Focus, Direction and OS Characters

Gotcha, so that not really useful then. Instead, what we need is to start thinking of Problem and Focus in terms of Companion and Dependent, Compatible or Complementary. I think I can do this with characters, but not sure how that would work with problem and focus.

@lakis, does this make more sense to your story? Can you see government imposition as being either compatible (separate but impacting each other) or complementary (each needing the other) to a problem of In/Equity?


One thing I’ve found recently is that if you know enough of the storyform to figure out the basic structure of the Premise (a la Subtext), you can use that as a test with the MC Crucial Element. For this you need at least Resolve though, and probably Growth and Outcome and Judgment.

Like we did recently on the Lord of the Rings thread, where the storyform seemed pretty good but Disbelief as an integral part of the steadfast-based Premise felt wrong. Keep focusing on skepticism and you can defeat the Enemy??? Whereas Conscience works way better – the constant focus on staying one’s hand and doing the right thing is what’s crucial in that story.


Hmm. I need to think about this. To be honest (in spite of your explanation) I still am not sure I understand compatible vs. complementary. My first instinct would be that they are in a dependent relationship.

So I wrote that before looking back at the storyform and trying not to think about Chaos and Order. But it does look like a Problem of Inequity and a Focus of Order are in fact a dependent pair. Anyway it makes sense to me that they would be in a dependent pair, at least in this story.

So it turns out my current candidate storyform is the same as Arrival, and I feel like at least the second half of its premise in Subtext (“You can understand how the universe works when you get out of your way and give up focusing on how unfair things are”) is kind of close to what I’ve been thinking for my MC. (I need a better illustration for my Goal of Understanding.) So this makes me think I might be on the right track.


Those explanations were just as much for me. Just quick explanations from a description of them in hopes that as I typed them it would help me figure out how to apply them to problem and focus. But it didn’t. I imagine I’ll be thinking for a while about how a problem of Inequity and Focus of Order, or even how just problem and focus in general, can complement one another.


In more familiar Dramaitica terms, tho, Companion/Compatible seems to mean holding the two apart (one side divides) while looking at how they interact with each other while Dependent/Complementary seems to refer to how they are both applied at the same time to the same
thing (the other side multiplies) in order for each item to fill the gaps in the other item.

So, I don’t know if this will go anywhere, but from what I’ve read in this post thus far, and from my own personal biases, here’s how I respond.

It sounds to me like everyone (government and anarchists) in your story is working to maintain or seize control in some way. Personally, I view trying to set up an economy as a way of seizing or establishing some minimum amount of control for the group. Thus, based on your current possible story forms, this would be in response to something chaotic and unorganized, possibly the perception that the other group lacks or has too much leeway, read: freedom, in their dealings.

For a Consequence of Conceptualizing, it’s possible and probable that you’ve already hinted at this within your own posts. If the story is a Stop story, then perhaps the Consequence might be the planning and scheming that is currently happening in order to set up dominion? In which case, I suspect that the Goal of Understanding might be something along the lines of “appreciating something” instead of plain “understanding something”…

Of course, don’t let me put words in your mouth. This story is yours, not mine.

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Part of my problem is in posting before I have a more firm idea of what I’m doing :slight_smile:

I know I referred to anarchists as group, but I’m actually imagining it as more of a spontaneous response of the marginalized to being pushed out of the current system (Inequity).

But you have a point! From the perspective of the government, this response looks like Chaos, but it’s really a self-organizing system (Order).

Of course I’m realizing that this all still just looks like setting as Mike said. I need to create more concrete examples for the story.

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There must be something here though. I just had this thought that part of the government’s response to create more Order was in itself a response to the inability to control climate Chaos.

Again, this all has to be represented in actual story illustrations somehow. But what I’m seeing so far is basically a Chaos-Order-Chaos loop. I’m just wondering if it matters (practically, for writing) which one is Focus and which Direction. (To answer my own question, I’m going to say no…)

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Just thinking out loud here, but what I’m seeing in your explanation (which, as you know, isn’t enough to lock in a storyform) is a government focused on the chaos of weather and rebels that takes a direction of trying to impose themselves over each of them.

And this part:

Sounds like the evidence that inequity is problematic.

But of course, a slight change in perspective could change all that.


I agree. I find even I’m writing, even when know the storyform, sometimes the Focus element seems like it’s being used as Direction and vice versa. I’ve learned not to worry about it – it comes from being too deep in the story and seeing things subjectively, which is what you want when drafting.

So now I see it as a good sign whenever the Focus or Direction element comes up naturally, and leave it at that.

I also think any dynamic pair exists on a kind of continuum. Like they’re two sides of the same coin but the coin has some of the properties of Möbius Strip. Some things that come up in the story are very close to the edge of the coin, and it’s hard to tell which side they’re on.

(Problem vs. Solution is a different experience though. The Problem is always overshadowing everything, while the Solution is hiding, peeking out every once in a while, until coming out in force near the end.)


Just a thought, and this is going to maybe be similar to some of what Mike said. Looking for what came first is a temporal view and is an ongoing process that, as we’ve seen before, can lead to an infinite regress or fall into an unending loop.

But a spatial view-seeing everything at once with no before or after-would give you a way viewing the relationships between everything without falling into that cause-effect loop. Like how you can see one element as Potential and another as Resistance, and they can appear in any order.

For instance, the government could impose itself on the citizens as a way to deal with the chaos of an angry and uncontrolled populace prior to the rebels forming a group. Temporally, that’s the direction coming before the Focus. But spatially, that’s the Directions efforts being applied to the Focus that hasn’t happened yet. Or you could say that the government is still focused on that even though it hasn’t happened yet.


I think this makes sense – definitely (and we’ve seen plenty of story examples) its not a strictly temporal relationship.

Hm. I had a sudden thought on the other hand. I wonder if there’s an analogy here somehow to Drivers, where it’s less about what precedes what and what drives what. Maybe this is where it’s useful to think in terms of Symptom and Response.


I’m going to say yes, I think it applies to a lot of the appreciations.


Being silly here, but in the spirit of Dramatica, let’s say it’s both a strictly temporal relationship AND a strictly spatial relationship AS WELL AS both a spatiotemporal relationship and a temporospatial relationship.

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I’m confused here, because we are all driven by our Problem Element.

Well, I’m confused by my own comment. :slight_smile:

I’ve struggled with Drivers a lot. Doesn’t an action always follow a decision and vice versa? It always seems like you can back up and find a prior cause. I wondered my problem with Focus and Direction was based on an analogous confusion. Drives is the wrong word though.

I probably shouldn’t say more as I haven’t thought it out much beyond that.

We are driven by problem elements, but Actions are driven by Decisions and Decisions by Actions. And the idea being discussed is that being driven (with Drivers or otherwise) doesn’t just mean ‘this was the first thing that happened’ but that it also refers to ‘this element is present within the structure’.


This is too strict a reading of Drivers. I find if you just worry about them in places where acts change, that works just fine.

I don’t really understand Greg’s comment, fwiw.

This is only true for one pair in any quad. The other pair should be clearly binary.


Is this true for the particular quad always, or is it based on the context? i.e. in Help/Hinder/Support/Oppose (under Attitude) is Help <-> Hinder the continuum while Oppose and Support are binary, always? Or does it depend on the story?

It seems to me that the Focus and Direction tend to be a continuum while the Problem and Solution are binary; but maybe I’m looking at the quad of Problem/Solution/Focus/Direction!


I don’t know the answer to this.

When I’ve thought about it, whatever quad I was looking at (in context) yielded.

I suspect that it’s fixed, but this is one of those things that has always remained a lower priority than writing.