Need help with Throughline Confusion

Discuss the practical use of Dramatica. Have questions about how throughlines should be used, how to create Complex Characters or even the various combinations of the 12 Essential Questions and how they will affect your story go here.
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Need help with Throughline Confusion

Postby gabriel17 » Sep 19, 2009 2:52 pm

I'm experiencing a bit of confusion regarding the best way to present the conflict between
my main and impact characters in my story.

The main points are these.

1) The OS is about a war that is being waged between two groups of people.

2) The SS is about the relationship between a mentor-father and a student-son

3) The MC is a religious acolyte who is convinced that he has a firm understanding of
his people's spiritual path (Fixed Attitude). He uses his religion as a refuge from
certain elements of the OS story that terrify him.

4) The IC is an outcast from the religious order who has a physical condition that
requires him to take regular supplies of a particular kind of natural medicine.

5) The IC, who is the father of the MC, has a greater understanding of their
spirituality and is determined to teach it to his son.

6) Throughout the story, the MC resists the efforts of the IC, but by the end he
questions his own understanding and learns to face the things that he fears instead
of running away from them. (MC Resolve - Change)

My confusion lies in understanding where to place points 5 and 6.

Since the IC character causes the MC to change, does this mean that point 5 belongs
in the IC Throughline? The IC's physical condition, his status as an outcoast and his
greater understanding of the family's religion all originate from the same set of events in
the distant past, so keeping them together in the same throughline would seem to make sense.
But then this raises the question of what exactly is the situation that is being explored -
his status as an outcast, his physical condition or both at the same time?

Regarding point 6, where do I place the conflict between them that causes the MC to
change? Does this belong in the Subjective Story as part of the relationship between the
father and son? Or should it arise naturally from the interaction between the MC and IC
Is the subjective Story Throughline a part of the process that leads to the MC's
growth, or is something compeletely separate that has nothing to do with it at all?

I think I'm too deep in the woods to see the trees, so any kind of outside
perspective would be greatly appreciated.

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Need help with Throughline Confusion

Postby Chris Huntley » Oct 06, 2009 11:10 am

It should be the IC's Situation that impacts the MC, so it is the father's physical condition that forces the MC to question his rigid spiritual understanding, not the IC's greater understanding except as it relates to his physical condition (perhaps his view is more inclusive than that of the MC).

The relationship throughline provides the emotional argument that counterbalances the logical argument of the Overall Story throughline. The father/son (or mentor/student) relationship compares and contrasts the war waged by the two groups of people.

The IC's status as outcast and physical condition can both be aspects of his Situation throughline if you wish. The appropriateness depends on the specifics of that throughline. If they both tie equally well to the Concern, Issue, and Problem, then they can both be used. If only one works for all aspects of the throughline, then use that one as the specific "situation" to explore for the IC.

The MC's development (Growth and Resolve) are part of the MC throughline, though they do not happen in a vacuum. The IC's development (i.e. change of tactics or approach as indicated by the IC Signpost progression) works to counterpoint the MC's development/Signpost progression. It's not that it happens in any specific place, but between them. Therefore, put it anywhere you want so long as you have it in your story. The audience will sort it all out and understand how it fits together.

The entire story describes how ALL factors in the story develop in relationship to everything else in the story. As long as they are tied together by the storyform, illustrating the individual story points and weaving them together will provide the sound foundation on which the story (characters, themes, plots, and genre) makes your argument to the audience.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.

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Joined: Jul 19, 2008 4:16 am

Re: Need help with Throughline Confusion

Postby gabriel17 » Oct 08, 2009 1:05 am

Thanks a lot Chris. Your reply has cleared up a lot of confusion for me regarding the Impact Character. I had a lot of elements included in his Siutation and Concern that were giving me trouble, but now they've been focussed into the elements that are causing him problems. From that I now have a clearer picture of what he's dealing with.
You've been a big help. Thank you.

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