Jim did you mean Steadfast here? That’s what we’ve been assuming for Belle.
I think that you’re all saying the lack of adventure in the future creates conflict in Belle that we see coming out in song now, or that being imprisoned in the future is a problem because Belle won’t be able to have the adventure she longs for and won’t be able to take care of her father. Is that accurate?
The reason I’m having trouble with that is because it’s not that Belle is going to move to some small provincial life or be imprisoned in the future. Those things are happening now. And yes, they will continue in perpetuity into the future, but I don’t see how they are a Future source of inequity when both are presently happening. If you’re pointing to her desire to have adventure in the future, I also don’t get the idea that that’s a Future desire. She wants those things now. That’s why she reads the books, to fulfill that desire for adventure now the only way she can.
What future? He wants to marry her, which implies a future. But she is not betrothed to him. He pursues her, and she turns him down. That is happening now. There’s one line in a song where she imagines being ‘his little wife’ but that’s all the future that is even mentioned that I can think of with that topic.
Whoops! Yes. Steadfast is right. Sorry about that.
No I think it’s more that she wants adventure in the great wide open and that she wants more than she can bear. And for once it would be grand if they could understand, that she’s got something more PLANNED.
Her plans are to have adventure, so that is pretty much what I said. What did I miss? You’re saying that having these plans for the future are problematic for Belle. How are they shown to be a problem if not by producing the inner turmoil within her that leads her to sing about it?
And does she really have a future planned? No. She just wants more than this provincial life that she’s presently living. She wants that in the future, but she wants it now, too.
Imagine that Belle knows that in a few months she and her father are leaving the provincial town for the land of her dreams, someplace magical and wonderful that encourages girls to read and learn and have adventures. (Hogwart’s, maybe. Post Voldemort of course. And hope no one notices the resemblance. “Ron, stop staring at that girl! I could look like that if I spent more time on my hair.”)
Imagine they already have their tickets.
Do you think she would still be singing longingly about not having adventure, about the boring life the town has planned for her? Or that Gaston and the Nasty Headmaster would bother her?
I think she’d be so excited she wouldn’t even notice them!
To put it a different way, the thing that’s producing the inner turmoil you mentioned (great term BTW) is the boring future she’s stuck with.
Although Jim paraphrased to make his point, the line from the song is actually “I want so much more than THEY’VE got planned.” The townsfolk have stuck (Universe) her with a boring, unfulfilling future.
yes, I think Gaston planning to murder her father or throw him in the asylum would still bother her.
Aren’t they currently carrying out those plans? THEY don’t have a future plan any more than she does. All I see that you’ve done with the letter to Hogwarts is remove one song.
Ah okay, I see where you’re coming from now.
I think all the stuff about Belle liking books and being considered weird and having to take care of her father is all part of the MC throughline. I think part of Gaston wanting to marry her is too (he’s sort of prejudiced for her because of her beauty). But only the part where “there’s this buffoon who won’t give up his stubborn idea to marry me”.
The MC throughline is about her being stuck in that town, where things are NOT changing.
The plans that are being carried out, murdering her father or consigning him to the asylum, I think that belongs in the OS throughline. (problematic manners of thinking, manipulation – though even without knowing the domain it’s still the part of the story that involves the overall characters)
That was what I asked above.
I don’t mean to be argumentative (and notice that I waited until the form was found and conversation otherwise pretty much over to bring it up), but I just don’t see these things as clear cut examples of the Future creating conflict. I’d be able to accept an answer as simple as ‘these aren’t very clear examples, and that’s okay. A more clear example might have been if Belle had already agreed to marry Gaston some time from now. Then there would be a solid future creating problems for Belle. Either the writers didn’t think of it or just didn’t want to go that way.” Or, you know, something to that effect. With that answer, even though a lot of the conflict is about people thinking she’s odd now, or Phillipe returning without papa and he being in trouble now and the like, i would probably still be able to move past it a lot easier.
I think we should stick with this, because Belle is quite clearly in Future. Maybe the way you’re looking at Future vs. Present is causing you difficulties here.
(And I realize you may not have had a chance to respond to my last post about what’s OS vs. MC, since we kind of cross-posted.)
The Future creating conflict doesn’t require the ACTUAL future to create conflict. It doesn’t have to be an actual plan, or a “solid future creating problems” like you said. It can be, simply, that Belle desires some future other than the path she seems to be stuck on.
Another way to put it, Belle lacks a future. Being stuck in the town denies her a fulfilling future. (Yes she lacks a future right now, but that’s still Future, not Present.)
