* Emotions, images, drama, time, and character-driven plot are all elements kept in mind when forming an outline.

* Stories are all elements working together as if they were not elements.

* Structure makes elements more effective.

* Elements in outline help identify the beginnings of meaning and theme.


1) Test yourself: Can you tell a summary of the story verbally without notes?

2) Do you know when a story will start and end, and all that happens in between, before you write?

3) What is the major conflict of the story? (In a novel there may be many.)  What is the action precipitated by this conflict, what is the resolution of the conflict? Are you clear what the resolution is (even if you expect it to change as the story develops)?

C.  Creating Scenes

Scenes are dramatic units that make up a story.  As sentences are to paragraphs, scenes are to stories: They are the building blocks that contribute to the theme and action of the entire story.

1) Conflict/action/resolution

Conflict is the basis of a scene.  Conflict is best developed between two or three (or more) characters; it is rare for a single-character scene to provide deep and intense conflict for the reader to become involved in.  Conflicts can be physical, emotional, mental or verbal.

Action presents how characters respond to conflict.  How characters act in scenes reveals the characters’ personalities so the reader develops respect and sympathy for characters.

Resolution of scene action tells the reader how the character was changed by the action.

2) In-scene and narrative telling of conflicts

In-scene development captures the reader’s interest and provides maximum enjoyment.  Yet in-scene development requires more time to read and more space on the page.  Therefore, narrative telling of scene conflict is useful in transitions and when time for in-scene development does not allow for smooth forward progress of the story.  Most great stories have more in-scene development than narrative telling (see Example 1).