Question: Applying Justification Levels to My Story

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Question: Applying Justification Levels to My Story

Postby Geoff1975 » Dec 13, 2012 12:32 pm

I am thrilled with Melanie and Chris having come up with a way to define steadfast and change character growth instead of just making them be one-note. In a tape cassette lecture series, they explained the four levels of justification... which are different between steadfast and change.

My question: I'm foggy on how to sync what they said about shifting paradigms with my IC and MC.
My steadfast IC is like Ben Kenobi, enamored with a spiritual method. So, he's going through the levels in a forward direction. My change MC becomes frustrated her materialistic method doesn't work. She'd be going in reverse. The true problem and solution are in the Psychology domain.

Forward - Steadfast IC (Be-er)
Source of his drive is proving he is a reincarnation of someone famous.
Level 1: He tries to solve the problem externally. Can't be done.
Level 2:

in the Physical domain. Can't be done.
Level 2: He tries
Level 3:
Level 4: he locks into thinking the (physical?) domain is the source of his problem, not the solution.

Reverse - Change MC (Do-er) (the twisted PSR view would be noticeable here)
She must become convinced how important & powerful the spiritual side is.
Level 4: she's been locked into thinking the Psychology domain is the source of her problem, not the solution.
Level 3: equivalent of using one element in place of another (i.e. logic over emotion) has created problems.
Level 2: she deals with how much the Physical domain has shifted (not where the true problem is).
Level 1: she winds up seeing the problem truly was in the Psychology domain all along.

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Re: Question: Applying Justification Levels to My Story

Postby Geoff1975 » Dec 13, 2012 2:44 pm

I'm still open for help, but right now I caught a VERY helpful article in

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Re: Question: Applying Justification Levels to My Story

Postby Chris Huntley » Dec 19, 2012 4:40 pm

I'm not sure which part of which cassette you have referred to, but here are some general thoughts.


Steadfast justification is the process of building up internal walls (barriers) in an attempt to resolve a resistant inequity. The effort to try new ways to resolve the "problems" require greater and greater effort to stay the course. Ultimately, a steadfast character remains steadfast and their inequity (drive) is left unaltered -- even though the apparent internal/external inequity may appear to be in balance.


A change character begins with a back story where it was a steadfast character who built up justifications in order to hide the inequity to create the appearance of balance. The change character comes preloaded with these justifications and the character growth comes in the form of having those justifications (internal barriers) torn down, act by act. Ultimately, the change character has all justifications removed and addresses the original inequity (established in the back story) by choosing the alternate approach to resolving the inequity.


One area I think you are getting into trouble is treating the Change and Steadfast characters independently in your story. That is not the way it works. The Main Character is the center of the personal thread (whether change or steadfast) and the Influence Character is only important in its capacity to impact the main character.

In Star Wars, Obi Wan goes from having Luke think about the Force, to getting Luke to let the Force run through him, to being remembered by Luke, to instructing Luke to follow his feelings and use the Force. The IC throughline is not so much about the IC but how the IC influences the MC so that the MC GROWS.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.

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