So ya wanna way to remember the basic steps in a story, huh? Here it is: Problem Grows Bleak, Light-bulb Change. That's right. If you've been writing picture books for a long time, you probably know where I'm going with this:
Problem = At the beginning of your story there is a problem for your main character. (Introduce your main character first, by the way.)
Grows = The problem gets bigger, there are obstacles (usually in a group of three) to achieving your main character's goal.
Bleak = The problem escalates until it is the "darkest hour", the "point of no return". This is the place where we are wondering..."WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?!" and possibly saying "NO! No,no,no,no,no!"
Light bulb = Ding! The main character has a plan and puts it into action. Whew, we're going to be okay. Things may or may not turn out as hoped/planned, but we're going to survive. Probably.
Change = This is the way in which your main character has changed/grown over the duration of the story.