Main character vs protagonist (revisiting)

So I’m setting up a sequel to my novel, (which is in the hands of a publisher now, under consideration) but I need to make sure the domains were right in the previous one, since I want the same domains at least, in the sequels.

As I wrote and revised book one, I struggled over and over about the distinction between the MC and Protagonist in my novel, and how that would determine the domains. I’m still not sure I finished it according to theory.

If the MC/Protagonist is on a secret search for something and must remain covert in order to accomplish that–is that the OS or MC? The OS people have abducted her family. But the OS moves forward unknowingly, like a machine moving in its attempts to “squash the little guy,” making things worse for the MC/Prot in her search.

Her personal goal changes to be simply survival…so that she can find them, and others who are lost. Surviving, she learns and understands and does and obtains.

By midpoint, she has to set aside her search because the OS story pulls her in–and by the end of the trilogy, by solving the OS problem, she resolves that angst of wanting to be reconciled with her family.

Writing it like this, it sounds like book one is an MC failure plot (bad). But it’s not because she has become more enabled to finalize her search.

So is (alternately) the OS her search for her family? Which has activity, which is stagnant/situation?

In Hunger games,

Ultimately, that’s sort of my story, too. But I can’t separate her SEARCH from the fact that the OS people took her family.

Is MC in Activity or Universe?

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What else is going on in the OS besides the abduction and search for her family? What is the Antagonist doing?

My guess is you have OS Activity (which includes the OS reasons for the abduction), and probably MC Universe (being separated from her family, being alone), assuming you’re confident she’s a Do-er.

A particular action in the story can be motivated by (or “visible” from) more than one throughline perspective. So her search might have both OS/Protagonist reasons behind it, as well as personal MC perspective ones. That’s perfectly okay; it’s an example of throughlines being woven together.

Congratulations! Wishing you luck in getting it published!

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What kinds of Concerns and Issues affect all of the characters in this story? Actually it sounds like you’re pretty sure of the Concern quad (lower left … is that correct?).

So I would look at the Issues. Describing this story thematically, is everyone in the story (looking at all the characters) dealing more with problems of Approach/Self Interest/Morality/Attitude? Or Openness/Delay/Choice/Preconception?

Caveat: we still haven’t come to consensus on the Hunger Games movie and Jim and others haven’t read the book.

But for me it was thinking about the Issues of Fate/Prediction/Interdiction/Destiny and the feeling that the book is mirroring a kind of ancient Greek/Roman sensibility (Collins got the initial idea from the Theseus myth I think) that convinced me we were on the right track.


I never thought of jumping down to Concern/Issue to weight the difference. Thanks for that gem!

Okay. I think I knew this subconsciously.