Overall Story Concern in the Other Three Throughlines

This morning, reading @jhull relationship article, it occurred to me I could get a clearer handle on this if I made it explicit to myself.

So in my substory, my overall story throughline is, say, Obtaining.
now for the other throughlines I spell it out in my notes:
MC Concern: Innermost Desires (obtaining)
RS Concern: Changing One’s Nature (obtaining)
IC Concern: The Future (obtaining)

and suddenly I had a verb, and it all made more sense to me.

For the main story:
OS Concern: changing one’s nature
MC Concern: innermost desires (changing one’s nature)
RS Concern: Obtaining (changing one’s nature)
IC Concern: The Future (changing one’s nature)

For second substory,
OS Concern: the Past
MC Concern: Developing a Plan (the Past)
RS Concern: Memories (the Past)
IC Concern: Understanding (the Past)

This is the sort of thing I’d like to see in the software, to support the users as they try to dope this thing out. With the flat presentation of the data, the relationship between a lot of the points can take a long, long, long time to learn, when it really should be kind of obvious. In this case, I had a moment of, d’oh, this is how the throughlines are knit together into a something that has the ‘feel’ of a single story.

Comments always welcome, especially if I’m wrong!

Jim’s article:

What is the meaning of the connecting the OS Concern to the other throughline Concerns? I’m not quit understanding what you’re getting at here…

It looks like you’re trying to connect the four throughlines to each other, is that right? Like, “Obtaining in terms of Changing One’s Nature” … &c.

What you’re saying seems to imply that one can think of the OS Concern as the umbrella concern that all the other throughlines sit under. That’s not quite how Dramatica theory works, and I’m not sure I think the idea of a Relationship Goal is super helpful.

To me, an RS Goal would imply that the relationship is working toward achieving something in a linear manner, or having an intent to balance things from an holistic POV. I’m not sure if either of these are what’s going on in the RS.

Hmm… food for thought. I feel like this might open up some more clarity in the theory.

It looks to me like he’s saying that the problem is one of Obtaining, but that from an RS perspective it looks like Becoming (forgive me if that’s wrong @GetSchwifty), but that’s not quite right either. Because it’s not a problem of Obtaining that looks different from an RS, MC, and IC perspective, but an indescribable inequity that is not Obtaining, Subconscious, Becoming, or Future but that looks like Obtaining from one perspective, Becoming from another, and so on.

If you look at the DTSE, you see four squares and we treat one of those squares as if it were THE problem at the heart of the story. But picture an empty circle in the middle where all four come together. This empty space between all four throughlines is the inequity at the heart of the story. So it is NOT Obtaining, but it does look like Obraining. It is NOT Becoming, but it does look like Becoming. Because it is NOT these things, we can’t really say what it is. But because it does LOOK like these things, we can put all four views together to “outline” that empty circle. This outline gives us the best, most complete picture of the inequity that we can have. It’s a bit like looking at a black hole. We’ll never know what they truly look like because they send back no light for us to observe. We get the best picture of them we’ll ever be able to get by observing the light that bends around them and outlines them.

Another way to view “the heart of the story” by looking at the DTSE might be to imagine that the four quads are not side by side, but can move off the page. Maybe as you look down at the DTSE, Physics is so high off the page that it’s about to hit you in the face while Psychology is so far down you’d need a ladder to reach it. That difference in height would be like the empty circle. Or maybe the inequity looks like looking at Physics first and for ten minutes and then Psychology next for one minute instead of Psych first for five and then Physics for five, or both at once for ten.

Let’s assume it’s not what’s going on. Let’s assume for a moment that what’s going on is indescribable. A linear storymind that looks for structure would look at what’s going on in the RS as being in service of an endpoint in order to address the conflict. It would look very much like a goal even if that’s not what the RS is. And to a holistic mind that looks for balance, it would look at the RS efforts as a process of balancing. So from a Storymind perspective, it seems like this would work just fine. It’s akin to saying that a linear MC doesn’t require the story to have a holistic IC because a linear Storymind would still be viewing what is a holistic IC from a linear perspective making the holistic IC look linear to the Storymind.


but an indescribable inequity that is not Obtaining, Subconscious, Becoming, or Future but that looks like Obtaining from one perspective, Becoming from another, and so on.

Clarifying, indeed, up to a point. Why is the inequity indescribable? That doesn’t seem to me to make any sense at all. Isn’t the story the process of describing it, as it were? Even if you’re doing it through subtext.

