MC absent from half of the plot (The English Patient)

I have difficulties in choosing the proper distribution of role in the story I have in mind.
I don’t know which character offers the best POV on my story and in order to choose, I need to clarify the possibilities.
To make it quick, my story is about somebody who has lost his memory and will progressively rediscover is past with a therapist.
In order to find my way in a rather complicated plot, there is a film that sticks out for me : The English Patient.
As you may recall, it tells the story of this guy (namely the English patient played by Ralph Fienes) who is about to die and tells to a young nurse (Juliette Binoche) the tragedy of his past love for a woman the that led him to his end.
So we have kind of two stories inter-woven into each other.
His past love story being one, and the nurse listening to him and grieving her own lover recently deceased, the other. The length of the stories on the screen is really 50/50, 1h15 each.
One could be tempted to think there are two separate stories but I kind of suspect it doesn’t.
In my opinion, it works like this:
The Nurse is the MC (we receive the whole story from her POV), The Patient is the IC (even if his own story is seen from his POV) he is also the Protagonist (he pursues love in the past and he tells the story and slowly dies in the second part), and the past loved woman is the antagonist (as I believe it is very often the case in any love story :wink:).
But if i am right then the MC is completely absent from the first half of the plot (although she’s present during all the film, because of the way the telling is fragmented ) and the antagonist is absent from the second half of the plot (although she is replaced as antagonist by another character played by Willem Dafoe who is coming from the past in search for revenge).
But I believe that the story form is working on the plot level, right ?
So how can it work with the MC being absent for the first half of it ?!!
What about her signposts ? Are they only starting when she comes in ? Is it OK ?
If it is, it means the way I see my story could work and I would be so very pleased :grinning:!!
I haven’t found any Dramatica analysis on this film and I think it would be a very interesting case study to illustrate the characters functions as well as the differences between plot and weaving.

It’s been years since I read the English Patient and I don’t quite remember it.

However, your question reminds me the first season of the Netflix series The Sinner. Without too many spoilers, the story concerns a woman who has suffers from PTSD and repressed memory. As the series progresses, the hidden history of the woman is gradually revealed.

Unfortunately, there’s no Dramatica anlaysis of it yet so I could be wrong, but my impression is that it’s actually two stories (two storyforms). If I’m right, in the present day story, the troubled detective (Bill Pullman) is the MC and the Jessica Biel is the IC; in the flashback story, the Biel character is the MC. The stories are basically told in parallel and resolved at the same time (revealing the resolution of the past story solves the present story).

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Thank you Lakis,
I haven’t seen The Sinner but I will definitely take a look at it as it sounds FRIGHTENINGLY close to my story !

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Simple mathematics:

Each Throughlines explores de 64 elements in visiting the 16 quads of the 4 signposts. If each quads is explored in a complete sequence with the PRCO, it means at least a 2-3 scenes for each sequence (I just watched the first Conflict Corner episode and this was the case).

So for a story to be complete, we have 64 sequences (16 x 4 throughlines) and probably between 100 and 150 scenes.
That seems a lot to me ! Even in a 2 hours film !
And if we have two stories (like in The English Patient or Jerry Maguire), now we are talking maybe 300 scenes ! (and those films are less than 3 hours long)

So here is the question:
For a story to be complete, does it REALLY have to have EVERY single quad of the four signposts of the four throughlines visited ?
Is it the case in the majority of the films we discuss, anyway ?
Isn’t the fact that they all have a complete Storyform enough to grant them the honorable title of Complete Story ?
Please tell me that it is ! :pray:

When you say visiting the 16 quads, are you talking about using the plot sequence report? If so, the answer is no – you don’t have to us the PSR at all; or you could just use it for one or two of the throughlines. Also, you can use the Z-pattern to combine two of the variations (Subtext sets it this way by default).

In terms of how each variation is explored, the guidelines are pretty elastic and don’t necessarily map to “traditional” scenes and sequences, but it seems like people usually use each PSR variation as a single scene (not a sequence). The PRCO elements describe the “turn” of the scene.

But you could also just forgo the PSR and have four scenes per act (1 per throughline using the signposts) and maybe + Drivers.

The more important “rule” (guideline?) is that you must explore the signpost of each throughline at least once per act, even if it’s just a single moment (e.g. Obi-wan’s voice in Luke’s head just before he blows up the Death Star).

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Excellent ! I get it !
Thanks a lot.

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