I’ve been working through purpose for a while and feel pretty good about it. For Methodology and below I’m pretty much unpacking/figuring it out as I type.
In that everything should be seen in terms of the Storymind, i think this has to be correct. I think typically we see characters espousing the story’s evaluations (such as when Scrooge refuses to give and suggests that Cratchit is picking his pocket by taking time off on Christmas, or when Scrooge’s nephew invites him to dinner) and we assign those evaluations to the characters themselves.
But look at-and apologies if you haven’t seen it-Saving Mr Banks. In that story you see Pamela setting up Preconditions (no animation, don’t use the color red, always say Mary Poppins and not just Mary). In that sense, she, like Scrooge, seems to be espousing the story’s evaluations. But if we think of evaluations not just as “how Preconditions create conflict” but as the stories appraisal, or judgment, of Preconditions, then I think we can see that Preconditions isn’t actually illustrated by Pamela setting Preconditions. Instead, it’s illustrated when the characters around Pamela set a high value, or importance, on meeting these Preconditions. Because the story values Preconditions, the characters in the story will strive to meet them. If the story did not value Preconditions, the characters would surely work to subvert or escape them.
I’m not sure how familiar you are with this site or the reason I started digging into this. But essentially, Dramatica appreciations were mostly looked at, as far as I could tell, as a source of conflict. I had sort of looked at how Purpose et al could be used here and there, but never got too deep into it. Then Jim went on a bit of a “genre” kick and how an appreciation could be seen as more than just a source of conflict. That spurred me to start digging into Purpose again and see how it might help add to the practical side of the theory. I assume what we’ve been discussing has all been thoroughly explored by Melanie and Chris and Jim, but it’s all new to me and so I assume it’s probably new to others as well.
I think that the focus on source of conflict was probably necessary for most because that helps newcomers figure out how to properly illustrate an appreciation with conflict. Because of how important conflict is, I started this journey assuming that Purpose might end up being a way to double check your source of conflict. That is, after determining that the pirates experience conflict from physically engaging in piracy, you could support that by showing that the story’s Purpose was to have the pirates find the treasure by engaging in piracy.
But look at how many times on this board it’s been said that you cant determine the source of conflict for just one throughline because just one throughline can look like anything. For instance, our OS could be about pirates fighting, or the nature of being pirates, or how pirates are cut throats, or how pirates believe in the code. Until you lock down the other throughlines, this throughline could go anywhere. But if you look at Purpose prior to looking at source of conflict, I think it becomes easier to lock down a single throughline. “Finding”, in an external sense, would be hard pressed to fit anywhere other than Physics.
That’s not to say that any “ing” word that you can put in a Purpose tells you what the Purpose is. For instance, if ones Purpose is “surviving the curse”, then the Universal problem of being cursed might have the emphasis rather than the surviving. But if you can determine the purpose to be to survive the curse, you probable already know that being cursed is a Universe problem and not Physics. And if there’s confusion, then looking at source of conflict is how you can check your work. Does the act of surviving create conflict? No? Does being stuck with a curse create conflict? Yes? Then the purpose of surviving the curse is a Universe problem.
But that’s just when analyzing. Now look at using Purpose prior to “SOC”’when building a story. How does determining that engaging in piracy creates conflict push the story’s message? If you start with that, then the story doesn’t even have a message yet. But if we know first that the story intends to show us the pirates finding the treasure and then use that to see that physically engaging in piracy creates conflict, then we have a little bit of the story’s message already. “Though engaging in piracy will bring conflict, it is also how the treasure will be found”.
And I started this story without a message, but if I had known before starting that the villagers and not the pirates would be the focus of this story, then we would know that “when others engage in piracy, we will lose our treasure”. So far those are statements and not arguments. But they’re still a lot more to go on than “engaging in piracy causes conflict”.