When I first started writing I would have a flash, maybe a dream that gave me a feeling in the opening scene. From that I would blindly sketch out some kind of convoluted tale. There would be random adventures but there was no knowledge of the format of novels and an over exaggeration of the increasing tensions.
It was after that very first attempt...you know the one where I wrote myself into a corner then built a fort around myself with no doors...pitiful, that I realized I need to go back to basics and learn more to do better next time.
I really like this lesson series. He lays it all out complete with examples and walking you through the build up and conclusion. I don't think this is the only way to build plot, or to plan a story but I do think that knowing and be able to work with the basics of storytelling enriches you as a writer. It strengthens your craft.