Obstacle Character Throughline vs Subjective Throughline

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Chris Huntley
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Obstacle Character Throughline vs Subjective Throughline

Postby Chris Huntley » May 30, 2008 9:53 am

Unregistered(d) -- Obstacle Character Throughline vs Subjective Throughline

The text below is from the Dramatica Theory Book. I cant distinguish between the two ideas.

Obstacle Character Throughline: "the exploration of his impact on the Main Character is the Obstacle Character Throughline"

Subjective Story Throughline: "the steadfast resolution of one will force the other to change"

xboxbo Re: Obstacle Character Throughline vs Subjective Throughline #1

I wonder if anyone is reading this anymore, but I think this would be one explanation:
Obstacle Character Throughline represents the view of the OBSTACLE CHARACTER ONLY, while the Subjective Story Throughline represents the RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAIN AND OBSTACLE CHARACTER.

engnorway1 Re: Obstacle Character Throughline vs Subjective Throughline #2

You are absolutely right xboxbo. The obstacle character (also called the Impact Character) is generally explored separately from the other through lines because it is a unique perspective on the overall story, same as the Subjective Story (also called the Main vs Impact Character Throughline), Main Character and Objective Throughlines.

Chris Huntley RE: Obstacle Character vs. Subjective Throughline #3

I find that looking at the throughlines in pairs provides a useful context within which gaining an understanding of each of the throughlines is easier.

For example, the Main Character (MC) throughline is juxtaposed against the Impact (Obstacle) Character (IC) throughline. The MC has one view of the world which is contrasted by an alternative view held by the IC. The MC has some unresolvable personal issues that his perspective can't seem to eliminate. The IC perspective, as an alternative to the MC perspecitve, offers the potential for resolving those issues. The fact that this alternative perspective exists is what provides the impact on the MC's potential complacency. Without the IC throughline, the MC might be able to tell himself that there's nothing to be done about the personal issues, they can't be resolved. The IC provides that thorn in the MC's psyche which points out that there is an alternative.

So, the Impact Character throughline is understood as an alternative world view to that of the Main Character's world view. And the mere existence of this alternative impacts the MC by preventing the MC from accepting his personal issues as unresolvable.

The Subjective Story throughline acts as the counter to the Overall (Objective) Story throughline. The OS sees everything from a distant, dispassionate, third person perspective. The SS sees everything from a close-in, passionate, inclusive perspective. Whereas the OS sees character relationships like chess pieces on a chess board, the SS explores the dynamic relationships between characters, most specifically the MC and IC. In the SS, it is the RELATIONSHIP that is the subject of the throughline. For example, you can talk about a marriage or a partnership as an entity even though that marriage or partnership is comprised of individuals. That relationship can be growing or dying or happy or sad, etc. By contrast, the OS looks at character relationships more dispassionately -- who's winning or losing, etc.

Ultimately, it takes all four perspectives to show how everything fits together, to show the overall meaning of the story. Without all four perspectives (OS, SS, MC, IC), you leave room for your audience to fill in blanks in the story--and they may not fill them in the way you might expect them to.

-- Chris
Chris Huntley
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