Michael Moorcock's Summary of Lester Dent's Method
I'll get to a blow-by-blow of Dent's method shortly but here's a summary, courtesy of Michael Moorcock:
"... split your six-thousand-word story up into four fifteen hundred word parts. Part one, hit your hero with a heap of trouble. Part two, double it. Part three, put him in so much trouble there's no way he could ever possibly get out of it. ... All your main characters have to be in the first third. All your main themes and everything else has to be established in the first third, developed in the second third, and resolved in the last third. (Lester Dent, Wikipedia)"
Note: When I talk about Dent's method, below, much of it is a paraphrase.