on Jane Friedman site:
Many authors embark on a new manuscript with one of two common inspirations: a great idea for a plot, or a fascinating character and situation.
Both can be good springboards for story, yet without more development, each may result in stories that peter out, dead end, or get lost in rabbit holes (especially during the breakneck pace of NaNo).
Plots most commonly fail when:
- they’re approached as an isolated element of story, a series of interesting events for authors to plug their characters into, or
- when interesting characters are randomly loosed into an intriguing situation with no specific destination or purpose.
Characters must take action, but action is not plot, and plot is not story.