Story plot development, Part 2

Yesterday I jotted down a few lines about the snag I came upon mid-way through the writing of the 3rd episode for the television series I'm developing.  It was just a quick reflection on what had happened. Yet, thinking about the situation in a broader dimension - how prepared can any of us be even when we try to think of everything?

Inability to ever be totally prepare is something that I've come up against time and again in life. And even when I try to learn from past experiences and be better prepared the next time around, I often still find myself lacking something, some kind of information, some angle that did not occur to me.  In Episode 3 I thought I had it all worked out - how the episode will unravel, who the characters will be, the touchpoints to earlier episodes.  Still, I found myself unprepared. My inability to structure the visual introduction to the industry - in this case rubber manufacturing and exporting - left me stuck.  To be sure, I thought that having a wealthy industrialist who's made his money in this sector would be enough. I'd have my character approach him and lay out the case for the financing of the venture. Yet, it was not enough. Not at all. As I began writing, it very quickly occurred to me that the story is rather poor. There is no rich background, no conflict, no proper set up. It all came crashing down.

Preparation bestows confidence. The more prepared we are (I am), the more confident we (I) feel about the task at hand.  Having the background knowledge and having anticipated possible obstacles gives a sense of accomplishment, as it rightly should. To do all of this takes time and effort. Yet it's never complete, is it? Maybe a better question is - can it ever be complete? All this work before hand - can it ever capture the whole picture? Sometimes what I find is the more I try to anticipate all the possible problems, the longer I think about something the more fixated I become on the minutiae.  The big picture starts eluding me and I forget the overarching theme I'm trying to convey.  Other times, it's just the opposite, just like it happened with Episode 3. I thought I had everything I needed but came up short in the end. 

Maybe that's just how it is.  Life is unpredictable. Even our past experience is never a mirror image of the future situations we are going to encounter.  Trying to predict everything's going to happen, every turn of the story, every possible question is like trying to solve the mystery of life itself.  And how interesting would life be in the end if we (I) could anticipate everything single thing that is going to happen?  So, admittedly, while I'm frustrated (still) that I couldn't finish my episode on time, I'm also strangely happy.  Because of this snag, I got to learn about an industry I don't know anything about, about manufacturing something that is, really of little interest to  me otherwise.  In the process of this research, I was also able to find a touchpoint to another development in the story that I previously decided to abandon. Now the two parts come together perfectly! The story is richer. The characters are more well-rounded. And my frustration is slowly turning into satisfaction.  Keeping an open mind and recognizing that I can't possible anticipate everything but have to be nimble enough to navigate through the unexpected is what I learned from all this. And it's a good lesson for the rest of my life.

Story plot development

And so, it happened again. I've come to a sticking point in the third episode of the television series I'm developing.  It happened quite unexpectedly as I thought I had the entire episode well planned.  I did, in part.  About 50% of the story went smoothly - scenes, lines, connecting points - all of it. Then I hit a snag and just like that words dried up. I managed to eke out a couple of pages of good stuff and that's it.  

So, in my attempt to find out what went wrong I was looking over my outline. There it is - not enough research for this particular part of the episode.  I thought I had done enough but I didn't. Not enough specifics anyway.

To put a perspective on this - the story takes place between Russia and France in the early 20th century.  My character is looking to raise funds for a venture. He has to approach wealthy industrialists to do that.  The source of funds, I got that.  How they make money, I got that.  I thought the dialogue and the scenes would just flow, like the rest of the episode. What I didn't anticipate is that I would have to research the industry where the money is made way more thoroughly than I had done.  Without it I can't create enough visual scenes to tell the story.

That's my task for the rest of the day - research and think. Connect the dots....Tomorrow's task - finish Episode 3.