What is a story?
At school, we tell the children it's Someone Wanted But So Then. It might be someone wanted cake but mom said no so the girl took it anyway, then she got in trouble. Or could continue and say, but she didn't care so she made another cake, then her mom forgave her. But the dad was jealous so she made him some cookies, then everyone was happy.
The essence of story is a character encountering a problem and what that character does about it. The problem should raise a question. Mom said no. WHAT IS THE GIRL GOING TO DO ABOUT THE MOM SAYING NO? Every event in the story should lead to the answer of that question.
Linda Arms White used one of her books at the conference to illustrate this point. Too Many Pumpkins is cute, clever, and enjoyable. I urge you to find a copy that you can study to get a better picture of what I'm trying to explain. Then again, any picture book with a good story will probably work, too.
Tomorrow's topic: conflict.