One sentence of plot:
A privelleged asshole betters himself after being confronted by the real world.
One paragraph of plot:
A young lord whose estates are unreachable due to dragons. He is tricked into gambling away his estates by a powerful noble who demands immediate repayment. Our lordling reaches his lands in poor shape and is rescued by the remnants of his subjects. He remains amongst them incognito, seeing how they have survived cut-off from the rest of the country. He gives them information that allows them to rejoin the homelands. In his absence, the noble lord he is indebted to has launched a coup upon the throne. The young lord turns the tide at the head of subjects and abandons his title.
That paragraph was difficult to write. I left out a lot of bits that seemed important to me - twists and other characters. It could be pared down even further if I came at it with fresh eyes, I think. I haven't even mentioned setting yet. This is probably a good thing.
We meet the disenfranchised lordling, learn of his situation and some of his history. He offends a powerful nobe lord, who tricks lordling into gambling away his estates. The noble lord demands immediate payment, forcing the lordling to return to his lands despite the dragon infestation that had rendered them unreachable.
The lordling barely survives travel through the wilderness and is found by the surviving inhabitants of his lands. He swiftly discovers that they curse his name for abandonning them and decides to remain incognito. We see how they have survived the years of isolation. The lordling steps up in the face of impending disaster.
He uses his outsider knowledge to help his subjects back to the main country. There he finds that the noble lord from act 1 has staged a coup and is leading armies against the throne. The veteran troops with our lordling at their head can turn the tide, however a high-ranked officer in this coup is one of lordling's childhood friends and must be confronted first.
The lordling abandons his title, leaving his people to govern themselves.
Hmm. There doesn't seem to be a great deal more information there than was in the single paragraph. This is interesting. I have still not mentioned plenty of stuff I thought to be important. And I wonder how far I can go with not describing the setting. Probably until I start having to define characters.
Coincidentally, step 3 is "characters". That looks like it might be time-consuming. Also the bit I'm not very good at.