Hard Distinguishing MC and OS


I’m asking you all for feedback.

Listening to the Dramatica Users Group podcasts, I have heard Chris say a number of times that one should focus on the MC’s personal moments in order to figure out the points of that throughline. For the OS, he emphasizes it’s what “everyone” is concerned about.

Distinguishing the MC’s concerns, I suspect, is pretty easy for me. What I want to know is whether scenes as only part of the MC throughline are frequent. I suppose it depends on the genre.

My guess is that usually the MC through line beats are, more often than not, placed within the OS and RS. For example, say there’s a remake of Little Red Riding Hood called “Freeway”. Little Red is clearly experiencing moments of impact on her, personally. However, I can only imagine the personal moments in MC throughline are short.

Same with Star Wars. There may be some moments of MC when an OS character discusses an MC concern with Luke, but usually, it’s personal moments woven into either RS or OS scenes.

Any comments?

First, Freeway is pretty great.

Second, there is in stop stories for the MC and OS to be harder to pull apart. Star Wars is a great example of this. His Universe wanting to go from farmboy to Jedi feels very tied to the OS. Same with Top Gun or the Matrix.

The other part is, in a finished work, all the throughlines will be woven together. In films or shorter stories, you’ll find lots of Multi-Appreciation Moments where parts from several different throughlines are illustrated simultaneously. In novels or stories where there is more real estate, things can be spread out more.

Hope that helps.

Think romance as MC/IC focus in reading drama, and think mystery as OS focus in reading drama. A published fantasy writer gave a talk at a romance writers meeting because she started off as a romance writer, and she emphasized that fantasy has an unresolved and/or new problem right at the end: i.e. everything worked out just great except for one character that had been turned into a tiny dragon, and that needed to be addressed in the next [book, story, step, etc.) I enjoy mulling over traditional genre and Dramatica archtypes, just for fun.

It can be a difficult thing to pinpoint many MC exclusive or OS exclusive beats in a story that’s all woven together and encoded… but that’s where Dramatica helps.

Really separate out the through lines. Treat Luke as two separate characters:
MC Luke the farm boy who wants to help fight with his friends.
OS Luke the guy who is dead set on getting the Death Star plans to the Rebellion and testing his abilities as a pilot against the Empire.

One is about his progress with the fantasy of being in a certain position.
The other is about having the skills to actually do the physical things to take down the Empire.

From there, you can take any point in the story, and figure out what that beat is really describing. I don’t think there’s as many multi-appreciation-moments in stories as the theory book suggests there could be…

Picking a random scene in Star Wars: Stuck in the Trash Compactor
Which one of the Throughline does that primarily sound like to you?

His progress as a farm boy making it as a freedom fighter?
Physically having the skills to do something against the Empire?

I could see a bit of both, maybe. But I definitely lean toward one with enough confidence to say it’s MORE one than the other.