This is a post I put in the comment thread over at Devil in my Dreams. I just thought it was interesting to think about it – I hadn’t articulated these things quite this way before. Anyone else do that – figure things out in the moment?
I think that Plot is one step removed, one step into the abstract, away from Story. A Plot is a plan, a schematic, something you can diagram on a dry-erase board.
Same with Character, which is one step abstracted from Person. A Character has attributes you can list – you could fill out a character sheet.
For both Story and Person, though, you can only experience them. They exist as unabstracted as possible. You experience a Person. You experience Story.
I think it’s telling that your example is presenting something on a stage – a performance piece exists only as long as the performance exists. A play or a musical performance is like a sand mandala – it is only present for a moment before it is gone. You can record it and replay the recording, but a recording is not the same as a live performance. A photograph of the sand mandala is not the sand mandala.
The Plot is not the Story. The Character is not the Person.