Hand-off of entire Throughline, or not?

Hello, everyone.

In my the proof of the pudding is in the eating - time to put up or shut up first run through Dramatica in earnest, one of the many things I’m currently unsure about is the nature of my OS throughline, or, actually, maybe all of them?

In my story my MC player (who is also either my {broadly speaking} emotion or skeptic OS character) unwillingly travels multiple times between two distinct, separate, and wildly different realities. He is the only character to do so - but this is not the baggage that my MC is dealing with (the MC throughline is concerned with coming to terms with a bereavement).

My starting expectation was that almost all of the MC IC and RS would be in REALITY A (where the IC is his separated wife), and the majority of the OS would be in REALITY B (where the OS goal is, effectively “gain control of the princess”).

The problem this led me to was whether any additional characters that appear in REALITY A are just storytelling (as they wouldn’t, in this form, be part of the OS). Then I had to consider whether the player who is MC would really not deal with any of his MC stuff whilst in REALITY B. This further led me to ponder whether that player would really then not bring any of the OS issues back with him into REALITY A. Then it felt like a complete mess and I wasn’t really sure where the lines were between anything.

Now, I’m wondering whether I should be handing off the entire OS, IC and RS throughlines between both REALITIES as the MC (player) remains constant, and just emphasise or attenuate the scope and depth of how the storypoints are expressed in each one (to make REALITY B feel more like the OS story?) - like how @jhull is now considering the RS throughline to be hand-off-able?

It’s often said on these Discussions that the MC throughline is about “what they’d carry with them into another story”. I guess I’m asking whether I have, kind of, 2 stories (with the same storyform) that share an MC?

I’m supposed to be focusing on establishing and illustrating what my five Drivers are, but without being clear about the space that my OS occupies, I’ve tripped at the second hurdle and I think I have a Dramatica related confidence injury.

Any and all thoughts and comments are welcomed.


It sounds to me like you might be overthinking this. As @mlucas pointed out in that link, there’s no reason that you can’t have multiple players who only operate in the MC throughline. But I also think that as you write, you might find that characters who you thought were only in the MC throughline are also expressing OS concerns, issues and problems. At same time, you’ll probably find that your MC player is dealing with personal issues in the OS throughline, even if you’re not consciously putting them in there.

And keep in mind that some storypoints can be lightly touched on (e.g. the voice of Ben in Luke’s head presenting the IC perspective at the end of Star Wars).

In short, this might be a “trust your intuition” situation.

Is there some part of the story that feels off in a non-Dramatica context (as opposed to an intellectual idea that “according to Dramatica” you have to have XYZ things)? If so, that might be a time to pull up Dramatica and see if it can help you fix a particular story point.

Otherwise, you could just go in circles (as we’ve been discussing in other threads).


How much of the story will take place in Reality A vs. Reality B?

It’s funny, I’m actually going through some of the same issues in my current draft which also features multiple realities. My OS is simpler to grasp though as it involves a war which spans all the realities.

My IC is separated from my MC for much of the story (“being lost” is basically the IC Universe encoding – it’s a lost dog). That has kind of worked, as the dog’s lost-ness is definitely influencing the MC on her personal issues, but I found other characters cropping up to take on the IC perspective as well. So, don’t be surprised if you have characters in Reality B start representing that IC perspective somehow. (But note this may happen on its own as @Lakis suggests.)

For your OS, I can imagine characters in Reality A performing some OS functions, like say a friend who is willing to sit and listen to the MC player’s OS problems (Support) and maybe even believes his crazy story about an alternate reality (Faith). If that Support and Faith ends up bearing on the Story Goal, it can still be OS.

So I guess this is basically what you were talking about with handing off OS, IC and RS throughlines between realities. Great thinking! But I’d say it doesn’t need to be an explicit hand-offs, and you maybe don’t even need to plan it too carefully. More like just allow it to happen and be aware of opportunities to bring in any throughline perspectives that have been growing cold.


Don’t we all. :laughing:


Currently I have just a handful of story idea islands, a storyform (number 5 for this idea, and pretty sure it’s mostly right after changing the driver from Decision to Action) - so I haven’t really thought about the end to end story flow - so I don’t know whether any of the parts I have outwith Dramatica will have any trouble connecting. My immediate problem, that precipitated the post, is being unclear about whether my OS (and IC and RS) spans both Realities so that I can encode and illustrate my drivers to get the backbone of my Dramatica Conflict Skeleton in place before I can add the muscles of Illustrating and the skin of storyweaving.

Thanks for the mention of “light touch” inclusion. With all the spread-sheeting I’ve been doing, I might have lost sight of that.

I expect about 50/50, and thinking on that has kind of put me on the path I think I need to walk.

Thanks @Lakis @mlucas for taking the time to respond, your comments have really helped. I can’t remember whose topic it was that was talking about writing works where the throughlines were not even connected ( I think you both commented on it), and all of that together has helped me to see the way I need to take it. By having Reality A occupy parts of the OS throughline, and Realitiy B represent parts of the MC IC and RS Throughline - effectively having each mirror/shadow/echo the other it will meet the objective need of having the storyform be relevant to the entire story, but also support my subjective desire to have the both the MC player and other players in Reality A consider that the MC player is fabricating an internal world to deal with his circumstances (as there will clearly be parallels and harmonies between the types of conflicts that underpin both).

Now, to have a stab at getting the drivers done tonight. Momentum is important.


It occurred to me that my OS Goal was not specific enough. A goal of “gain control of the princess” makes it difficult to figure out who the protagonist and antagonist are. In this iteration, a number of players want to achieve that goal for their own reasons. In effect they would be competing protagonists. Who would be the antagonist, then? Maybe the “princess” would not want the goal to be achieved, or concievably she would also be interested in acheiving it herself.
By specifying the goal as “player X gaining control of the princess” it makes it much easier to attribute other character elements to players, as their interest in that process and/or outcome is much clearer.