Emoji Suggestions for Progressive Complications

The floor is open for suggestions for an emoji to represent @MWollaeger 's addition of the ‘progressive complication’ check to see whether a context is really a separate and conflict-inducing context.

This is based on the :muscle: emoji used to represent “Yeah, but is it a process of conflict?” that was put on me and my plea for thinking of the various Storypoints as Methods of Conflict. Basically “strong-arming” conflict into place :slight_smile:

What about a pair of socks? There’s not just one sock… there’s two now!


Was this something that happened in Conflict Corner? I left early. What’s the context?

That’s it for sure. Hi Greg, yeah, @MWollaeger had this great thing where he finally got us over the “make sure it’s not opposite” thing, where you just have to make sure the second simply isn’t a progressive complication of the first. That’s what I meant by “don’t make it opposite”, but I think it was confusing because my the nature of what we’re trying to do, you want the second context to be “opposite”

I’m putting up the video now

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So sad I had to miss 75% of the meeting due to internet upgrade timing! But excited to watch the video now.

Definitely the socks :socks:. I like them too because you’re double-checking you have two separate contexts. :slight_smile:

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Yes, I was just thinking too - “Are you doubling up on context?” HAH!

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… could you give an example getting fixed by the socks?

I think one example was that instead of “one should check off their to do list unless they should avoid being productive”, because avoid productivity just sounds like not checking off the to do list. Instead of “avoid being productive”, try “be irresponsible”.

Or perhaps, to steal from our other thread, instead of “be evaluated for sanity unless avoid signs of sanity” you might go with “be evaluated for sanity unless should live in the moment” or something.

I’ve tended to go with opposites on the forum to show that the first half is what we’re looking at and not the second. But using something that isn’t just the opposite opens up the argument a little more, opens up the storytelling possibilities a little more.

The idea here is not to go black or white, and maybe not even black or grey, but black or rainbow. Particle or wave.

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Just watched it and I was totally thinking progressive complications were conflict (I’d heard the term before, I think from Robert McKee, enemy of dramatica :wink:). For instance, I kept writing stuff like 'you should give up everything to be with your family unless that just ends up making your family dysfunctional. I can just about see now that a progressive complication is more like resistance, pushback, obstacles, things getting harder to see through, or, yes, complication than inequity. But I would still love to formulate a definition of a progressive complication versus an inequity as I have a weak hold on the idea,but I can sense it is useful.
As for an emoji for a progressive complication I feel like :socks:, :wrench:or facepalm capture it​:man_facepalming: (or both).


Also just came from watching the video and totally agree that ‘progressive complications’ is a fantastic new phrase. The ‘not the opposite’ thing was really complicating things. I’m still finding it difficult to construct a working conflict on my own, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

I don’t want to be difficult, but are we saying “progressive complications” are a bad thing now? It might be worth thinking about this terminology. As commonly used by McKee and Sean Coyne, progressive complications are the route to meaningful conflict. If I remember correctly, Coyne talks about forcing characters to choose between either the “less bad” option or “two irreconcilable goods” (which sounds a lot like another way of getting at competing justifications).

Progressive complications is the stacking of these conflicts in a way that the tension escalates through the scene/sequence/story. Armando describes a similar non-Dramatica way of evaluating scenes (I don’t have the book in front of me – I can look it up later).

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No, not at all.

We’re saying that in the context of creating, or illustrating, a Source of Conflict (inequity) a progressive complication is insufficient.

Those other sources you mention are using progressive complications to describe the “next steps” in writing a story. As in, things need to get progressively harder and harder as the story goes along—which is ultimately, obvious advice (i.e., not needed).

With Dramatica, we’re more interested in why those complications arise. You can’t use something to describe why it is…


This is what I mean about ensuring we define progressive complications versus the kind of conflict or inequity we are painting with this justification work.
I really sense that it could be helpful but it isnt totally transparent given that progressive complications are seen as a sign of conflict in other story theories.

Just cross posted with Jim.

So, thinking out loud here.
Progressive complications are like unforeseen consequences of the blind spot, that make it harder to stick to that justification?
E.g. I need to put my kids first to be a good parent but by not prioritizing my own needs I end up not being patient with them and being a bad parent.
That’s a progressive complication right? It is the same context, and something I discover is an obstacle as I pursue my goal.
Whereas the source of a conflict is the opposition between two incompatible philosophies that, in their own context, with their particular priorities, seem unquestionably true, but which are incompatible when the context shifts or the priorities change?
E.g. I need to put my kids first to be a good parent.
I need to put my art first to be a good writer.

Well you did say to speak from personal truth!

Am I getting the idea?

One more edit!
The holistic might see that this is a question of balancing things? The linear might be more inclined to completely stick to or change priorities? So does the holistic see things as less incompatible than out of balance? Does the linear see things as more definitively incompatible?


Remember that Linear and Holistic are problem-solving styles. And this is not to say that either may not employ the other technique in your story. One will just be favored before the other. The preference of the Holistic mind is to seek balance, just as the preference of the Linear mind is to seek a hierarchical order.

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