Essentially and most simply put, plot is what the characters do to deal with the situation they are in. It is a logical sequence of events that grow from an initial incident that alters the status quo of the characters.
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Creating the characters is the most creative part of the novel except for the language itself. There I am, sitting in front of my computer in right-brain mode, typing the things that come to mind - which become the seeds of plot. It's scary, though, because I always wonder: Is it going to be there this time?
I really liked the idea of creating a journal myself. It's like the way I clear my throat. I write a page every day, maybe 500 words. It could be about something I'm specifically worried about in the new novel; it could be a question I want answered; it could be something that's going on in my personal life. I just use it as an exercise.