How many of you have ever written a plotless novel? Come on raise your hands, don't be shy I can't actually see you. My hand is in the air. While I think I've learned a lot since then it's not bad to remind myself what a plot is. I came across an interesting post about plotting over at The Intern. She states that a plot plot needs a combination of these things; Cause and effect, interrelatedness, and extended conflict.
Checking your manuscript for these three things is a fabulous way to know if you have a plot. What happens in the early parts of the book have to have an effect on the later parts otherwise it was pointless. Which goes right along with interrelatedness. If the whole of your book isn't connected (each event effecting and defining the later ones) you have a series of events, not a plot. Extended conflict, I see a lot of new writers that have a problem with this. The conflict and tension have to over set the WHOLE novel. It should start at the point where something changes and end at the point where that change is resolved.
The intern also said this "Suffice to say that a plot generally involves a series of conscious decisions on the author’s part" I want to add it also includes conscious decisions on the character's part. There is no plot if things just keep happening to your character and she sits there and does nothing. At least not an interesting plot.
So how about it? Any words you want to share on plot?