Does this sound Linear or Holistic?

I think this skews towards linear, but I wanted to get a second opinion. Since it’s a WIP, I can shift my character more towards one way or the other if needed.

My MC has a problem with OCD so he thinks a lot about potential problems. Imagining chains of cause and effect then trying to stop them sounds linear, but observing small details then imagining potential disasters that could result (ex. touch something dirty, get a germ on hand, pass it on via handshake, other person gets fatal disease, dies and it’s all your fault for making their children sad orphans for not being careful enough) sounds like looking at the big picture-- thinking way too far ahead and saying “what if…?” a lot to imagine various outcomes. However, I suppose if my MC was truly looking at the big picture, he’d see that even if a feared scenario like a handshake leading to death wouldn’t necessarily be his fault as the germ could’ve come from somewhere else.

I can also see him thinking of balances (maybe. These might be two competing cause/effect chains). For example, if his friend the IC is the handshaker and a potential client the handshakee, MC would have a dilemma. He’d feel the urge to warn the client that IC had been working on some dirty object and not washed, which would help him avoid the fear of potentially being responsible for harm due to not saying something, but then he might think that saying something could make IC look careless and cause him to lose the business deal. He may weigh the risks of potential (if unlikely) death vs loss of income and think that death is a worse consequence therefore warning the client is more important. Then another “what if…?” chain starts of how IC losing the deal could lead to financial trouble, then maybe poverty, leading to avoiding the doctor if needed, ending with getting sick and maybe death. MC might then think about how “normal” people handle it and wonder whose approach is more correct. Maybe he’d, I don’t know, take the risk and say something (sounds linear), or maybe he could try spilling something on the potential client’s hands to force hand washing without making anyone look bad (holistic?).

Can going off on tangents, being reminded of other stuff and getting distracted by it have anything to do with Holistic thinking?

Sounds very Linear to me. Even if he’s going crazy with mental tangents, you describe them as ‘lines’ of thought - endless chain-links of “if this happens, then this will happen, and this, and this…” etc etc. It’s all linear cause-and-effect.

If Linear thinkers are all about ‘lines’ of thought, then Holistic thinkers are about volumetric space. They have many things to maintain simultaneously in order to achieve a certain balance or imbalance. Push and pull, ebb and flow, status-quo vs not status quo, etc.

Basically Linear thinkers find a path and follow it - Holistic thinkers find a space and tend to it.

I’m a linear problem solver and am not good at all with the holistic approach. Most of the examples of holistic problem solving that I see look to me like Step 1) find where the imabalance is, Step 2) find out where to push to upset/restore the balance Step 3) upset/restore balance and await desired outcome, so I’m a bit of a hammer that sees every problem as a nail, i guess. That said, I agree that your examples all look linear.

Here’s my best attempts at a holistic approach to your example. If your MC has a little while before this handshake happens, or if he’s just afraid of people shaking hands in general, maybe he tries to bring a sense of another culture to the business, hanging paper lanterns and wearing kimonos in hopes that people will stop shaking hands and start placing the palms of their own hands together and bowing

Another take might be that the MC isn’t trying to stop the handshake, but divert the guilt. Maybe he strikes up a conversation with the client hoping to hear something that will help. Maybe they start talking about insurance policies and the client says he has a great insurance plan. Then the MC can blame the insurance companies if the client dies. Or if in talking to the client the MC finds out that he’s just an awful person, then he won’t feel guilty when the guy dies.

I’m very linear myself, but my wife and her family are holistic. So I have a sense of what it looks like from the outside, but it’s difficult to self-generate.

The lantern / kimono example is pretty good (a holistic do-er for sure). Yeah, holistic problem solvers tend to make ripples rather than tackle problems directly. “I sense a disturbance in the Force.”

Ah. I hadn’t been sure if having those lines fork into a few possibilities for outcomes or solutions negated the linearness. In another thread on PS-style, someone described Holistic as “web” thinking. A fork isn’t quite a web but * shrug.*

That sounds like a Holistic Be-er. It might be helpful for other users if there were a few examples of a single problem being solved with all 4 combinations of Style and Approach. I’ll try to think of something.

Isn’t that psychological manipulation though? I thought that was a Be-er thing.

