Ghost narrator domain

If I have a narrator who is a ghost (think Morgan Freeman VoiceOver), who is telling the story of a man and a woman who may or may not save him/fix the things that has him stuck as a ghost… how does that look for Domains?

At this point, I have the MC as the man, the IC as the girl, and the omniscient ish narrator being the OS ghost.

The ghost is OS situation, the MC is activity, the IC manipulation. Ghost can make no changes/actions and cannot communicate. Only interprets.

Does that work? If so, what do I need to do to keep the ghost from the MC territory? Or, is the ghost the MC and the man the protagonist OS?

When you ask how it looks for domains, are you asking if fixing things that have him stuck being a ghost work as a Universe/Situation throughline?

I mean, am I mixing up MC? If he is the narrator, does that make him the MC? Usually the MC is the main POV, through whose eyes we see the action. IE: in Shawshank Redemption, the MC and Narrator is Morgan Freeman. In Gatsby Nick is MC. This seems that since they are a part of the story, acting in it, they play a role. In my case, he observes only. But is impacted by the actions. I guess my model needs to be those two stories.

The MC throughline is about perspective, not the character.

If Andy Dufresne were narrating, wouldn’t we still be in the parole hearing with Red? Sitting in his cell as time drew out like a knife wondering why Andy needed six feet of rope?

What if Darth Vader narrated Star Wars? What if Bilbo narrated Lord of the Rings?


Nope. Not true in Our Town if you need a specific example.

The ghost set up a problem before he died and now is hoping for someone/the man/ to fix it. The ghost can do nothing but observe and hope. Of course, Nick did nothing much in Gatsby, either. And Red just watched, though he changed because of the Tim Robbins character. The problem is, as I see it, for the premise to work, the MC has to make decisions to bring about that conclusion.

Nick has a throughline that involves his job in the city. Totally minor bit present.

If you ignore the unique ability for a moment, can you define the focus/direction for your ghost?

Or why you see the husband as MC?

  1. I see the man as the MC because he is the one who has the ability to accomplish the goal. It’s his decision that can make or break the story. And the girl is the IC.
  2. The ghost is static. Think Han Solo in carbonite. But he can observe.
  3. He’s more like a sports announcer with a play by play, who happens to have a lot of money on the game. He has a vested interest in the success, and yet is not “in” the game to bring about any change whatsoever.
  4. Ghost’s focus if anything is regret, I guess. Direction: Hope. But that’s his story, backstory some of which is discovered by the other characters, but his story is irrelevant to the protagonists.

It sounds like a mystery is unfolding and catches the ghost’s attention, “Hey, these living humans in their ongoing bumblings through life might accidentally get me out of my ghost mess!” He could be a contagonist if he is able to bump things onto the floor at crucial times.

The one with the ability to accomplish the goal sounds to me like the protagonist, who belongs in the OC. It may very well be that this is the same character you choose to represent the MC perspective… and just echoing some of what’s already been said, the throughlines are about Perspective, not your characters.

The MC will have a conflict that’s unique to that perspective. So unique, you could conceivable lift that character out of your story and the inequity would follow them. You can think of it like taking Luke out of Star Wars and putting him in Shawshank Redemption. Luke is still going to be the whiny kid testing himself because he feels stuck.

Think more about what you as Author are trying to communicate to whomever digests your story. Don’t even think about a character… just what is going on from the perspective which you allow them to see your narrative?


If the premise pivots on the MC’s problem/solution, I guess this means the judgment isn’t so much the MC as change-r of the OS as much as finding the premise that matches the MC’s “lesson” or resolve.

Red & Nick both learned about human nature by observing and not really contributing to the OS. Both are Psychology change.

If this weren’t a Dramatica forum, I would say that you are 100% talking about the protagonist. But maybe you are referring to something specific about the Unique Ability? Are you?

Great. Then he seems like a narrator and you should just have him narrate.

If this seems out of sync to Dramatica for you, then just imagine someone telling a story about their mother to someone else. That’s an uninvolved narrator.

I’m not following this.

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I suppose this is what I was asking all along. Can the uninvolved narrator have a voice and personality without being the MC?

MC-change, Outcome-fail, Judgment-bad. Generally this means the MC by changing or focusing on the wrong thing was not able to accomplish the goal. In the case where MC is NOT Protagonist, like with Gatsby and Shawshank, the MC is the learner. But the way the Subtext premise comes out, it has a “when” IE: Hamlet–Everyone suffers the tragic consequences of keeping the past hidden, when you get out of your way and accepting what you know to be true.

So it seems to mean the premise IMPLIES the MC’s role in the results of the OS.

Shawshank: You can look forward to having a better life when you abandon supporting the system.
Gatsby: Virtuous are those who experience romance by finding a particular group false.

Or, is this a lesson the MC (reader) learns by watching the IC through the MC eyes? “I’ve learned that you can…by/when”

I get why this is confusing, but yes. A voice and a personality are fine–they don’t even factor into Dramatica at all.


What did Red do to have a result in the solution of the OS? Andy was the one who brought down the system. Only after that did Red walk into the parole hearing and abandon supporting the system. He was able to look forward to a better life having done so.

Remember that the Premise found in Subtext is a reduction of a Dramatica storyform. It blends subjective and objective points-of-view into a general understanding of the story’s narrative dynamic and structural appreciations.

That blending makes it easier to understand the argument of the Storyform, but it also leads to errors of subjectivity and bias—the kind of inaccuracies found in all other paradigms of Story (Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, Eat A Walnut Method, etc).

So yes, the MC’s abandonment of a problematic Element may lead to the Objective Story Goal, but it doesn’t have to. Stories where the accomplishment of the Objective Story Goal leads to a Main Character with a Changed Resolve are just as valid (E.T. is an example of this).

It’s the relationship between the two perspectives that matters. They’re not actually connected through cause and effect.

Dramatica specifically separates out the Narrator from the Main Character Throughline. Narrator is a Storytelling Device, Main Character is a perspective. They are more often than not one and the same (as with the combination of Main Character and Protagonist), but they don’t have to be

Always remember that the Premise in Subtext is an understanding of the mind of the story, not of the Main Character. It is reflective of what you the Author want to say with your story. It is not a message to the Main Character.