I feel like I've reached a writing epiphany. I don't know if it's really that earth shaking, but it seems like it to me. Lately, I've read a few books on screenwriting, like McKee's Story. Screenwriters think in scenes, not chapters. So, I started trying to break down my current project, Memoir of a Teenage Sidekick, into smaller units.
I started reading a novel and decided to take notes on what happened in each scene.When I did that, I found I could easily see the 'Three O's". I learned this idea James Scott Bell's book Plot & Structire. The three O's stand for Objective, Obstacle, and Outcome. Objective is the characters goal at the moment. Obstacle is what creates the opposition and conflict to that goal. Outcome is what happens as a result of goal versus opposition.
As I read the novel, it surprised me when I saw these 3 O's multiple times in each scene. When I've applied the principle, I usually just thought of it in terms of one set of O's for the entire chapter. It taught me that the three O's should be happening more often.
As I'm working on my outline now, I'm breaking it down into scenes and figuring out the three O's for each one. I'm finding a few that naturally have the cycle happening three times in a short amount of time. Anyway, that's my exciting discovery. I need to study this some more in other books. It's kind of like doing a measure by measure analysis of music.