Serendipity

Inciting Event: After meeting at Bloomingdale’s where they both tried to buy the last pair of black gloves (and subsequently spending a wonderful evening together), Sara writes her phone number in a book and has Jonathan write his address on a five-dollar bill. She spends the five dollars and tells him she will sell the book the next morning. If they’re meant to be together, she will find the five-dollar bill and he will find the book. Then they separate and don’t see each other again for five years.

First Plot Point:

Jonathan’s POV: In the midst of packing for his honeymoon, Jonathan discovers the glove from Bloomingdale’s with the receipt inside. The receipt has Sara’s account number on it, which he decides to use to try to find her. He is entering the “adventure world” of trying one last time to find Sara before he marries someone else.

Sara’s POV: Sara agrees to marry her boyfriend, even though the engagement ring he has given her doesn’t fit (which she takes as a bad sign). She is entering the adventure world of getting married—and abandoning hope of ever finding Jonathan.

First Pinch Point:

Jonathan’s POV: Jonathan learns the number on the Bloomingdale’s receipt belongs to a dead account. His hopes of using the receipt to find Sara are briefly stymied, but he moves forward by bribing the sales clerk to help him search the archives.

Sara’s POV: Sara’s fiancé wants to lengthen their planned European honeymoon to allow him to schedule concert dates for his flute playing while overseas. Sara resists and begins to feel the pinch of possibly having made the wrong choice in agreeing to marry him.

Midpoint:

Jonathan’s POV: In the Bloomingdale’s records archive, Jonathan finally locates Sara’s old address. This is his first solid clue to her whereabouts, which allows him to actively move forward in trying to locate her.

Sara’s POV: Sara decides to go back to New York City in one last attempt to find Jonathan. She stops reacting to her niggling doubts about him and decides to actively pursue the possibility that they are meant to be together—and that fate will allow them to reunite.

Second Pinch Point:

Jonathan’s POV: When the apartment agency that Sara used five years ago turns out to be a bridal shop, Jonathan decides it’s a sign he’s not supposed to find Sara but instead go ahead with his wedding.

Sara’s POV: Sara decides to give up her own search and instead “grow up” and get married. She plans to return to San Francisco the next day.

Third Plot Point:

Jonathan’s POV: Jonathan takes one last crazy chance and goes to San Francisco to Sara’s house—only to see Sara’s sister and her boyfriend through the window. Thinking it’s Sara and that she’s already in a relationship, he gives up and goes back home.

Sara’s POV: After Sara’s boyfriend shows up in New York City—only to once again spend too much time planning his concert tour—she decides to break up with him. Even though this is a victory from the perspective of the overall plot, it’s still a sad moment for her.

Climax: Sara finds out about Jonathan’s wedding, only to discover it’s been canceled. Both she and Jonathan, separately, discover the book with her phone number and the five-dollar bill with his address. Sara rushes to find Jonathan.

Climactic Moment: Jonathan and Sara finally reunite at the skating rink where they spent their evening together five years ago.

Resolution: Jonathan and Sara celebrate their “anniversary” at the glove counter in Bloomingdale’s.

Notes: I’m often asked how stories with multiple POVs should be structured. Should both the POV characters have their own set of plot points? If the characters are separate from one another, the answer is: yes. This movie is a great example of how that works.

However, it’s also worth pointing out that the resultant busyness of all the plot points in the dual plotlines here creates an undesirably choppy pacing. That’s due solely to the short running time of the movie. When you’re dealing with dual plotlines, you need to make sure you’re adjusting the pacing and the overall length of the story to allow for enough growth within each character’s POV.

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