What's the difference between Situations and Plot?

Denis L. asked: These two seem to have very similar qualities (situation and plot). Aside from the desire and uniqueness of the character the situation reinforces, how would you set them apart?

Great question Denis.

Situation is a different context or scenario. We use that context or scenario to show our Heart's Big 3 Things, and therefore let the audience experience the authenticity of our character. So, in Soar, instead of just telling our audience through VO how much Dave Jacka wants to gain independence, we show it through the situation of him getting into bed, and the viewer then gets to experience the authenticity of Dave's desire when we witness his struggle and difficulty ourselves doing a routine that the rest of us take for granted everyday.

Plot, on the other hand, is the structure of our story. We use that structure to keep our audience engaged. On a very basic level, it's a beginning, middle, and end. But a HUGE part of Plot that brings so much to that structure is Conflict, because Conflict creates a question that our audience wants to learn the answer to. For example in Soar, Dave is presented with his Conflict when he gets in the motorcycle accident at 19 and becomes a quadriplegic. We wonder if he'll gain his independence back. We ask ourselves—will Dave Jacka be able to fly with only 6% of his body function? Can he do it? It's this structure, this question, and our Heart's acceptance of the challenge, that takes both them—and us—on a journey to see if they overcome and reach an answer.

And to bring these two together now, Situations can be used to show a Plot Point, but they don't encompass the entire structure of our story from beginning, middle, to end. Again, this is an extremely condensed version of Plot (I didn't even mention the 6 Essential Plot Points!), but I hope that still helps you see the bigger picture of how these two differ and where they converge. 


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