OS perspective and non-major or non-element characters

Say you have a story with eight major players within the OS. Whether archetype or complex characters, these eight characters represent all sixty four OS elements. You also have one or more non-major characters that represent zero of the OS elements. These non-major characters are essentially props to give the major characters information or tools to move them from one place to another or set dressing or canon fodder or whatever. Since these characters don’t represent an element of the mind trying to solve a problem, they

A. Cannot technically be a part of the OS as they are not part of they Storymind
B. Can, but are not required to, fall into the OS because though they do not represent a process of the mind they are still characters in the story
C. Must still be treated as part of the OS because they are still characters in the story.

I’m almost positive this question is technically answered somewhere in the book or one of the websites, particularly if you look at the Dramatica definition of player and character, but not sure I’ve seen it outright addressed. So I’m just curious how the rest of you would answer.


I would say B. They might be just storytelling if they don’t relate to the OS at all. But, even if they don’t represent character elements, they could still represent the OS story points and/or relate to the OS story in some way.

Like say one of the guys in the background in the Star Wars cantina scene. They might not be important enough to represent any elements (?) but their way of life is certainly going to be impacted by the Empire suddenly strutting around and testing itself way out here in the boonies where it usually leaves people alone.

I think this question, while fascinating, can only be theoretical because it would be really hard to say for certainty some minor character doesn’t represent any element. Elements can move around between players.

In addition, when writing I find that for the characters I know represent particular elements (because it’s obvious), it’s not that they are that element. It’s more that they tend to bring that element into play or focus. Like my Support character loves to give support, sure, but she also often needs support, or points out a lack of support, etc. It’s sort of like she walks around in a bubble of Support that affects everyone around her. If a minor character with zero elements technically “assigned” to him interacts with her in a scene, he might be suddenly shown in the light of Support and become important to how Support works in that scene. So doesn’t that make him part of the Story Mind’s use of Support and thus part of the OS?


Hi @Greg Greg. I agree with @mlucas . This is just storytelling. While the storymind caters to the “structure/subtext” of the story, it isn’t the meat of the story. The structure simply yields the material to be told, the meat if you will. In the Dramatica sense these non-element characters are pure storytelling elements; and as the author you’re at liberty to colour the narrative in any way you please. They serve to enrich the audience’s/reader’s experience.

Say, you’re writing a fantasy story, and you need to populate the storyworld. You will need these characters to fit into the OS.

For my WIP, I usually tie them to the OS theme. This can be through the nature of their jobs or some other role that is relevant to the nature of the Storyworld and the OS theme of the entire work.

Hope this helps?


Reading this it occurred to me that it’s very likely that characters like this represent some element as a group. So maybe all of the cantina characters together represent Uncontolled or something (not saying that’s it, just an example).

I bet this actually very common, especially in big canvas stories like Star Wars.


So if I’m being rigid, I’d say A, but that Mike’s explanation is the caveat.

With the cantina characters in Star Wars, within the world of the story, we can extend the problem of Empire Rule to them, but I can’t think of any conflict we see them experience or relate in the film from empire rule. Assuming there isn’t any conflict for them in the movie, I’d say the storytelling causes us to extend the problem to them because they are living beings within the story world, but that structurally they’re not considered OS characters. But if, as Mike says, they represent or otherwise relate a storypoint to the audience, they suddenly are OS characters.

So I think we’re giving different answers that are actually the same, if that makes sense.

I have a story I’m toying with about a group of women riding across an ancient mystical and dangerous land to reach a goal. I really wanted to keep the storyform to just their group and the bad guy, but as the idea develops I find them stopping in villages along to do different story related things. If I keep the story to just the group of women, it feels much different than if I start applying these points to those in the villages they stop at along the way. But applying the storypoints to those in the villages makes it feel like a story with a much bigger scale, so I think I’m going to have to go that way.


I love it when these theoretical questions come back around to writing!! :sunglasses:


There’s another connection for ya.