Since a plot is the dramatization of goal-directed action, it has to be based
on conflict; it may be one character’s inner conflict or a conflict of goals
and values between two or more characters. Since goals are not achieved
automatically, the dramatization of a purposeful pursuit has to include
obstacles; it has to involve a clash, a struggle—an action struggle, but not a
purely physical one. Since art is a concretization of values, there are not
many errors as bad esthetically—or as dull—as fist fights, chases, escapes
and other forms of physical action, divorced from any psychological conflict or
intellectual value-meaning. Physical action, as such, is not a plot nor a
substitute for a plot—as many bad writers attempt to make it, particularly in
today’s television dramas.
This is the other side of the mind-body dichotomy that plagues literature.
Ideas or psychological states divorced from action do not constitute a
story—and neither does physical action divorced from ideas and values.