IC influence over non-MC players

@Lakis @MWollaeger @JohnDusenberry
Didn’t want to interrupt the Knives Out thread too much, so I moved my reply to a new thread.

If we’re talking about Storymind perspectives rather than a players specific within-the-story point of view, then the idea is that the story itself is looking at the IC to see how “you” see the problem, justify the problem, and deal with the problem in order to see if “I” should adopt that position.

If the MC problem is ‘everyone has a bad attitude about me’ then before the MC switches from Mind to Universe, it would make sense that the Storymind would look at how adopting the position of Universe will influence everyone by first looking at ‘you’ influence everyone’s Universe. The non-MC players that the IC is influencing would just be IC characters at the time the IC is influencing them. That they are also players in the OS throughline shouldn’t matter. After all, they’re also already players in the MC story in this example.

Another way to look at it would be that each character the IC is influencing is another fill in for the MC as they decide whether they should change or not. If the IC influences Frank and things work out for a bit and then fall apart For Frank, and the IC influences Jane and things immediately fall apart for Jane, and then the IC influences Pat and things really seem to have worked out well for Pat, then how will things work out for me if I change? To the Storymind wondering this, Frank, Jane, and Pat are stand in MC players within the IC story. If the IC character is an analogy for me were I to view the problem that way, then Frank, Jane, and Pat are analogies for the process of me changing to adopt that new perspective. Kind of like saying “if I had started out viewing the problem that way it might be fine, but now that I’ve started this way, switching to that way will work out for a bit and then fail (Frank), fail immediately (Jane), or work out forever (Pat). By seeing what happens when they change, the Storymind is essentially wondering what would happen if it changed before it actually changes. Again, that these players also inhabit the OS is of no consequence structurally.

My point is that as a perspective everything ‘you’ do should be seen in terms of an analogy for ‘this is why I should adopt that position’ and the IC player influencing others can work to do that in multiple ways. So the IC doesn’t have to influence anyone other than MC, but in the way that I view the IC, the IC influencing others jives just fine.


Avoiding that thread because of spoilers, but wanted to add:

The IC influences the Storymind first and foremost. What conflict does YOUR perspective create? Sometimes that’s direct (Ben Kenobi first Star Wars), sometimes that’s indirect (the cop in Die Hard).

So the answer to the question, “Does the IC impact the MC, or all the players in OS?” is neither—and both.

You just have to be super clear about the quality of that “impact.” Is it personal and YOU, or is it objective, and part of THEY? Sometimes, what looks like You is really They (particularly in Psychology Domain stories—NO SPOILERS!! :rofl:)


In fact, this is all that it does, right? Or maybe I should say that it’s always doing that? So assuming the scene is a YOU scene and for sure not a THEY scene, anything that happens, whether the IC player is influencing an MC player, an OS player, or no other players at all, it is still YOU influencing I in some way.


I dont’ want to get caught in a “well, yeah, but Jim said…” thing, but the idea that this is what it is always doing is correct.


Solid question @Greg.

This is a bit of the dance with Dramatica. A story only exists as a whole–they are a web of tensions–yet Dramatica allows us to pluck out a detail and talk about the it in a very cogent way.

I will say that the more time I have spent thinking about stories through this lens, the clearer things have become and yet sometimes harder to explain to others. I think that may be why Jim says this:

For instance, for me, the IC began as “what domain is the IC in?”
Then it became, “How is the IC influencing the MC?”
And then, “Define the IC from the perspective of the MC.”
And recently, “This story is about [insert Crucial Element].”

I’m sure it will continue to develop, and eventually I’ll switch between the perspectives depending on what is most helpful to create stories. But it has made things both clearer and more confusing for me lately, in a really positive way.


I feel the same way about a lot of that. Particularly about it being harder to explain. But I also think that’s why it’s important to keep trying. Not only do you find clearer ways of explaining things, but you make things clearer for yourself and give others that are not to that point yet another perspective to maybe help push along their own understanding.

In fact, the reason I posted—and I hope it didn’t feel like I was picking at your personal understanding as I’ve learned so much from you—is that I think separating perspectives from players is really hard to do and I feel like I’m just getting to the other side of being able to do it. As such, i find it is harder to describe to others because I know that I now have a slightly different view from what I had, and I know that if I tried to explain how I see things now to myself from before I had this view, I never would have gotten it because I just hadn’t gained this new view yet…if that makes sense. So hopefully by bringing it up we’ll bring more clarity.

But I’m seeing more and more that there’s this idea that, because the storyform is what it is, there are things that must or can’t happen in a story, and that is a limiting idea. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad idea per se. For people who are starting out with the theory, it’s actually very helpful to speak in a way that limits certain ideas just as training wheels on a bike limit a rider from a particularly sharp and dangerous turn or other things. But there comes a time to remove the training wheels and there comes a time to quit limiting your ability to tell a story.

Let me pause right here and say that I am not talking about you specifically taking off the wheels, or anyone else. I’m just speaking about the journey in general that everyone must take in order to further understand story. And in actuality, I problem am, in fact, talking about a certain person when I say it’s time to take off the training wheels. Myself.

But again, I think it’s a good idea in a forum to give beginners those limitations, and I suspect that’s what Jim and others are mostly doing. But as I try to take those limitations out of my own understanding, I see that anything can happen in your story. There are no limitations. The IC can influence and/or create conflict for any player. As Jim says, that can be confusing and you have to be careful, but it can absolutely be done. And your MC can be influenced by the processes an inanimate mountain embodies or exhibits because it’s not about the mountain, but about the processes, about the space between the MC and mountain, about the view of the mountain from the MC perspective.

That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about what happens in the story, but about how the Storymind views what’s happening in the story. People come to Dramatica with the view that they will use structure to build their story, so it looks like structure determines what happens in the story. But from another view, structure doesn’t do anything to the story. The story just is what it is. Instead structure provides a reference frame from which to view what happens in the story. Structure is, in a sense, our justification for saying that a story has meaning.


In no way did I feel this way. We are here to learn.


This is why I am loathe to even say “Don’t read The Writer’s Journey!” because it is a limiting structure that helps new writers. (That said, don’t read The Writer’s Journey.)


Sorry, I got time-crunched out of the analysis.

To answer why I said @JohnDusenberry’s idea didn’t jive with mine was basically because I look for the IC (and all their impact) through the eyes of the MC. Once I have that figured out, then I can see how it impacts other characters. But I don’t consider how the IC impacts other players until I understand how they impact the MC.

This prevents just looking for troublemakers. It’s a technique more than a thought on how stories work. (I’m not sure I’ve really considered this before now.)


Would that impacting of other characters by the IC be as players in the Overall Story?

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I think it’s probably that they move the plot and allow other players to react. OS characters don’t change but they need things to react to.