Was just reading 188.8.131.52.2, quoted here in part:
*"The Subjective view is as if the Story Mind were our own. From this perspective, only two characters are visible: Main and Impact. The Main and Impact Characters represent the inner conflict of the Story Mind. In fact, we might say a story is of two minds. In real life, we often play our own devil's advocate, entertaining an alternative view as a means of arriving at the best decision. Similarly, the Main and Impact Characters make the Story Mind's alternative views tangible. To the audience of a story, the Main Character experience is as if the audience was one of the players on the field. The Impact Character is the player who blocks the way.**
...Objective Characters represent dramatic functions; Subjective Characters represent points of view.
I've been having trouble understanding how two characters could both be subjective. The Main Character, well, that's easy to understand: it's the skin the reader or viewer temporarily slips into to experience the story.
So how can the Impact Character be subjective?
Well, Wittgenstein said in his later days that philosophy was basically about clearing up misunderstandings caused by language, and I think that's a bit of the case here: meaning, I think "subjective", Wallace Shawn, i do not think it means what you think it means. Or rather, I think it means two things, when applied to Main and Impact Characters.
The thing is, about the story mind, it's an analog for the human mind and the story process, but it's not the human mind itself. In a strange way, it's possible to have two subjective points of view, and for that we have to go to someone with mental illness, like me: I have Dissociative Disorder, meaning the internal voices of conscience and anti-conscience (you know, that guy, the Devil), are a bit more real than they should be, and persistent, and I have to quiet them down willfully throughout the day or they 'displace' my normal subjective point of view, until I remember to take back the throne. Just part of my life, and been that way so long, I don't know how the rest of you live. The interesting thing about these internal voices is that when you occupy them, they are indistinguishable from the, for lack of a better word, Main Character--me. Me me, I mean.
How we think of the Christian Devil in stories is a great analogy, actually, or Hannibal Lecter--you know, those soft whispering voices that tell you your worst fears or depict your worst self to you (or your crazy fantasies of being with Anne Hathaway or of being a Rock Star). They're not really 'other people'--even though we characterize them that way in a movie or a book. That's actually sleight of hand. The Impact Character is not "just another person" in the book. it's the externalized version of an internal voice that you hear all day long in your own head--the 'devil's advocate' and so on. That's why it's not an objective character, but still not you.
If I had my druthers, I'd call it The Externalized Inner Voice character, because if it's a good one, it's probably going to know more about your Main Character than he/she does him/herself.
I'd call the two Subjective-Main and Subjective-Internal, just to get it straight in my own head. This is a cultural failing--those voices are utterly real, most of us have them, and we have no name, or only trivial names for them, but they play a huge part in our lives.
Suggestion - storytelling is at least in part a desperate attempt to come to terms with those voices in an external arena, and it's the closest we have to having a way to tell people 'what it's really like' inside our own head. That's when a story 'feels right'--when it's giving someone that true internal voice that speaks really only to the Main Character in its truest words. At least, so it claims--but it might be lying. Those voices have their own agendas, based on inner drives we've chosen to supplant with consciousness, and you can't trust them to give you good ideas. But you can trust them to be true to themselves, because they don't have an interfering conscience, the way a MC does. (For that matter, when a scene pops up in your head, from you know not where, that's yet another manifestation of internal pov, giving you dramtizations like gifts.)
And the fact is, I think we often hope between the MC and IC pov in a story, most often in the middle. At first he's internal, then, like someone with dissociative disorder, the MC is in danger of being displaced by the IC (so stories like Face Off), then at the end the MC 'remembers' he has the con, not Lt. Sulu, and we are emotionally and pov-wise separated from the IC again.
Anyway, just some thoughts, needs to be cleaned up, but this is the insight I had tonight. I feel on much solider ground now that I realized this.