I've had an idea for kind of a dark tale for a while that pops into mind occasionally, but I keep ignoring it because I'm not sure I can turn it into anything interesting. In my early days with Dramatica, though, I would try to find a storyform for it as practice and kept putting it into Activity and Learning because of all the things the MC would need to do in the story, but could never find a satisfying form for this tale. But today it occurred to me that I was probably looking at the storytelling (something I still struggle with) rather than the source of the troubles. So of course I had to rush home after work and see if I couldn't find a better form for it.
I was surprised to find that I now think the MC goes in Psychology because I'm not particularly comfortable with that quad. I've decided to share it here just for fun and to see if there are any thoughts on if i'm maybe still in the wrong spot with this one.
This tale was supposed to be in the tradition of a Twilight Zone episode, or maybe Tales from the Dark Side or something. Something short with a bit of a surprise ending. The idea is that a kid sees a death and is traumatized by it. From then on, he's obsessed with knowing what death is like. He eventually decides to dig up a coffin and spend the night in it. Of course things wouldn't end up going as planned.
Ever since a traumatic experience in his childhood, the MC has been obsessed with death. This obsession with death drives his every decision and drives others away from him.
CONCERN: Conceiving an Idea
The MC wonders what it's like to be dead and in a coffin. He doesn't think there's an afterlife, but also can't concieve of death as an end of consciousness. He thinks death must be like being trapped in a cold dark coffin with only your thoughts for all eternity and is incredibly disturbed by this idea.
The MC is always looking for a way to mimic the experience of what he thinks death is. It starts with sitting alone in the dark trying not to think, but when that doesn't work, it builds to him going to a cemetery to dig up a coffin and spend the night inside of it. Over the course of the story, these attempts to experience death cause him to miss out on a lot of life. People think he's weird. Maybe he loses a girlfriend or something when he won't quit talking about death. Maybe it somehow costs him a job or something.
In order to make peace with death, the MC feels he needs to know what it's like to be dead. He feels he needs to recreate the experience so he can process it. Mimicking the experience, he thinks, will somehow allow him to come up with the idea he needs to understand how death is NOT being stuck in a dark coffin with only your thoughts forever. (forgive the awkward wording, still trying to figure this one out)
The MC wants to know what death is like and it's driving him nuts just sitting around wondering. The only way to find out what death is like seems to be to just wait around until you die. But he can't stand it. He wants to know before he dies so he'll be prepared. And besides, it won't help him to know what death is like by actually experiencing it because by then...he'll be dead. Waiting around to die is killing him.
I suppose if he considered the possibility of an afterlife, some way that he could live forever, he might feel protected from the horrors of being trapped in a coffin with only his consciousness, and this would sap his motivation. (I'm not feeling this, haven't considered it much yet)
I don't have a good handle on Reduction. I keep trying to think of it as the MC reducing death to consciuosness trapped in a box. Maybe he determines that death is probably nothing but being stuck in a box?
UNIQUE ABILITY: Need
CRITICAL FLAW: Investigation
The way the MC investigates the death experience doesn't help him to understand death, but leads to death instead.
BENCHMARK: Developing a Plan
SIGNPOST 1: Conceiving an Idea
The MC can't concieve of death not being an existential nightmare.
SIGNPOST 2: Developing a Plan
The MC decides to try to mimc what he thinks the experience of death is like.
SIGNPOST 3: Playing a Role
The MC is essentially trying to "play dead" as he climbs into coffins to feel what being dead is like.
SIGNPOST 4: Changing One's Nature
When the MC digs up a coffin in the rain and climbs into it, the muddy walls cave in on him, trapping him in the coffin. Since the cemetery he's in is out in the country and unused anymore, no one is going to find him and he will eventually die in the coffin.