When writing an outline, I think in scenes. I’ll start with a very basic outline of where we are, who’s there and what the objective is for that scene. In this example:
Our hero and his wizard sidekick arrive at an inn and asks for the thief he’s hunting. The innkeeper points at the thief in the corner eating breakfast. He notices the sudden attention and makes a hasty escape.
So we’ve got the place (the inn), who’s there (the hero, the wizard, the innkeeper and the thief) and the objective (the thief escapes). That’s where I ask my next question: How will the thief escape?
I already know he has a bag that holds everything in it as that’s the cause of the pursuit in the first place. This bag will allow him to pull whatever he could imagine out of it to slow his pursuers. So what can stop a hero from chasing you? It would have to be something big that will slow our hero down. What’s big? Well a Minotaur is pretty big. Why a Minotaur? Well because it’s big, dangerous and foul-smelling! So now we have a huge beast between the hero and his foe.
Now, our hero is facing a Minotaur. How can he defeat it? What would be effective against a huge, smelly beast? Water of course! What giant, lumbering monster would enjoy a shower? Lucky we have a wizard with us.
So now the wizard is creating a spell that will build up a raincloud to try and get the Minotaur out of the inn (apparently the goblin didn’t think about this when he pulled it from the bag) while the hero tries to stop it from destroying the place.
Once the raincloud appears, the Minotaur heads for the hills and after a quick apology to the innkeeper, the hero and sidekick continue on after the thief.
That’s a look into how I build scenes in my head. This one was put together last night when I decided I couldn’t sleep; they often come from similar situations.