Over the holiday, while working away on my book, the follow-up to Save the Cat! (that has so much new information on genre that I am really having fun writing it, and can’t wait for you to see it), I was watching my favorite movie ever: Lawrence of Arabia.

I saw something this time (enhanced in later versions of this classic)… it all starts with a map.

After his motorcycle mishap, when we first meet Peter O’Toole as Lawrence in Cairo, he is in the basement of British headquarters, looking at a map of Arabia and surroundings. Geography plays a big part in this monumental tale, particularly helpful when Lawrence decides to attack Aqaba “…from the land.”

This initial scene with Lawrence hovering over a geographic snapshot of what will become the landscape of our story, shows how an overview and knowledge of what we can expect “out there” is vital. In the film, and in history (by coincidence I am re-reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence — even more remarkable in light of current events), the secret of Lawrence’s success was knowledge of the terrain… and having a plan. And we should all follow his example.

When we look out over the map of 2007, what is our plan?

Do we have a set goal of how many scripts we are going to write? A set number of new contacts we are going to make? What can we do with our knowledge of the landscape to change events to our advantage? And what do we hope to accomplish by journey’s end? On December 31, 2007, will we say that we met all our goals? Some? None? Do we have a Variety article in mind with a headline about us?

It all starts with a map.

Take a moment to “beat out” the plot points of your year ahead. What do you expect to happen out there, and what can you do to make it happen?

My map includes Vancouver and Austin in the first quarter of 2007 and I am really excited about both these events. I want to meet more of you this year. I want you to succeed with your writing like you never have. And I plan on bringing you the best information and insight possible to do just that.

What are your plans for the year? Log in and commit!