Appraisal vs Re-apprical and Acceptance vs Non-acceptance/Rejection


I’m trying to find the PROBLEM and SOLUTION elements for my MC.

The story is about a boy whose father died and now is grieving and has trouble with continuing with living.
At the end of the story he accepts the death of his father, has good memories too him, and accepts life again as something worthwhile.
He ends his grieving.

I placed the MC in TL of Fixed Attitude and the CONCERN is Contemplation/Conscious.

On an ISSUE level, I’m doubting between APPRAISAL and RE-APPRAISAL.
Q1: How to read it at this level?
Q2: Is his problem the APPRAISAL of life when you know it ends in death?
Q3: Is his solution the RE-APPRAISAL of life when you know it ends in death but enjoy it while you can?
Q4: Or should I not look at this level?

If the Q4 answer is “yes, don’t look at this level” then RE-APPRAISAL has ACCEPTANCE and NON-ACCEPTANCE (or REJECTION in NF terms)
That resonates with me.

Q5: What is then the PROBLEM and what is the SOLUTION?
It is a changed character.
Q8: As he is at the start of the story rejection life as it hurts to lose someone.


Before answering your questions, I’d like to ask you:

Why did you choose the MC Concern of Conscious?

I’m asking this because from your description of the story, it appears to me to be an issue of Denial vs. Closure rather than the specific problem of the MC or problem in the story.

Why Mind(Fixed Attitude)? What are the beliefs, thoughts, prejudices, etc that are causing him trouble in continuing with living?

Why Conscious? What is he contemplating that causes him concern or creates trouble?

At this level, we are looking at thematic evaluations. They are a means for your story to evaluate story events. How can your Issue of choice be used as a measurement for story events? If this character encounters information that doesn’t track with his initial assessment, does he find value in sticking with his Appraisal, or does holding on to initial assessments hold less value than taking new information into account?

The problem is the process that drives the character, that motivates them do what they do. A character that, for instance, finds life to be meaningless might be driven to accept whatever situation they find themselves in. Why put in the effort, after all, if it’s all meaningless? They’re driven to accept any situation because putting in the effort to create a different situation is just as meaningless as the situation. This becomes a problem because they end up in all kinds of unfavorable situations in the name of acceptance. The solution is for the character to start embracing rejection. Maybe they start rejecting bad situations because if that’s also meaningless, what’s the point in accepting it? Maybe they reject the idea that life is meaningless. It could be anything as long as it resolves the problem.

Victoria wrote: Why did you choose the MC Concern of Conscious?

My reasoning for Conscious was the following:
He lost his father, he doesn’t know how to continue with life as the pain is just too much.

That puts the IC in the present which will challenge him to stay the now.

In the OS he needs a job to do, of Understanding which requires him to get focus on the job at hand.
And the RS is then in develop the idea that you can continue with life, also after the loss of a loved one

From your explanation, I gather you’re using the MC’s struggle with the death of his father as the plot of your story. It’s an internal struggle, I agree, but seems like the plot revolves around how different people deal with the same kind of issue.

If the story revolves on how we cope with the loss of loved ones, it seems like OS is the throughline in Mind.

As he is overwhelmed by the loss of his father and looses himself in it

My reasoning for Conscious was the following:
He lost his father, he doesn’t know how to continue with life as the pain is just too much.
(same reply to victoria)

In the OS he is asked to kill someone to solve the problem. In the end he solves the problem by not killing but releasing. So the OS doesn’t understand/stood that that was also a solution. The appraisal of killing is in the end re-appraised of releasing

No the story is only for him how to deal with loss of loved ones. The OS is a tough hard soldier like world.

I’d investigate the MC issue of Denial and OS issue of Morality (Altruism). Your description of being asked to solve a problem by killing someone sounds a lot like taking the easy way out (temptation) vs. releasing the targeted person (conscience).

Where is his belief or prejudice or opinion in this?

Where is he contemplating or being conscious of something in this?

It’s confusing to me to speak of Appraisal and Re-Appraisal as problems and solutions since elements also contain Problems and Solutions. Re-Appraisal isn’t trying to “solve” Appraisal. It’s a measure of the story’s values. It’s an opportunity for the story to say that in one instance, high value should be placed on Appraisal but in another instance, low value should be placed on Appraisal while, overall, Appraisal is mostly an appropriate or inappropriate value to hold.

Maybe I misunderstand then the Dramatica chart. Is the ISSUE level the lowest level you should use for your finding your story? And are the elements (in this case Probability, Inaction, Protection and Possibility) the beats to illustrate that? Or should you go to the element/beat level?

Mmm, I think I start to see your point. It is not a choice from him, but a thing I want to show. So perhaps this is a storytelling thing and not a storyform thing.

This is also a storytelling thing then I think. And also not a storyform thing.

Probably the same here then.

I have to rethink this over again.

Funny, this is one of my first version of my storyform. I thought of Denial as the issue for the MC.
More things to consider. :slight_smile:

Use all levels.

The Mind should find characters addressing conflict from the beliefs, prejudices, biases, opinions, etc, that they hold. “He is overwhelmed by the loss of his father and loses himself in it” is a valid throughline. But I don’t see it as a belief or prejudice. You might be able to explain how that would fit into Mind, but personally I think I would find another place for it.

