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  • Anthony Hett

How to write a short film - The difference between story and plot

Hello and welcome to my blog, where I offer simple and practical advice on how to write and make an interesting, engaging and hopefully successful short film.

In today‘s blog post I will be taking a quick look at the difference between story and plot.


Writers and filmmakers often confuse story and plot. I have definitely don’t it myself. It can be confusing because on the surface they seem to be the same thing. However, they are not interchangeable words, they are in fact different things.


So in order to understand the difference between story and plot, first we must fully understand what they both are.


What is a story?

A story is a series of events recorded in their chronological order.


A story is made up of the 5 w’s:


• Who – the important characters.

• What – the situation they find themselves in.

• Why – how they find themselves in this situation.

• Where – the setting of the story (it’s location and/or world).

• When – the time setting of the story, when it takes place.



What is a plot?

A plot is a series of events deliberately arranged to reveal their dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance.


A sequence of chosen events across a certain time frame. The plot is what we see - as well as what do we not see - and it is when we see things - the order events are shown is very important.



What is the difference between story and plot?

Now we are a little clearer on what story and plot are, what is the difference between them? It might help to think about it like this: The story is what happened, while the plot is the telling of what happened.



I hope that you found this post helpful and that the difference between story and plot is now a little clearer. Let me know what you think in the comments below and please share this post with others who you think might find it helpful. Be sure to check out my YouTube videos and previous blog posts if you haven't already. There is a new video and blog post every Wednesday at 9am (gmt). In my next blog and video, I will be discussing What makes a good story.