Posted by Eileen Astels
In Chris Roerden's Don't Sabotage Your Submission, she addresses the concept of constructing scenes that follow a goal-obstacle-outcome sequence.
1. The Goal: Or some might consider it the protagonist's agenda for the scene, must be presented early in the scene for the reader to grasp onto. Once the reader knows what is desired, they'll either be rooting for it to happen, or biting their nails, praying that it doesn't. Either way, the reader has become invested in reading on. They begin to anticipate the possibilities and outcomes, and anticipation in anyone "creates tension, builds suspense, and maintains our addiction to adrenalin, all of which keeps us turning the pages." (Pg 152 of Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roerden)
2. Obstacle(s): Ah, these are the makings of conflict. And conflict is the life-blood of any good novel. You need to create compelling obstacles that cause external and internal conflicts for the protagonist. And you need to show your characters traversing these obstacles, growing and changing due to these experiences.
3. Outcome: Good or bad, you need to offer a defining moment that reveals the outcome of their desired scene agenda. This outcome, then, will spark the agenda for a future scene as the character continues to work toward achieving their story goal (which in turn, might be altered during the course of the novel, but be sure to keep the reader abreast of these developments so that reader anticipation is always present, driving them to flip those pages.)
If we write with this sequence, goal-obstacle-outcome, in mind, our focus will rarely get muddied. And as a result our readers will stick with our stories.
What creative ways do you present your scene goals, obstacles, and outcomes without it coming off as chunky, blatantly obvious, but yet present for the reader to grasp in an entertaining way?
Surrendering to Him,