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MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 14, 2010 10:50 am
by ericbrooking
I'm having trouble determining what should be MC or OS Throughlines. Of course on the surface it's easy, what involves the MC personally and what involves everyone. The problem comes when I look at a story like October Sky (Rocket Boys). It seems obvious that the OS Throughline is about perseverance, never give up. It's an inspirational memoir; the problem is that this could easily be the MC Throughline.
I'm writing my memoir and it has a lot of action stories but also emotional challenges. It is an internal and external success story.
1) My life starts positive, optimistic, I thought (and was told) that success would be easy. Dad was my hero.
2) Then the recession of 1974 almost destroyed my family, I lost my optimism, felt lied to, dad no longer hero.
3) Life take a radical turn to the wild side while I at a young age (14).
4) After a false turn around I finally get things going the right way. Change of attitude, success not easy. Change in external actions, finish school. Dad should be hero.
5) I become successful in 2 exciting fields that evolved from my childhood interests and my misguided wild days.
I know that I am the protagonist/MC, my dad as the antagonist (at least as I saw him just after the 74 recession), different friends as other archetype characters.
I can see the OS Throughline as external/out-of-control (wild days stories) =Activity.
Or external/stuck (give false sense of success is easy by others) (recession of 74 turned my world upside down) =Situation.
Or internal/out-of-control (my decisions took me to the wild side) =Manipulation.
Or internal/stuck (I precieve that I was lied to and I'm stuck in an unfamiliar "real" world) =Fixed Attitude.

When I pick any of these I then realize that because it is a memoir and about me, that these elements could be about the OS Throughline or just as easily the MC Throughline. The more I think about this the more I'm getting confused.

And is it about Change, my change in thinking, or is it Steadfast because the one unchanged thing was my need for success and acceptance?

Help, anyone.
P.S. This stuff is tough.

Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 14, 2010 10:54 am
by ericbrooking
I should have said that my dad is the Impact Character and in my eyes took on a different role depending on time period. But I'm not sure how I would enter that into Dramatica.


Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 8:52 am
by Chris Huntley
It sounds like you have two stories going on: the backstory, and the present story. The backstory involves everything that led up to your change into a wild child, and is the setup for the main story.

The main story involves the entrepreneur's (the former wild child at his job) eventual success in the two exciting fields (OS), while trying to reconcile with his father (MC/IC), working through his personal feelings that led to his misguided wild days (MC), and his father's influence on his life (IC).

Does this help?

Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 1:56 pm
by ericbrooking
It feels like 3 parts; the backstory of an Disney-like optimistic world, the fall with its ensuing wild child exploits (which takes up quite a bit of story), then upon my father's death I turn it around and become successful, finally understanding what he meant but too late to say thanks. (Actually upon further review, you're right this is 2 parts the backstory and the story. So I guess I need to get through the backstory fairly quick to get to the Inciting Incident (recession of 74) quickly, yes?)

I think that I (MC) would have Change as the resolve.
I set OS Throughline to Activity because of all the wild action scenes and it is certainly "out of control".
This gives a MC Throughline choice of either Situation or Fixed Attitude. Fixed Attitude gives me the MC Growth of Start which I think is right because I did feel like I had a hole in my heart.
But when I step back and look at it again I think, the MC Throughline should be Activity because I was out of control and the OS Throughline should be Fixed Attitude.

It's tough for me, looking from the inside, to see which way to align this. Looking from the outside if you could help me get on the right track I would appreciate it. I think it will also help illuminate why these kind of choices are made.


Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 2:42 pm
by ericbrooking
And then I start to think again...
Your book says:
"If the actions or decisions taken by the character are what make the problem
worse, then he needs to Stop. If the problem worsens because the character fails to
take certain obvious actions or decisions, then he needs to Start."

I changed my behaivor after the 74 recession and it made things worse, so is it Stop?
I failed to believe my father, so is it Start?
The closer to the trees I am the harder this becomes. Looking at Star Wars seems so much easier. :(

Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 3:27 pm
by ericbrooking
I just realized something important.
Before 74 my father had success and respect but I did not.
Then 74 hit and my father lost almost everything, I lost respect for him, but when I turned into a wild child I gained respect, of sorts. In all the risk taking and wild events I was attempting to "succeed" in life.
Finally my father passes away and I was ashamed of how my life was going, I changed and became successful.
The false respect given to me for my role playing seems to have prolonged my wild child phase and may be a key to the throughlines but I still can't see the right Dramatica choices.

Perhaps the apparent OS Throughline should be stiving for success and acceptance and the Real OS Throughline is learning to live within my own skin? But the bulk of the stories are about shooting the worlds largest fireworks shows and making it in the music industry, so I'm not sure if this fits or is a story overload.

Someone out there is smarter than I am, I would like to see outside views of this, because like the Dramatica Book says:
"Of course, to the character, neither of these perspectives on the problem is obvious, as he must grow and learn to see it."

And since I am the character, perhaps I just haven't grown enough to see it for myself.


Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 20, 2010 4:43 pm
by Chris Huntley
Unlike stories, real life doesn't have "edges." Your personal, real life story is not over so you cannot find the "right" storyform for it.

What you can do is to figure out what story you WANT to tell, then fit the events from your experience that support that story into your work. This also entails editing out the events that do NOT support the story you want to tell. (NOTE: This is one of the reasons it is easier to do a biopic after someone is dead, because there is an apparent ending point in that person's life, if not his story.)

I think you are going to go around and around until you make some storyforming choices...ANY storyforming choices. Once you do that, commit to those choices and move forward. It will be A version of your story, as opposed to THE version of your story (which doesn't really exist).

And have FUN.

Re: MC vs OS Throughlines

Posted: Aug 23, 2010 7:41 am
by ericbrooking
Yep, I had to get down to one story line and working with Jim Hull, who asked me some very insightful questions, I was able to do just that. I'm now on a grand adventure filling out all the Dramatica windows and in the process finding out some very interesting things about myself.