The most important function of the Influence Character's story points is that they influence others (esp. the MC) in those areas, causing conflict. For example, while an IC with in Situation will usually be in some problematic situation themselves, the most important aspect of that story point is their influence on the MC -- either the MC's own situation(s), or through the conflict generated by the IC's situation.
A good example of this is the analysis of Ex Machine, both the Youtube video (I think there is a point where Chris Huntley explains this very thing) and the Narrative First article, which states:
But it’s not her Past, or her Predictions, or her Desires that these story points reflect. To think so would be to inaccurately use Dramatica’s story points for storytelling. Instead, they identify why she has influence over Caleb. In fact, for most of these story points these points of narrative find themselves attached to her, not coming from her.
Now I'd like to take a more thorough look at this:
- I can understand how it works for IC Domain, Concern, Issue, Problem. As these story points are all just different zoom levels of a problem, all of these work the same way, influencing others (esp. the MC) in those areas.
- The IC Signposts are pretty much the same. During the specified portion of the story's "plot", something related to the IC will influence others in those areas, causing conflict. An IC Signpost of The Past will impact others in some way related to their pasts (or anything in the past), etc. Perfect.
- The IC Solution is a bit different.
- For a Steadfast IC it is their "demotivator" which reduces their drive. Thus it would indirectly reduce their influence for a time, whenever their drive is reduced.
- For a Change IC it is the element they embrace as part of changing their perspective and thus resolving their throughline. Again, I think embracing this indirectly reduces their influence, and once embraced fully, their influence on the MC is gone (because they've shifted to the MC's point-of-view).
- The IC Benchmark is best seen as a way of measuring the IC's impact / influence on others. So that works.
- The IC Unique Ability gives them a unique capability of influencing the MC. Check. (but see note below under Critical Flaw)
- The IC Critical Flaw somehow reduces the IC's influence on the MC. Unlike the Solution/Demotivator, it does so without sapping their drive and without shifting their point-of-view. (It gets in the way of the IC's influence rather than attacking the source of that influence.)
- Note that the Unique Ability and Critical Flaw do not have to stem directly from, or be attached directly to, the IC. As long as it's something in the story that affects the IC's influence on the MC, it works. For example, an IC Critical Flaw of Denial might be the MC rejecting the IC (Pitch Perfect was a good example), or the IC rejecting the MC's mom, or anyone denying anything as long as it reduces the IC's influence on the MC.
But what about IC Symptom and Response? (this is what prompted me to make this post!)
The IC Symptom is defined by:
The Influence Character concentrates his attention where he thinks his problem lies. ... The Symptom Element describes the nature of how the problem appears to the Influence Character from his subjective point of view.
This makes sense, but how do we make that apply to the Main Character or others? Is it only how the IC sees the problem? Or does it also influence the MC to see problems in this area? e.g. For an IC Symptom of Inequity (like Ava in Ex Machina), does this influence the MC to see injustice and unfairness as problems? (That certainly seemed to be the case with Caleb in Ex Machina)
In fact, with Ex Machina I'd even go a step further and say something like: Through his desire for her, Ava influences Caleb to see the problems of injustice inherent in her situation, as evidenced by treatment of past androids, and to predict that Ava would meet similar injustice. You can see IC Domain, Concern, Issue, Problem, and Symptom all working together in that one sentence!
And what about the IC Response? Is it merely "the direction of the Influence Character's efforts" or can it also be seen as the direction that the MC is influenced towards?
(Please feel free to comment on any of the above, or to challenge what I've said. I wrote some of it in an authoritative way but I'm open to other ideas for sure! Thanks. )