Plot Tuning and Thickening
Looking over yesterday's plot work, I'm still pretty happy with it. I'm also still a bit stumped with how to proceed, however. I tried out a few "major setback" options to see how they felt, but I'm not sure I've found one I like yet. Everything I mapped out yesterday seemed to flow pretty logically and satisfyingly until this step.
The more I struggled with it, I started wondering if the problem might be that I'm trying too hard to rigidly fit the screenplay model. In other words, I'm trying to make this next plot beat the big setback before the climax, when the story might need additional beats before this point (or after).
As an experiment, I decided to try moving a few things around, so they happen earlier in the story. And that freed up other things to happen towards the end, instead. That might be an interesting way to structure things, so I'm leaving that in place for now.
In particular, maybe it opens up the possibility of answering a few more questions about Philip's mystery besides who he is/was. Perhaps he should have some time in this story after that discovery to decide what to do about it. And that got me thinking about whether Philip could be presented with an important choice about redefining himself. Maybe this self-reflection is the midpoint of the story? What screenwriters call "the point of no return?"
That might actually make for a more satisfying story, since it puts more control in the players' hands, and offers meaningful choice. Of course, the onus would then be on me to make that choice have some satisfying consequence, which is no small task.
I guess today actually was pretty productive, in that light. Not a lot of written text to show for it, but some significant rethinking and organizing. Still hard work, in any case. Forcing my brain to stay on task with this sort of abstract thinking is really difficult, especially for long enough spans of time to get any appreciable decisions made. Decision fatigue racks-up quickly in this type of work.
But I'm still pretty excited about the way plot's turning out, so that's a good sign. Just gotta keep that enthusiasm going long enough to finish the organizing, and then write actual encounter text!