By isaac Butler
(All of the below cribbed from the OED):
(a) "An account of a series of events, facts, etc., given in order and with the establishing of connections between them; a narration, a story, an account."
(b) In literary criticism: "The part of a text, esp. a work of fiction, which represents the sequence of events, as distinguished from that dealing with dialogue, description, etc.; narration as a literary method or genre."
(c) In structuralist and post-structuralist theory: a representation of a history, biography, process, etc., in which a sequence of events has been constructed into a story in accordance with a particular ideology; esp. in grand narrative n. [after French grand récit (1979 in the passage translated in quot. 1984)] a story or representation used to give an explanatory or justificatory account of a society, period, etc.
Also, in law it simply means the part of a legal brief that relates the relevant facts and events in a way that forms an allegation against the accused.
I think I'm not the only one here probably who sees that the gradual changes in judgement implied by the three definitions above deeply relates to the various points George, myself, 99 and Pearson are making.
Plot (this gets interesting):
Obviously a plot has multiple meanings, but it turns out they're more interrelated that I thought. From plot as in plot of land we get the sense of plot as a map as well as the way one navigates that map (as in "plotting your course" in a ship). It also means charting the relationship between multiple variables in a graph. It also means a conspiracy. It also means a design.
Somehow I feel that all of these relate to the defintion that we're really talking about here: "The plan or scheme of a literary or dramatic work; the main events of a play, novel, film, opera, etc., considered or presented as an interrelated sequence; a storyline."
Do with the above what you will.