Blog Post

Looking To Tension To Define Structure

Sep 20th, 2016

I mentioned this in the podcast today, but wanted to get it down on paper for all to read: I feel like the substitute semantic values of Overwhelming and Surmountable I wrote about in How to Tell If Your Main Character Faces Overwhelming or Surmountable Odds make a huge difference in analysis. Knowing that the Main Character Throughline is somehow connected to the essence of dramatic tension makes it easier to determine whether the MC is a Do-er or Be-er.

Case in point: a recent student in our From Logline to Treatment FREE E-Course sent us a story where the Main Character faced overwhelming odds--and I mean really, really overwhelming odds. But I wasn't really sure whether the MC was a Do-er or a Be-er. The issues and personal baggage were there, I just couldn't tell if they were dealing with external or internal issues.

That's when I remembered my own article.

The Objective Story Throughline was clearly in Activities and the Story Judgment was clearly Good. With an Overwhelming feeling of dramatic tension, there was only one option left for the Main Character Growth: Stop.

Setting the MC Growth to Stop forces the Main Character Throughline into a Companion relationship with the Objective Story Throughline. In Dramatica, a Companion pair is one in which the two elements of a quad sit side-by-side in a horizontal relationship.

With the Objective Story in Activity, the Main Character Throughline must be in Situation...and only Do-ers find themselves in that Domain.

With confidence I suggested to the Author that her Main Character was a Do-er, suggested a possible Influence Character in Fixed Attitude, and sent her off to flesh out and enliven her story.

Hopefully, I've done the same for you tonight.