pp. Outlining the principal stages by which a story unfolds.
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The media strategy was coordinated in part by the Office of Global Communications, a sort of para-information unit associated with the political wing of the White House. The unit, staffed by a team of young and intensely political communications operatives, was created to shape the American message. (They portrayed the Afghanistan conflict as a war of liberation for Afghanistan's oppressed women.) The unit's plan for the Iraq war, mimicking the real war plan, was to orchestrate the dynamics of the information "battlefield" and to control the outcome-the message of the war. (The Bush Administration's fixation on "story-lining" the war could have unexpected consequences—especially in the search for weapons of mass destruction.)
—Peter J. Boyer, “The new war machine,” The New Yorker, June 30, 2003
If I were storylining Debbie's fate, I'd make the poor soul increasingly sexually precocious.
—Lynda Gilby, “ Soaps on the box: Emmerdale; From here to paternity,” Sunday Life, April 13, 2003
1992 (earliest)
Smith has a successful formula, but perhaps the ingredients are now too obvious. All three Renko books concern smuggling, be it of furs, drugs, or fine art, and their plots hinge on Renko working from clues hidden on audio or videotape. Smith cheerfully accepts that repetitions occur, but his blitheness implies that storylining isn't too important.
—David Pascoe, “Moscow rules,” Sunday Times of London, September 27, 1992
A storyline (1941) is, specifically, an outline of a story's principal stages or, more generally, the plot of a story. It's most often applied to film scripts, but it's also used with novels, plays, TV scripts, and other types of narrative works. (It began life as the phrase story line, had a long story-line phase, but is now most often seen in the integrated storyline form.) However, as the example citations make clear, storylining is also being used in more worldly contexts.