Do you, as a writer, know ~why~ you need a plot? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
I have. I ask that question quite a lot, actually: Why plot?
Hemingway never had a plot. Angela's Ashes didn't have a plot. Most Cormac McCarthy books lack a plot, as do many of Stephen King's works.
Short stories have no plot. They don't have the protagonist-antagonist interaction, or a character arc, or a three-scene conformity. Many of the chapters and scenes in your favorite books -- Harry Potter for instance -- have nothing to do with the plot.
It is inarguable -- so please do not try -- to state that plot is necessary for a piece to be readable, publishable, or recognizable as a great work. There are simply too many exceptions that violate this rule.
So why plot? What is its function? Why do genre publishers insist on the dang thing?
I'll tell you why: To drive Dear Reader to the end.
The only reason you need the plot is to provide thrust and rhythm to the reader. Dear Reader rides the ups and downs of the plot, pacing fast, then slow, and finally, at the end, in a mad rush, they climax and THE END, thanks for playing, what was this author's name again, and who cares because I got mine, where's my next book.
But aren't there other ways to please the reader? Look at Life of Pi. No plot there. The little guy floats in a boat with a tiger and lands in Mexico. No protagonist. No antagonist. Just a boy and a tiger and some turtle blood, which apparently you can drink.
Rather than using a plot or a pro/antagonist conflict as thrust, the author used a story promise, a big question that I've stated before as the only question you need inspire in the reader: What's next? He also used prose, imagery, and scene-driven conflict to sail the reader through to the end.
He kept you turning the page until Pi landed in Mexico and that was a good stopping point and so he stopped writing. The end. Was it good for you, honey?
Using the plot as the only means of reader thrust is severely limiting yourself! Flip over Dear Reader and use good prose. Stand em up and use a story question. Hold em upside-down and use imagery to woo them into the next chapter.
Use plot, sure, but understand why you are using plot. Understand that it is not the only way to satisfy the reader, nor is it a steadfast rule in literature. It may be the most common means of thrust, but there are many more ways you can entice a reader to complete book.
What other ways can you inspire Dear Reader to read to THE END? What methods can you combine with plot to give Dear Reader added incentive to finish your book?