@jhull hoping you could help with two specific questions if you get a chance to answer.
Not sure I know how to word it, so I’m going to ask the questions and then give examples.
Question 1. When looking for source of conflict, is it correct that one should look for the process that most directly leads to conflict as opposed to, say, looking for a more abstract connection between process and conflict, the ultimate reason behind a characters actions or decisions?
Question 2. When looking for source of conflict at the Concern level, particularly when looking for a Sign Post, do you typically look toward every process within that scene to point toward a Sign Post, or do you separate processes by saying ‘this one is a Concern so I can use that, but that process would illustrate the Domain level so even though it’s in the same throughline it can’t be used to help find this Sign Post’?
In Shawshank Redemption during the scene where the inmates are fishing for new inmates, the character known as Fatass breaks down and starts crying and blubbering. This causes him to get beaten to death by Captain Hadley. Assuming I’m in the middle of analyzing the story and have decided that the OS is in Universe, I could say that the scene shows how being stuck in a corrupt prison leads to being beaten to death and that works just fine.
But if we start looking at the Sign Posts, it seems there’s two ways to handle that scene. Crying and making a lot of racket leads to getting beaten doesn’t feel like Future at all. It feels very Present. Fatass is making too much noise right now. But since we know that the official analysis puts the Concern in Future, that wouldn’t work as a Concern or Sign Post conflict. It would be limited strictly to the Domain (I suppose it could potentially be Issue or Element, but keeping it simple by excluding those). So the first way to handle it would be to say it’s not a part of the Plot, just an illustration of the domain.
Now, I know there’s some who would say that he’s crying because he’s afraid of his future in the prison-or maybe we should say concerned about his future to keep fear and Mind out of it. But 1, I don’t know that I accept that, and 2, if he weren’t blubbering about it, his future wouldn’t have gotten him killed. But if we allow this more abstract connection between being beaten and the future, it allows us to put that as the Concern and Sign Post 1. The problem with this second way of handling the scene is that this abstract connection seems very tenuous and it would be just as easy to place ‘having a history as a criminal’ or a thousand other things in that spot and have just as strong of a connection. So should we avoid looking at it as Sign Post, or use that tenuous, abstract connection?
So that’s the quesntions and example. Full disclosure, I’m in favor of the “direct connection” method that would place the scene squarely in OS Domain and not in Concern at all, so I may not be giving the “abstract, ultimate reason” method a fair shake in my description. Anyway, just hoping to get your thoughts on that.
Ps. There are some others who may or may not recognize some of the ideas or wording in the question from some previous discussions. Didn’t tag anyone else in in case you didn’t want to be mentioned but yes, this question arose from previous discussion.