Multiple POV, IC as OS Protagonist, MC as OS Antagonist

That connection between them is the Storymind itself. It’s the part that can do things for a while (climb over mtns) and then consider another way (walk around the mtns). That’s why the stories don’t have to be connected through storytelling. Their spatial and temporal arrangement within the same story mind are enough to connect them.

There is something else to consider in this sort of experiment, though. If your storytelling between throughlines leaves them obviously separated, you are counting on the Storymind and the audience to connect them. Some of the audience probably won’t, but some of them probably will. The Storymind will keep up with it just fine as long as the structure is solid.

BUT if your storytelling makes the stories look like they’re supposed to be connected through storytelling and yet you don’t show your MC in some way relating with your IC, you’re probably going to have some storytelling issues that get in the way of your message. If your story is about Frank the policeman chasing Jim the bad guy, and the storyform would have Frank influencing Jim to turn himself in, and yet they never meet and Jim has no knowledge of Frank or his actions and yet Franks steadfastness pushes Jim to change, you have a problem. Not a structural problem, necessarily, but at least a storytelling one. “Why would Jim turn himself in if he never even knew that Frank was willing to sacrifice something important for the greater good?” the audience might say. Even if your Storymind gets the message…even if the audience gets the message…you have broken the storytelling by not giving Jim the info he needs in order to change. You’ve broken the internal logic of the story world.

So just because you CAN keep throughlines separate and still pass on the message doesn’t mean your story won’t appear to be in some way broken in the realm of storytelling.


I love this. It’s a microcosm explanation of how my Trilogy and Book one merge. And I appreciate no one shot me out of the water by my experiment with this.

About the different slants on the gists… [quote=“Greg, post:12, topic:2587”]
I wonder if he means that ‘seeking the treasure’ should be illustrated through run ins with ghosts and pirates and ghost pirates and sword fights, while ‘seeking the treasure’ as an RS Concern should look more like becoming friends or enemies over attempts to find the treasure, or as an IC concern showing how seeking the treasure influences the MC to be more manipulative

@jhull, I’d love to see a breakdown of this idea. Maybe on Narrative First, maybe on Writer’s Room. As you said, education is the best way to explain. I think that’s why your working through the “Writing with Subtext” video series was/has been so helpful. The process revealed this difference, through the QUESTIONS you asked Diane. Your correcting her as she was giving answers. That was very useful.

As for how to show this difference, you could have a switch (like you have now to turn on PSR) but a second-level switch that turns on or off the throughline specific aspect. Maybe at the bottom of each beat/ gist box.

Alternately, you could have a NF page we refer to that shows a bunch of examples–what that gist means as a MC gist or RS gist. Not wordy, or explanatory, just rephrased with the slant.

As it is, (wonderful as it is!), the elements are listed generically, even when we click on
or or

No complaints, I’m patient, love Subtext. Great work. You are a great teacher.


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Say the Antagonist/MC gets pulled into the story because her sister is kidnapped. But the IC doesn’t know anything went wrong. The IC is promoting this system where that girl’s being taken is a good thing. The IC wants the system to go forward, but to him there IS no inequity.

According to your explanation, this is enough.

However, OS problem is Trusting this system. Ant/MC doesn’t, Pro/IC does. MC issue is security, personally affected by her own safety now.

The inequity from the start of the book is only indirectly the inequity represented by the issues in the OS.

Are we using the word inequity for two different things? The initial driver causes inequity, but the interplay between MC/IC is also a different type of inequity?

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I don’t know your story so there’ll be some guessing and assuming here. But when you say that to your IC there is no inequity, that’s a view from within the story. If this character is indeed your IC, then there is objectively an inequity to deal with even if this character says there isn’t.

Based on this limited info, here’s how I would look at it. There is an indescribable inequity at the heart of your story. No one perspective/character can fully explain it. But the Storyminds first person perspective (the I perspective, or MC) of the inequity is that her sister has been kidnapped.

The IC, however, is of the mindset that things are good. The ICs mindset here is what is influencing the MC. It could be that the MC is being influenced to look for ways to say this as a good thing, just like the IC. But that’s not necessary. It could be that, by the IC having the mindset that being kidnapped is a good thing, the MC is influenced to adopt a mindset of fearlessness. Or fearfulness. Or to love a system, or to hate one. Or whatever. And eventually either the MC will change, or will remain steadfast until the IC lets go of their mindset that things are good in favor of addressing the Universe.

Are you saying that the kidnapping is only partially related to people being okay with this system? If so, thats okay.

The inequity at the start of the book is an inequity the characters deal with, but it’s not the indescribable inequity at the heart of the story. It’s only part of it. We won’t see the fullest view of that inequity that we can have until you’ve explored all four perspectives and all four acts. So you might have all types of problems that look both directly related and completely unrelated.


Perfect. I’m on the right track, then!!

Again, sweet! Persuades me I’m on the right track, in spite of my mistakes.