I wonder if assigning MC as Be-er is correct. He’s not exactly changing himself in this example, but thinks a lot before acting and his first idea about the handshaking dilemma involves talking to the client rather than pouring soap all over them or something. However, talking to the client seems like an external way for MC to chase away his anxiety.

Depends on how far he goes with ‘bring another culture in.’ My first impression was he redecorated the entire office to with a far-east theme to change the atmosphere (Do-er because he alters the environment). But if he just decorates his own cubicle, wears kimonos, and acts like he’s from another culture, then it’s Be-er (altering himself).

I’ve always wanted a thread like that. I think having a list of several different holistic vs linear solutions would be really helpful.

That’s how I saw it. Trying to change the environment in hopes that the other employees would run with it and act accordingly.

I think it would depend on if your example was in the MC throughline or not. I always see or hear it explained that a character can BE and DO, but that the be-er or do-er label is about that characters preference for one over the other.

The way you get a be-er or do-er from a story engine standpoint is to place your MC throughline in either Activity or Situation for Do-er or in Fixed Attitude or Manipulation for Be-er. The reasoning for that as I understand it is that Situation and Activity are external and therefore require an external solution–someone who changes the external environment, or someone who sees the problem as being external–whereas Fixed Attitude and Manipulation are internal and require an internal solution–someone who changes themselves, or someone who sees the problem as being internal. After all, if your perspective of the problem is that it’s external, how would it even be possible to change things internally to solve it? Conversely, if your perspective of the problem is that it’s internal, what are you going to do externally to fix that?

Since your MC will have a role in the MC throughline, the OS throughline, and the RS throughline, they will be present in 3/4 of the possible perspectives which means they will have to act as both a be-er and a do-er in order to solve all the stories problems. When you say: [quote=“SharkCat, post:1, topic:833”]
He’d feel the urge to warn the client
that feels to me like someone who would prefer to do something. But when you say:

it feels like this character is deciding whether to do or be, maybe because he would prefer to be a be-er even though the situation seems to call for a do-er.

In my example of striking up a conversation to see if he could find someone else to blame or maybe decide the client is a jerk that deserves to die, I think “talking to the client” specifically would maybe fall more under the action or decision driver category because he’s not trying to change the client by talking to him. He’s trying to change himself. Talking to the client is just the means by which he is gathering the information needed to try to change himself. However, if he talks to the client to tell him not to shake hands with his filthy friend, then yes, it would be an external solution.

Sorry for the long–and probably confusing–post. I actually had a little more to add, but decided i’ve been long winded enough as it is!:yum:

If you feel bad, watch a funny movie to feel better?

He’d rather not worry about this stuff, but keeps thinking of external ways to change his feelings, so maybe he’s a Be-er backed into a corner?

But if you’re doing that to cheer yourself up, aren’t you trying to change your internal attitude? Yes, it’s an external action of playing a movie, but isn’t the movie just the tool you’re using to change yourself internally?

Since stopping fear is the goal of my example, does that mean any attempt to get rid of that fear, even if by external means like redecorating or talking, is Be-er since the end goal is to change himself?

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, was the MC in your example afraid of feeling responsible for the harm that might befall the client? If that’s correct and you as the author see the fear of feeling responsible for another’s harm as the characters main source of conflict, then I think your characters problem falls into an internal quad and he is a be-er. In your example then, he would prefer to be and not say anything even though he is considering saying something. That’s why I think talking to the client and hoping to divert the guilt feels like a be-er solution to me. He’s not trying to solve the problem by talking, he’s trying to solve the problem by not placing guilt on himself.

However, redecorating isn’t about stopping himself from feeling responsible. It’s about preventing the other characters from shaking hands. So that would fall in an external quad and be part of the OS or RS.

Yeah, that’s what I was going for. I read about how a Change MC changes Approach at the end, so I questioned my own story. Wanted to make sure I didn’t have it backwards, like MC’s problem is seeking external solutions to his emotional problems when he should focus on examining his thinking or take responsibility for his own feelings or something (Fail/Good). However, him thinking he’s a coward who can’t face things forces it into Be-er.

