Developing a story is very simple, but most people go about it the wrong way. First develop the anti-climax (the middle of the story). I will demonstrate by writing a new story, right now, to show you the process. First I will develop the action scene that the story will be built around. Then it will be easy to identify the number of characters. The plot will develop naturally as I go. Let’s see. I need something with high drama and tension. 


Okay, this story will be about two abused children, a sister, age 9, and her brother, age 5. The enraged stepfather is chasing them through a forest. The children run for their lives, stop for a short rest, and fall backwards into a tiny washed out place in the bank, just behind a tree.

The stepfather races through the forest, cursing and calling their names. Gasping for air, he sits down and leans against the tree, not three feet from where they are hiding. The children hold their breath, fearing he will fall into their hiding place and discover them. Lots of high tension and drama.

Now that I know the plot, it’s time to write the end of the story:

I ask myself who, what, when, where, why, and how. That will resolve the story. Where will the children go? What will happen to them next?

They run to a kind shoe cobbler in a strange village and pant out their story to him. The cobbler alerts the townspeople that a huge, fierce man is coming and that he intends to harm the children. The townspeople hold a hurried meeting and decide to snare the man in a trap. (Describe trap)

The man is caught and put on trial. The people are merciless. In their eyes, there is no greater crime than abusing children. In such cases, they feel that ridding the earth of such vermin is commendable – and these are very commendable people. They hang him. The children live with the shoe cobbler and his wife. The End.

Notice that when I decided on the action, (the man chasing the children), the next step of conflict called for answers (resolutions). Now I have to ask myself where the children came from, and how they got in that predicament. Again, I answer the who, what, when, where, why and how.

I haven’t answered the question of where the mother is yet. She could have run away from the abusive environment. Maybe the step-father killed her. The lead can be anything. It is limited only by your imagination.

By choosing the action scene first, and then the ending, I know I need two main characters (oldest child and step-father), and I know the length of the story before I write a word. It will have to be 2,000 words to work that much in.

This is called the DeBowen technique. Even if you’re familiar with story-writing, try it. It’s the newest, hottest thing on the market.