Present vs. Future isn’t about when people are mean. It’s about what part of your life it affects. Present would be if they were so mean and prejudiced to her that she couldn’t bear it, every day was like torture and she was always struggling to just get through the current predicament. Torture, though often an exaggeration, is a great way to think of Present problems.
But Belle’s present life in town is mostly fine, she still gets to read her books, spend time with her dad (before he gets kidnapped, but that’s bringing in other throughlines).
Or when she’s the Beast’s prisoner, there’s maybe a period of difficult present circumstances (and maybe a signpost of Present there somewhere), but overall her captivity is not unbearable. She’s not starving or chained to a wall or in constant fear; she’s asked to “Be Our Guest” and given beautiful clothes and ten-course meals.
This is actually really helpful. I’ve actually have a lot more difficulty encoding Present than Future in my outlines – like, isn’t everything happening here in the present? I have a similar problem with Doing.
I’m not trying to get anyone to change storyforms. Just trying to figure out the Future, I guess. I just don’t see it. Oh well. I don’t want to rile any feathers by continuing down this path, so I’m going to move on.
It might help too to think of what the Authors were focusing on as her problem. She herself might not specifically be stating “I want a better future”, but it does seem to be that her problems–what is out of whack and out of balance–stems from what will be, not what is right now.
Everyone has this problem when they’re first introduced to Dramatica. Both are HUGE blind spots. A) how many people do you know actually live in the present moment? B) what do you mean doing something could be a problem? I do, therefore I am.
I feel like you start to understand them more, the more you expose yourself to those kinds of films, and actually experience what those problems feel like. Also, by trying to write stories in those areas.
Speaking in generalities now, not just about B&tB. What is the line between “this isn’t well illustrated but goes under term X because that was author intent” and “there is no X in this narrative even though the storyform suggests it should have been X”?
Looking at author intent seems to make it pretty black and white. “The authors clearly illustrated concern Y in the OS throughline, so despite not illustrating X in the MC throughline, their intention was for X.” If you look at what’s in the story, or maybe at the Storymind, it could be more of a gray scale. “The authors intended for X to be the problem, but their examples look more like X is the conflict that shows Z to be a problem. The authors had the intention, but the message is slightly muddled by the improper way this point was handled.”
We can only interpret Author’s intent through what we see within the story–whether on the page or on-screen. We usually refer to Author’s intent as a means for someone using Dramatica to separate themselves from the “character’s concerns” and ‘wants and needs’ and put the emphasis more on where it appears the Author was encoding imbalance (conflict).
Personally, I see more evidence of an emphasis on Future for Belloe over something like Present. Disney animated features, particularly in the early 90s, focused on the “I want” song for every Main Character. This naturally leads to a Concern of the Future as it reflects the dreams and aspirations of what the character looks forward to, rather than a focus on immediate concerns or problems. Ariel wants to be where the people are and Belle dreams of the great wide open.
A dysfunctional, or deficient narrative, is one where an entire Throughline is usually missing or inconclusive. I would think the Relationship Story Throughline in Dunkirk or Inception would be a better example of a story where the intent was neither there or muddled.
Stories often don’t hit every single storypoint at one hundred percent which is good and natural. Often though, enough information exists for the story to fall closer to one point within the model than another. In Beauty and the Beast, there is enough of Future in Belle’s Throughline to bridge the gap between her Universe imbalance and her Preconception Issues.
So what would happen, hypothetically, if someone wrote Beauty and the Beast with an OS Concern of Becoming and a MC Concern of Present? Would it just feel really strange? (Would it even happen?)
Separate question: for comparison’s sake, what would a hypothetical encoding of the Present look like for a character like Belle?
You should try it!
I believe it was Z where the Concerns were in different places in each Throughline - basically made the film almost impossible to ascertain some kind of meaning from. I would listen to that podcast if you get a chance.
For Present for Belle she would be singing about what she can and can’t do, what she tries and what she can’t possibly imagine trying, the problems she has with attracting the wrong person (she has this in Gaston, but note, she never sings about!), and the things she is disgusted by.
Compare to the MC in The Shape of Water where her problems are all about attracting the wrong guy and being unable to attract anyone.
Belle’s songs are all about what other people think about her (Preconception), holding people off and making up her own mind (Delay and Choice), and…can’t think of one for Openness at the moment!
Thanks Jim. It’s so much easier with examples!
Maybe how books open her up to new experiences?