Live your life like it's a Netflix series
Your life is made of seasons.
Each should have a beginning, middle and end.
The beginning should have a hook. A statement of what you want to achieve. Obstacles you think you’ll need to overcome.
The middle will go up and down. Obstacles will be overcome, new obstacles will appear. The goals and objectives you wanted will become centered on what you need instead. You may even hit setbacks. In fact you should hit set backs. All great stories have the hero hitting low points, possibly their lowest, just before they rally.
How else will you know that the story is moving forward?
The end means wrapping up some plot points, some characters growing, some characters having the reward of an emotional resolution.
But not all.
Because there will be later seasons. More stories to build upon.
Sometimes you need 10 episodes. Sometimes 24. Sometimes (to the horror of the studio execs) you’ll need an odd number of episodes.
The important thing is to not take 24 when you need 6.
Maybe just a pilot episode to know that particular story won’t work.
Answer questions at the end of the season that you need answering. You’re writing the story but you’re also the audience. In fact you’re the only audience member that matters. Write the story you want to watch.
But don’t be afraid to keep a few answers back.
In fact, throughout the season you should be asking more questions. Questioning the answers you get and maybe seeking different ones.
The plot you choose should throw up new and exciting questions.
You get to choose which ones you answer, which ones you don’t.
Choose what mysteries, open boxes, and questions you take forward to the next season.
You also get to choose which characters make it.
Old characters that no longer move the plot forward can take a back seat. Don’t worry, they’ll get their own spin-off if they want it. But you don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to.
New characters pop up. Become firm fan favourites.
If plot twists appear to back you into a corner, don’t worry. That’s the stuff of great drama. It may seem like hell at the time but you’ll look back on it as a watershed moment. A real ratings driver. The moment people realised what this story, YOUR story, is truly about.
And don’t forget the setting.
Your setting should encourage, support, and challenge the story. Where the hero chooses to call home, where they work, where they chill. Without the right setting you’ll find the story falls flat.
You even get to choose the magic system.
Is it one built on the powerful foundation of shared family values that inspire and propel feats of unimaginable power?
Is it an affinity with animals that enhances and strengthens your connection with the world?
Is it hatha and ashtang yoga? Mindful techniques? Date days with your partner? Stranger Things with your daughter? Reading fantasy books with your son? Bike rides round the lakes of Italy? The brewing of potions the rest of the world calls gin?
You get to choose the things that change your state of mind. The things that put you in a state to help others adopt a more positive state of mind.
Have a distinct story arc throughout each season. Be different at the end of the season to what you were at the beginning. Be purposeful, but listen to your gut if you need to twist the plot in a different direction.
In the Crown, Elizabeth takes control of her destiny with strength and humility, moving through the seasons from privilege to duty.
The Bodyguard showed David coming to terms with his tragic backstory and embracing the emotional connections and compassion that allowed him to be the best version of himself, no matter the personal physical and emotional risk.
Stranger Things shows that no matter your age you can make choices that will inspire and encourage, as well as the people and companies you choose to live amongst having a profound impact upon your life.
Technology has even got to the point where can choose what happens in the stories we watch for entertainment.
We’ve been able to do that with our own stories since we sat around camp fires.
Figure out what this season will be about for you.
Write the story you want to watch.
Go write this season of your own series