A gaggle of ICs

I’m working now on revising a novel draft I wrote in 2019 (150,000 words). When writing it I was following a more creative, muse-focused approach, purposely not planning anything about the plot except the next few scenes, that kind of thing. I’m super happy with what I got, thought there are definite inconsistencies that need addressing, and the climax needs some work.

One thing that happened during the draft, the character that I thought was the main IC didn’t turn out that way. Even though he seemed to fit the storyform as the MC’s lost dog (Universe/Future/Choice/Uncontrolled), he really ended up as a reflection of the MC throughline.

During the draft I did notice that other characters stepped up to fill the IC role, but now in revision I took a closer look and realized there are at least seven ICs! Doubting whether this was true, I tried to illustrate the main IC points (Steadfast Universe/Future/Choice/Uncontrolled, plus Help/Hinder focus/response) for each of the seven. The whole exercise took under 10 minutes – I got clear, meaningful illustrations as fast as I could type. So I’m pretty sure they’re all valid. (Also, the IC beats and scenes in Subtxt seem to apply to all these characters at different times.)

Anyway, I was wondering if anything like this has happened to anyone else?

I actually think the multiple ICs fits the sort of strange, magical, whimsical tone of the book (I was going for a Neil Gaiman sort of tone – think The Sandman or Neverwhere or The Graveyard Book). So I’m not necessarily looking to change anything, but wondering if there are any pitfalls I should watch for!


Out of curiosity @mlucas did you look at the Signposts? I am wondering how one might apply this if you were outlining and felt you needed more than one IC – would each IC have their own Signpost 1? Or do they each represent a different PSR beat? If so, how does PRCP work?

Given your organic process, you might not know this – and maybe it’s not even necessary to know. Just curious.

EDIT: Realizing I didn’t read your post carefully enough :roll_eyes:

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Great question! And kind of funny, after I posted the above I was like, oh I forgot to mention the signposts … but figured my post was long enough :stuck_out_tongue: .

The way I would think of it is, within Act 1, the IC perspective comes from a place of Progress (or influences through a conflict of Progress). Whichever character represents the IC perspective at a given part of the story, will likely represent that signpost too. So rather than seeing the signpost as one specific beat, I see it as encompassing the whole act.

Does that help at all? I’m not sure if I answered your question. (Oh, I just saw your edit – had to pause my response while watching a show with the kids lol. Anyway, I think it’s worth expanding on.)

When you go to the scene level, I think it can work in various ways. Say you have 3 characters in the IC role in one act. The 4 scenes (PSR items) might get divided among those three ICs (#1 and #2 get one scene each, and #3 gets two scenes). Or you might end up with some PSR items repeated. (There definitely seem to be some repeats in my draft.)

Note in my draft I never have all seven ICs active in the same act – I think the most is three.


I have six in mine. And they’re very different people. It’s really been fun to explore all the different ways a single storyform can be shown.

The only pitfall I can see is making each too similar to each other, but it sounds as if you’ve got that covered. :smile:


Very cool Patty! Yeah I agree, it really is fun to explore.

I hadn’t thought about it until you said that, but yeah! It’s really interesting how different all of the ICs are at the Problem level (Uncontrolled) – being a wild animal, being a freedom fighter, letting someone go, being loosed on the world.

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