I reworked my throughlines, paying especial attention to…

  • the IC’s beat pivoting around how that element brought conflict for the MC. Even when it’s in his head, he’s not arguing with himself as much as creating his world inasmuch as it will pummel the MC’s issue
  • the RS’s beat pivoting around the debate over the perspective
  • the MC’s beat being primarily staying true to their issue
  • the OS’s beat being about keeping the storyline running according to the beat (like the setting that moves forward), irrelative of the MC’s existence

Does this satisfy the throughline needs?

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I’m not quite sure what you mean by this, but it doesn’t sound quite right. The RS isn’t about any kind of “debate” but about a changing (growing / devolving) relationship. RS beats will vary for the type of relationship – imagine how much different romance vs. buddy cop vs. parent-child vs. pet & owner relationship beats will be. But they’ll all involve things like closeness, togetherness, strength of the bond, working well or poorly together, parting, rejection, abuse, etc.


Hard to say without knowing specifics. And even then, it’s still pretty hard to say. I feel like I’m better with theory than application in most instances. My advice at this point is to ask yourself, “does the material I have for this point reflect the appropriate point of view? And does it accurately illustrate the appropriate story point? If not, how could it be done better?” And go from there.

For more about inequities that arerelatwd, check out this bit from a recent narrative first article that looks at the same events in BTTF from different perspectives.

What That Looks Like From Here

What happens when we dive into the amorphous cloud of “self-confidence” that appears to describe Back to the Future? What does it look like to search out where the Authors placed the conflict in the story?

It can be confusing at first to enter the unknown; preconceptions cloud your very perception of solid ground.

So first, find a perspective.

Establish a point-of-view.

Look from without, and you see Avoidance.

The time traveler avoids having sex with the confused teenage girl. The same traveler avoids, or runs away, from the bullies. The affable parent avoids upsetting his boss. All examples of conflict within the relationships from an objective point-of-view.

Look from within the relationships of Back to the Future and you see Temptation.

A father taking the easy way out when parenting. A friend fighting the Temptation to keep the one he cares about safe. A mother confused by temptations for her son from the future.

These are subjective interpretations of conflict for the relationships in the film—the conflict from within.

Same situation. Same characters. Different context, different conflict. And yet, no.

Same source of conflict—just from a different perspective.

Each perspective points to the same inequity, the inequity that can’t be addressed directly.

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Thank you. This is a concrete explanation. I get it.

Let’s say that in spite the random-cause growing/living relationship between the MC and IC, they have personal differences over a topic, call it “abortion.”

So if the MC and IC (the RS couple) are going to have it out over that issue, will this occur according to the IC throughline beat order?

And what happens to the tension in the relationship because of the disagreement? Is that still in IC? Or now spilling over into RS?

…(this may be a different topic, but it pivots on the differences we are discussing)…

Or do…

  • all fixed attitude scenes happen in Mind,
  • all activities happen in Physics,
  • all situational-quandries happen in Universe, and
  • all manipulations happen in Manipulation,
    …irrelative of the MC/IC/RS/OS name?


  • If the change-issue is an idea, the IC is Mind,
  • if the change is about a situation, the IC is Universe,
  • if the change-issue is an activity that needs to happen the IC is Physics, and
  • if the change-issue is something that has to be forced(?) the IC is Manipulation?

Nobody has commented on this post,
(Gists According to Throughlines) demonstrating the differences, so I guess I’m still fuzzy.

It depends on how you write it and what each throughline perspective is. An argument over abortion in one story could be RS, while in another it might be MC, IC, OS, or a “multi-appreciation” moment (combining multiple throughlines).

The change / increase of tension in the relationship would definitely be RS.

A good thing to do as a Dramatica-savvy writer would be to look at this from the lens of the RS story points. The “abortion” topic is probably mostly subject matter, but you could hopefully see that the increased tension of the relationship stems from something else like being overly emotional around each other (Feeling), or trying to minimize the importance of their relationship (Reduction).

EDIT: not sure if I was entirely clear that I meant, you would first write the scene or plan it out (even in your head). And once you realize the scene causes a change in the relationship (tension or otherwise), that’s when you try to look at it from the RS lens, as a way to verify and gain clarity on how the RS is working there. Sometimes this will give you ideas on how to improve this part of the scene, say by bringing in some RS element more. (But you only do that if it feels right for the story.)


“The Karate Kid,” via 1984 just popped in my mind. There was a scene where Daniel finds Mr. Miagi drunk.

They originally wanted to cut the scene from the movie (the scene that led Pat Morita to an Oscar, arguably).

I don’t know if TKK has been Storyformed, but doesn’t that scene feel almost purely RS? The moment that they become family? I also wonder what time in the movie the scene is? A midpoint fulcrum?

You always read about how every scene should either advance the plot (OS) or illuminate character (MC, IC).

It is interesting to me that the RS is about labeling the relationship and demonstrating an arc of change, but it it also seems to be a requirement for a shift from one Class to another (drivers). The thing that frees the story to shift in perspective.

Think about Tango and Cash (or any other buddy cop movie). The midpoint fulcrum is often waiting for a shift in relationship to usher in the new Act. When the duo shift from unwilling partners to allies of necessity then the requirement for Driver three is there.

Anyway, that makes me want to have 80s night tonight!