- The plot of a novel can fit in a barrel.
- The plot of a feature film can fit in a bucket.
- But the working memory in our brains only holds a cup-full.
- Therefore, the plot of a work of long fiction is more than fits in your head.
The miracle is that writers DO manage to conceive of and manipulate the plot of long fiction.
But how they do it - this seems to vary from writer to writer.