"is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

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phillybudd
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"is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

Postby phillybudd » Mar 16, 2010 10:26 am

I am struggling with the way in which problems (or symptoms) are defined. Looking at the Four Throughlines Themes Report for my story, I see this:

... some see Inequity as causing the problem and Equity as the means to resolve it. Others are convinced that Projection is at the heart of the problem and Speculation will best solve it. (The Projection/Speculation pair belong to the Impact character's symptom/response.)

The problem I'm struggling with here is this: the main character absolutely sees that Inequity IS the problem. And while my impact character certainly does Project a great deal, he doesn't think that Projection IS the problem -- rather, his Projections are the source of what he believes his problems are. And this "source of" definition complies with the example the software gives from To Kill a Mockingbird.

So, expressed as pseudo-dialog:

both pairs defined AS the problem:
"We have inequity here, and need equity to correct it."
"I project too much, and need to speculate more."

First pair AS the problem, second pair as SOURCE OF the problem:
"We have inequity here, and need equity to correct it."
"I foresee abc happening in the future based on what I know of the past. It's possible that xyz could also happen."

The second set of pairs feels utterly like oil and water to me and do not seem to bear any dramatic connection to each other.

Any thoughts? I hope I've been clear...

Thanks,

Jeff

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Chris Huntley
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Re: "is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

Postby Chris Huntley » Mar 21, 2010 7:52 am

Hi Jeff --

By definition, the MC Problems IS the source of conflict/inequity (for a Change character). The thing that appears to be the problem is the MC Symptom. This is from an objective, outside of the character point of view, meaning you, the author, look AT the character and objectively see the truth of things.

For steadfast characters, it is a bit different. First of all, the MC Symptom is seen as the cause of personal issues, and the MC Problem is his source of motivation, his drive.

An MC with baggage cannot recognize the MC Problem as the source of his inequity (Change character). He is blind to it. Literally. Only after he grows can he recognize the MC Problem's part in his predicament. By contrast, a Steadfast MC may be aware of the source of his drive, but he focuses on trying to resolve the MC Symptom. Once he takes the last step, at the equivalent of a leap of faith, he will no longer be able to see his MC Problem.

I hope this helps. If not, please continue asking away.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

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phillybudd
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Re: "is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

Postby phillybudd » Mar 22, 2010 3:09 am

Thanks, Chris.

Well, that sort of helps... but my real issue -- and I'm probably trying to be too black-and-white about this -- has to do with the relationship between the MC's problem/solution/symptom/response and those of the IC.

Maybe a little more detail would be helpful.

My MC is a change character. His problem/solution pair is Inequity/Equity and his symptom/response pair is Control/Chaos. He definitely sees inequity as his (and the others in his same boat) problem. The "control" symptom, as far as he is concerned, is "tradition", and he wishes to overturn those traditions, and becomes a rabble-rouser. So the control/chaos pair seems to fit into that very well.

My IC is therefore steadfast, and his problem/solution pair is Desire/Ability and his symptom/response pair is Projection/Speculation. He does NOT see Desire as the problem, which I believe is correct according to the theory. What he DOES do is PROJECT his knowledge of the past into the future (and is almost always wrong). But here's where I get confused. Is he supposed SEE Projection AS his problem?? Because I can't quite wrap my mind around that idea. His Projections certainly are a SOURCE of problems for him and the MC, but I don't believe he sees it that way.

Of course now that I say all of this, I realize the question it begs is: OK, so what DOES he see as the problem?

The OS goal and concern is Memories. As I've suggested in other posts here my IC is the protagonist, and his goal is to protect and even "restore" memories. My MC is young and inexperienced and has no memories of the past that the IC does.

I hope that clarifies my question.

Thanks!!

Jeff

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Re: "is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

Postby Chris Huntley » Mar 30, 2010 8:54 am

Since the IC throughline is not the PERSONAL throughline, but the throughline about the perspective that influences the MC, it is not important for the IC to be aware that Projection causes conflict -- it's important that it DOES cause conflict.

If your IC does not see PROJECTION as the source of his troubles directly, he may likely be looking at the effect of those projections as the source of his troubles. Then, he might speculate as to why those problems happened and speculate possible solutions to the difficulties.

Does that work with what you have in mind?
Chris Huntley
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phillybudd
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Re: "is" the problem vs. "source of" the problem?

Postby phillybudd » Mar 30, 2010 11:53 am

Yes, that was just what I needed. Thanks. :)


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