I wonder if we can even use a single problem to show all 4. I was trying to think of 4 ways an assassin might accomplish that goal since the Holistic Assassin example is pretty good for PS-Style (I assumed the Linear assassin would be Do-er, but wasn’t sure about the Holistic one), but if Approach only applies to MC Throughline, then… it’s hard to picture an assassination not being in OS.

Not to make things more difficult, but I’d like to try to figure out the difference between a be-er MC and a do-er MC as it would relate to your example. I’m also trying to work in what you have going on with @mlucas in another thread because I’m pretty sure both threads are about the same story.

If you see the MCs MAIN SOURCE OF CONFLICT (it’s always about the main source of conflict in Dramatica) as being his FEAR of feeling responsible, then you can take away that fear and his problem would be solved. You can take away the fear by having him divert responsibility to someone else or by having him be okay with being responsible. But if taking away the fear solves the problem, then he is a be-er in Fixed Attitude or Manipulation. I don’t think replacing handshaking with bowing gets rid of the fear of feeling responsible, but tries to avoid the situation of handshaking. If everyone started bowing, but the same client made a funny joke and his friend slapped him on the back, he’d still feel responsible for not telling the client that his friend had dirty hands, right?

If getting rid of the fear didn’t solve the MC problems, then his main source of conflict would have to come from somewhere else. If you as the author decide the MC problem isn’t fear of feeling responsible, but simply that he is responsible whether he fears it or not, then I think you’d have a do-er in an external quad.

Say that you decided his main source of conflict was that he, as the OCD germophobe or whatever, was responsible for people getting sick because he didn’t say anything to them when they shook a dirty hand. Not a great example, I’ll grant, but I think we’re getting close to putting him in a Situation. He holds the responsibility for telling others to wash their hands and he can’t get out of it. This might give him a concern of the Future because he’s afraid that someone is going to get sick from his failure to warn them. That might lead to a thematic conflict of choice vs delay as he tries to decide if he should say something of not, or if maybe he should start changing the work environment. That’s starting to get into what was brought up in the other thread about how FEAR doesn’t have to fall into the Class level and can show up in any throughline.

But that’s just me trying to come up with a clear difference between a be-er and do-er in the context of your example. I still think your example is of a be-er in the internal quads.

I think I may have seen something like that as well. Like if your MC is a Linear problem solver, you IC should be a Holistic problem solver and a changed MC is supposed to change to the ICs way of thinking. I don’t know if that means he goes from linear to holistic, of if you really just stick to the elements and he changes from, say, conscience to temptation or whatever. And now i’m thinking about what I said about be-ers and do-ers and thinking that there was an article on Narrative First about how Batman went from a do-er to a be-er in Batman Begins and a be-er to a do-er in The Dark Knight. So more research may be needed there. Again, everything I said there was how i see it, but not necessarily how a Dramatica expert would see it. Anyway, don’t let my waffling about that confuse the situation. I STILL say you have an internal be-er MC in your example.

Yeah, i’m still trying to wrap my mind around how a holistic assassin would work. I’m sure you can take one general idea and provide examples of linear do-ers, linear be-ers, holistic do-ers, and holistic be-ers all trying to solve it. I just don’t know how to do it right now. I’ll have to ponder it a while.

An MC might be stuck being an assassin, or he might experience conflict from the act of assassinating. As long as he’s the only one experiencing that type of conflict, it’s an MC throughline. My tendency is to want to offer examples, but I don’t want to get too far off topic. Maybe if another thread gets started about how an assassin can be a linear/holistic be-er/do-er it might be more relevant.

Taking away fear is what he wants, but there’s a conflict over how-- his tendency is to give in to his fear (warn the client or somehow stop the handshake), which makes the fear stronger. He needs to adopt IC’s way, which is to face his fear (say nothing and let handshake happen, or for something more active, if MC got stage fright, IC would push him to go out and perform anyway) which will feel bad at first, but the anxiety will subside and weaken the fear. I assume MC would still fall under Be-er since his POV is that fear or “being too weak-willed to fight it” is the problem, whereas IC would pick up on MC having a problem going after it the wrong way.

That’s what I was talking about. Here’s the link.

I was hoping this thread could be a place where people could put examples to help others with those 4 types, but I derailed it with questions about Approach-- didn’t mean to go that far off-topic.

