Change MC - Bad

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Change MC - Bad

Postby VTFischwire » Oct 20, 2010 10:30 pm

I have a change main character who the software says ends with a judgment of bad. The story is a success.
I finally got around to just making up throw away stories with the software in order to get a better handle of it. I started with Fairy Tales as Chris suggests, but have moved on to Spin-The-Model stories where I am trying to encode things according to the software's choices. It is like the story embroidery from the podcast that I enjoy so much.
So after Spinning-the model, I am left with a situation character whose problem is hinder and solution is help. The whole story (I can go into detail because it is not one I'm planning to actually write) is about winning a race in space (Activity - Obtaining). The MC hinders by sabotaging the other racers either by physically doing things to their ships or giving misinformation about the direction of the race or whatever.
If he changes he would become help instead of hinder. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around how this is a negative direction or how he could end with a judgment of bad. And also if he does have a bad judgment after changing does that mean he should have remained steadfast?
Also the issue of my story is Attitude, I was thinking this could represent how people feel about the race, while initially it was run by the most noble of warriors lately it is about the dirtiest tricks win. Thus people don't have the same attitude about the race. It is no longer seen as a great thing just as trashy entertainment. Is this correct?
As far as the counter-point approach is concerned, perhaps it could be how people run the race. Some still try to run it clean without any dirty tricks while others will do whatever they can to win.
Well I am done musing. Please let me know how changing to help can result in a judgment of bad, and also if attitude and approach are correctly encoded like that.

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Re: Change MC - Bad

Postby VTFischwire » Oct 21, 2010 11:01 am

I'm pretty sure I have had one major Dramatica Epiphany today.
So the MC changes and is worse off for it (in terms of his personal problems). This means that he should have remained steadfast and not changed, by changing he ends the story with a judgment of bad.
So if he goes from Hinder to Help, Hindering was actually the right direction to take in order to solve his personal problem. But how can that (hinder) be see as the solution to anything? And if he changes and helps people and in the end wins the race because of it shouldn't he feel good?
It was at this point that I recalled the thing about Language makes judgments on what terms are good (socially acceptable) and what are bad (socially frowned upon). I believe the original example is how our culture would say morality is better than self-interest but the reverse would be true in a country like Brazil.
Anyways this all brought me around to he fact that hinder in and of itself is not a good nor a bad thing, much the same as help can be good or highly negative if you are helping the wrong people.
So everyone is involved in this race and how to sabotage the other racers. They believe that the only way to truly win is to cheat. Then along comes the MC (who is also the protagonist) he wants to restore the race to it's former glory when it was based on virtue and merit and not who could play the dirtiest.
His crew of course want (and feel the need) to cheat, this is the only way anybody has won the race for the last 100 years. The MC hinders their efforts to cheat at every turn.
No for the part where he shouldn't change and ends up with a judgment of bad.
He sees victory slipping away as his honest, play by the rules, ship falls further and further behind in the race. He gives in to his crews demands and helps them cheat in order to win. Which he does.
And though he wins all his ideas about winning honestly and the former glory of true champions, no longer rings true for him.
And that is how we can have a Success/Bad Story with the problem of Hinder and the Solution of Help.
Is this on the right track as Dramatica sees it?

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Re: Change MC - Bad

Postby phillybudd » Oct 25, 2010 3:38 am

Sounds to me like you're on the right track there.

One of the things I struggled with when I first started reading and using Dramatica was the "redefinition" of words to mean subtly different things than they mean in daily discourse. But as you say here, once I grasped that the new definitions were necessary to "neutralize" these terms so that they were neither good nor bad, and in the context of a particular story could be either good or bad. To use your example, Help would seem to be a positive generally. But as you say if you're helping the wrong people -- or if your help is causing harm -- then Help is negative.

I posted a while back about a story I'm working on, in which Dramatica gave my main character a problem of Protection and a solution of Inaction. Boy, did that feel backwards at first! It wasn't until later that I got it: that at the height of the MC throughline, he must choose NOT to act, to allow things to run their course as the best solution. So Protection has been causing trouble, and Inaction will solve it.

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