2 effective ways to step-outline.

When step-outlining, we can use 2 techniques:

1. Put the do-er of the action first.

Skyler threatens to leave Walt.

Subject: Skyler.

Verb: Threaten

Object: Walt

By using this method you can see:

1. Who is driving the scene.

2. Who is driving the main plot.

3. Who is attacking your hero .

If your hero is often the object, coming under attack a lot, this is good! Heroes should be attacked !

2. Put your hero first.

Walt is threatened by Skyler.

Subject: Walt

Verb: Threaten

Object: Skyler

Here the subject and object have switched. Walt is the hero so he always stays the subject – that is – first in the sentence, followed by the verb.

The verb ‘is threatened’ here is passive  which tells us that Walt is passive in this scene, too. He is under attack. Of course, he doesn’t remain passive. He fights back. That’s what heroes do.

This method means we always:

1. See the story from the hero’s viewpoint.

2. See if our hero is active or passive.

3. See who is attacking our hero or who he is attacking.

It’s good to step outline both ways, to get a really clear picture of the to-and-fro of attack, defend, attack, defend, as your hero advances towards his goal.

What do you think?

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