I’m not saying that your answers aren’t a “storyform thing”. I’m just trying to press you on why they go in the places you’ve put them. Someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one might well experience some type of Mind conflict. But as described, I just don’t see why this character would be an MC Mind and not another area of the quad.

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Hi Jeri!

Asked a friend of mine about your question :wink::

Given that Appraisal and Reappraisal are Variations and not Elements, they cannot directly be the Problem or Solution in your story. Instead, they represent thematic issues that your MC grapples with in the context of their Fixed Attitude and Concern of Contemplation/Conscious.

Q1: At the Issue level, you would explore how the boy’s process of evaluation (Appraisal) and re-evaluation (Reappraisal) of life and death affects his ability to move forward after his father’s passing.

Q2 & Q3: Instead of being the Problem or Solution, Appraisal and Reappraisal would be the thematic issues that your MC is dealing with. The boy’s struggle with Appraisal could be his tendency to fixate on the finality of death, which colors his view of life negatively. The thematic Solution would then be found in Reappraisal, where he learns to reassess life’s value, finding joy and meaning despite its end.

Q4: It is beneficial to look at this level as it provides a nuanced understanding of the MC’s internal conflict and thematic exploration.

Now, to address the Elements of Problem and Solution within the Fixed Attitude Throughline:

Q5, Q6, Q7, & Q8: Since Reappraisal is associated with Acceptance, and you’ve identified that the boy’s journey involves moving from grief to acceptance, it would make sense that the Element of Non-Acceptance (or Rejection) is his Problem, and Acceptance is his Solution.

To summarize:

Your MC’s thematic Issue is the struggle between Appraisal and Reappraisal of life in the face of death. The boy’s Problem is Non-Acceptance/Rejection, which manifests as an inability to find value in life after his father’s death. The Solution is Acceptance, which he achieves by reassessing and ultimately embracing life’s worth, even with the knowledge of its impermanence. This thematic journey from Appraisal to Reappraisal, and from Non-Acceptance to Acceptance, will define the boy’s character arc and provide a poignant resolution to his internal conflict.

Keep in mind that the thematic exploration at the Issue level enriches the narrative by providing a deeper context for the MC’s internal struggle.

Let me know if that makes sense or you need more clarification!

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Oh, this spins my head 360 degrees :slight_smile:

I see. Mmm yes, that sounds right.
The MC doesn’t have to explore all kinds of ways of how to deal with death

And that also feels right.

My idea is that this is his problem:
“He is overwhelmed by the loss of his father and loses himself in it.”

On a personal level, this happened to me years ago (in a variation then this story), and I felt overwhelmed at the time.
The world continued just as always, while I felt at a stop and was consumed by the loss.
And in the end, I found my way again.
One of the things was, and what a professional confirmed was, that I always felt it was not the end, but a very hard life experience.
That feeling is what I want to have in the story.
But I see that is a tough process to get into the story form.

And in the OS killing someone (pure fiction for me) should be the context that you don’t need to kill someone, but a release might also be a solution.

Ok, thanks for that!

The idea is to use the F.A. signpost to show flashbacks on how he looks back on what has happened and how the “process of dying” happened
So using memories, impulsive responses, innermost desires, and contemplation.

Wow, thanks Jim, for answering all my questions!
This makes my head spin again another 360 degrees :slight_smile:

This was my thinking and so coming into the F.A quad.
Now I have two answers that I can relate to, but somehow they seem to be in conflict.
Some more thinking to do.

This dramatica stuff is deep.
It so much easier watching replays of the DUG of a film :slight_smile:

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I feel like Conscious works quite well here, especially if you consider some of the gists here: contemplating the meaning of life, brooding, disregarding, being lost in thought, not paying attention (to what’s going on in one’s life). That seems to fit with your description of him “losing himself” with the loss of his father, the way he’s fixating on it (since that can also be a type of illustration for Mind).

Although now that I think about it, it seems closer to Preconscious (“being numb”) put this way, especially with “Worth” as one of the Variations underneath it, and whether life has any “Value” or not. If that were the MC Concern, then the IC Concern would be Progress (perhaps a lack of Progress in one’s life, how to Progress past a loss, how the world keeps Progressing). There’s also the Ending/Unending Elements which seem to echo what you’ve just said. But all of that could just be Benchmarks or Signposts/Transits.

If the MC Concern is Conscious, then the OS Concern would be Learning, not Understanding.

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Just to finish out where I was going with this interaction, if “now is grieving” means feeling sad, and this character is stuck in his feelings of grief to the point he has trouble continuing with living, then he could be a good fit for a Mind throughline.

If “now is grieving” is more along the lines of processing his sad feelings and it’s causing him trouble with continuing living, then he may be a better fit for a Psychology throughline.

Being sad, believing life is meaningless, fearing or feeling anxiety about death, those are the kind of things I’d put in Mind.

Being overwhelmed, being emotionally destructive, obsessing over the finality of death, being dysfunctional, having a breakdown, coping with the death of a loved one, or otherwise processing ones thoughts/feelings/emotions are the kinds of things I’d put in Psychology.

Contemplating the meaning of life or death, brooding over the loss of a loved one, these things might work great for Conscious.

But not seeing how one can move on, trying to come up with a reason to live, trying to see what life has to offer in the face of death, maybe these kinds of things would work better for Conceiving.