In any case, this sent me on a small research errand to find out if 'plot' is also used in nonfiction. It turns out it is.
Plot is both a noun and a verb. When used as a noun it most often refers to the plot of a story, such as in fiction. When referred to as a verb, it's to describe something that 'formulates a plan with purpose.'
Plot by definition is a sequence of events that helps in the development of a story and the understanding of characters. The plot ultimately means to:
- move the book towards a resolution to its central conflict.
- make the argument you intend whether to inform or persuade the reader.
- to help the reader understand what the author wants to tell.
- create a road map of intellectual discovery, of the unfolding of ideas, and developing of a thesis.
So yes, plot does apply to nonfiction as well as fiction.