Fair enough. What I was going to give an example of was how an assassination would be an MC throughline rather than OS. So if you have an MC that is stuck being an assassin and he’s the only one, then you have an mc throughline. The IC might be a religious leader, the RS might be about coming to God and the OS might be about how everyone is stuck in a fallen world.

Or your mc throughline is about his conflict being stuck as an assassin for a brutal dictator. And everyone in the story is trying to win a war. The mc throughline would be about being stuck as an assassin, but the MCs assassination of the dictator would be felt in the OS as it helps one side to win the war.

As far as linear/holistic be-er/do-er assassin examples, I’m not sure how one would be a be-er assassin. All I can come up with so far is someone who tells another character “You’re dead to me.” But that’s not much of an assassin.

So after reading the article again, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to look at it. When Bruce changes from chaos to order he overcomes the memory of his parents murder, an internal issue. Does he do this with an internal change of attitude that it’s not what he is underneath but what he does that defines him, which then leads to him seeing the problem as having been an external one? Or does he overcome his parents murder by changing the way he sees the problem, seeing the problem as external rather than internal which leads to his decision that it’s not what he is underneath etc?

I think I’m getting in over my head here, and I’m DEFINITELY overthinking at this point. So i might need to leave the be-er/do-er change alone for a few days and come back to it later.

How would warning the client that he’s about to shake a dirty hand make his fear of responsibility stronger? Is it because his fear stops being about his being responsible for the clients health and starts being about his job after he told a client not to shake hands?

I’m wondering if a general Fixed Attitude of fear could cause that. I’m only partially feeling like that could work. It sounds more like a process of fearing to me. Especially since saying something would make the fear worse. Sounds like an MC in Manipulation. Is that what you decided too?

Befriend and manipulate the target’s loved ones and colleges like the Holistic Assassin example? If the assassin is killing a murderer, the assassin could dress up as a ghost and stalk the target, bug the house with recordings of the original victim to manipulate the target (although that’s changing the environment, if it was in a quad, it would be Manipulation), instilling paranoia and guilt until the target can’t take it and jumps off a bridge.

A Holistic Do-er sounds like an assassin who might sabotage a house to kill someone via “accident,” at least in the way I saw once on “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”-- the assassins were supposedly going to create imbalances (or maybe it was just the one) in the house that would greatly increase the odds of a common household accident occurring to the target.

I wonder if you can just ask yourself what quad the potential way of solving the problem falls under and get it right.

I barely remember anything from that movie, but reading the article’s description, I imagined that when he Changes and adopts a Do-er Approach, from then on (at least until he changes in the next movie, or maybe until this movie’s story ends) he’ll see solutions in taking action. I don’t know if that action will be taken in OS to wrap things up since presumably he’s not having a personal problem anymore, but I don’t know if there’s a certain order in which Outcome and Judgement are supposed to occur.

Trying to relieve the obsessive anxiety of causing accidental harm by acting on the compulsion to warn the client reinforces that handshakes and un-sterile hands are dangerous and worth fearing. So you’re right about the process being the problem. The fears can shift and take on many subjects, but the problematic process remains the same, so Manipulation it is.

I get the idea of a holistic assassin, but it just doesn’t click for me in some way. I guess you could say I can conceive of murdering someone by rearranging the balance, but I have trouble conceptualizing it. But especially with a be-er assassin. Seems like it would be hard to kill someone by making an inner change. About the closest I can get to an inner change killing someone would be like I said, someone who says “you’re dead to me” and really means it. I suppose you could have a Jekyll and Hyde type character who is holding his inner Jekyll back until time to kill. And then he allows that killer to come out. I suppose that would be a be-er, maybe. So if the Jekyll side of the character didn’t attack directly, but attacked by working through the targets relationships…well, still seems a bit of a stretch.

There a Stephen King story called Dolan’s Cadillac. I don’t remember much about the story itself, but the idea is that the MC is going to kill Dolan by joining a road crew and waiting for this isolated road that Dolan drives down now and again to need some work done. Then he digs a big Cadillac-sized hole in the road and cover it up so that Dolan will drive into it. Then he buries the car. I wonder what kind of assassin that would be.