Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Lamott, Anne

Anchor, 1994

p. 62

Lamott offers a short story plot formula that will probably work for narrative types of sermons. It’s the ABDCE formula from Alice Adams. Action: A revealing happening good enough to hook us. Background: Who are these people? How did they get that way and how did they come to act as they do? What was going on before the story opens? Development: Work up the people some. Move them along a little. Show us their hungers and fears. Climax: What changes these people more or less permanently? Ending: Who are these people now? What are they left with? What did it all mean? What’s likely to lie ahead now?