematic significance. In other words, when the dramatic action causes the character to be changed at depth over time the story means something.

What do you think??? Is he writing with plot or no-plot? Perhaps I'm reading too much into what he's written because I dread thinking he's writing with no conflict involved. Don't get me wrong, I believe character carries the story. Still, even with beautiful language, internal conflict without any external conflict, could end up a slow, boring, flat read indeed.....