Order of MC & IC Signposts

Come here to ask questions or give advice about the theory that forms the basis of Dramatica.
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Order of MC & IC Signposts

Postby phillybudd » Sep 22, 2010 10:58 am


being now quite a way into my story, I've gone back to read the beginning, and realize I have an opportunity to create some mystery and tension around my MC -- but this would involve putting my Signposts 1 in the order OS - IC - MC - SS.

I do understand that putting the IC "on stage" before the MC arrives could create some confusion, but I'm going to give it a try in any case. Even before he arrives, the MC is the one everyone's attention is on.

I'm wondering if you could speak to this as far as the theory goes -- am I reversing roles by changing the Signpost 1 order in this way?



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Re: Order of MC & IC Signposts

Postby VTFischwire » Sep 23, 2010 8:41 am

As far as I know there is nothing wrong with this as far as the theory goes. There is something about laying out all the signpost 1's before starting into the signpost 2's, but nothing about the order that the 1's have to appear in.
From a building mystery point of view, I think it is perfectly acceptable and even desirable to introduce the IC first. It is kind of like the old switcheroo then. It is like a magician who says look over here, then pulls a rabbit out of his hat over there. Not sure if that is a good example.
Actually though Brian Kietly mentions this technique of introducing someone who is not the hero (term he uses I believe) then switching it up as a very good thing to do. It keeps the audience on their toes.

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Re: Order of MC & IC Signposts

Postby ogdencl » Oct 26, 2010 5:19 pm

I don't see anything wrong with starting the IC throughline before the MC throughline, but I can't offhand think of any stories that use the ambiguity between the IC and the MC as a source of mystery or tension. There are, of course, many stories (e.g., The Sixth Sense) where story points or elements don't become apparent until after some twist. At the very least, I think you'd want to make sure that after the MC throughline begins, the audience knows that they had been appreciating the story under a false assumption.

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