Some writers nowadays are discouraged from plotting because they feel that plots are as a rule unoriginal, thus passé; they are content to work with what is called the plot-germ, and as Ortega y Gassett suggests, place most of their emphasis upon the characters; often they seem to be more concerned with background than anything else. I would urge the writer not to give up on a plot before he has really worked at it. Plot, if handled well, can be sheer poetry. It will help create the sense of the mystery of human life, the unknown, almost unknowable things that enter into our lives. Walk into the next room and your destiny may be changed. You can achieve some of that feeling from characterization, but plot intensifies it.
From Bernard Malamud, “Beginning the Novel” in Alan Cheuse & Nicholas Delbanco, eds., Talking Horse: Bernard Malamud on Life and Work (1996).