Last night I bumped into the part of On Writing where King pronounces plot the last refuge of scoundrels and fools. He calls plot a jack-hammer, the bad writer’s last (or first) resort. He then goes on to say he relies on situation and character instead, putting a character in a situation and letting them work their way to resolution, using his intuition to help them out along the way. He claims that jotting down a single note about what happens breaks the flow, as if the story plays itself like a symphony, and taking notes is like opening a big crumply distracting bag of potato chips right in the middle. Later he contradicts himself: he wrote notes about Misery on a plane to London. And before he started writing, he had expanded the premise into a short outline, if not on paper then in his head: the rabid fan keeps the writer prisoner until he writes the next installment of her favorite series; in the end, the novel is published, there are awards on her wall, and the writer is a lampshade on her desk. He has, in spite of his admonishments, set up a few plot points before starting, including both a beginning and an end, and a couple of sharp twists that hold up the middle. Every story needs plot. Understanding that helps you write better. What King objects to when he objects to plotting is formula, the writer who spins a wheel and says “insert car chase here,” or “girlfriend leaves him,” without regard for truth.