Could it be because it is all things and nothing at the same time?

I’m from Missouri. What the hell does that mean?

What is the DTSE? Your words are strange to my people.

For what it’s worth, it’s now clear to me that the post I made to kick off this thread is totally wrong.

I had to dig through the entire internet but I found it.

DTSE = Dramatica Table of Story Elements

I’m never going to remember what it stands for but at least now I can point at the right thing on the wall.

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Are you saying the Storymind is not one kind of thing, but two kinds of things? One story mind is linear, and the other is holistic?

I’m not sure I buy that. That’s attaching a strange sort of metaphysical status to this model that doesn’t really work. And why two kinds of things and not four, since we’re all about the quad? Especially since we’re letting go of gender. I suspect the REAL state of affairs is something a lot more like:

male/male linear/linear
male/female linear/holistic
female/male holistic/linear
female/female holistic/holistic

with the slash separating interior and exterior, and the quad representing a spectrum, with male/male and female/female forming a dynamic pair, and likewise male/female and female/male. For example, I think, and Orson Welles thought, that most male artists were male/female–a male exterior with an interior gendered female. Nothing to do with sexual preference, but in how they behold the world. I consider myself to be like that, for example.

In other words, like all the other quads, it’s a smooshy smudgy spectrum.


The inequities are created in the space between perspectives. As such, we are unable to view them directly. We are only able to view them through the lens of the perspective we have chosen. By getting a view from a single perspective, we get an idea of what the inequity looks like, but only from that perspective. As we view the inequity from more perspectives, we get more information about it. Once we’ve looked at it from all four, we’ve got the most info we can get. We can synthesize an image of the inequity from there, but can never view it directly.

Take light. Measure it one way and it acts like a particle. Measure it another and it acts like a wave. Does what light is change depending on how we measure it? Maybe. But probably it’s neither particle nor wave, but something that creates both images for us to see depending on how we look.

Or take the speed of light. Light travels at (forgive me if I’m wrong here, I didn’t take the time to Google it) roughly 300,000km/s in relation to the viewer. What that means is if you and I were in the same inertial reference frame, we could send out a beam of light and measure it as traveling at roughly 300,000km/s. But if you accelerate to half the speed of light and send out a beam a light ahead of you, you will still see the beam as traveling away from your new reference frame at the speed of light. But I will see the beam as traveling away from your ship at half the speed of light because I still see the beam as traveling at the speed of light. So whose right? Is it traveling away from you at the speed of light? Or is it traveling away from you at half the speed of light? Thing is, we don’t know if the light is even objectively traveling at the speed of light. All we know is that it travels the same speed in relation to any inertial reference frame, both my “stationary” reference frame and your new “accelerated” reference frame. So we can describe light from an inertial reference frame, but that’s as much information as we can get from it. The nature of light, in as far as it lies outside of our perspective, eludes is. So we can study light more and more and refine that outline around it more and more, but until we can take the “perspective of light”, it’s full and complete nature will always elude us.

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I don’t think I said that, no.

Nice explanation. Particle/wave theory. Hmm I wonder if our measuring the inequity changes the inequity?

I’m joking. I think.

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The Storymind boot record (Preconscious) is one or the other—yet, there is a spectrum available throughout the rest of the mind (Conscious, Subconscious, Memory).

This kernel filters observation in such a way that neither of us sees the objective reality present in the universe.
And you can’t dual-boot. :smile:

You can numb the influence (through drug therapies, etc.) but you can’t currently alter this permanently.

You can see this at work in a Dramatica storyform. Select one, observe the Signposts (time), then switch the Problem-Solving Process, and return to the Signposts. The perception of time for a Linear Mindset is different than that of a Holistic Mindset.


I wanted to toss out another answer to this that came from it at a different angle.

We need a couple of justifications in order to have an inequity so let’s use the following.

Dave should eat an apple a day in order to keep the doctor away UNLESS Dave needs to give all the apples to his horse in order to have a happy pet.

Ok, that’s silly, but forgive me. I didn’t put a lot of time into it. But we’ve described two justifications that outline an inequity-that sit on either side of the inequity. Either Dave can eat the apples to keep the doctor away, or Dave can give the apples to his horse to keep the horse happy.

But now we know how the conflict manifests. Whenever Dave engages in the first justification (eats an apple to keep dr away), he loses out on the second context (a happy pet). Whenever he engages in the second justification (give the apples to the horse to have a happy pet), he loses out on the first context (here comes the doctor!).

So now we’ve provided the justifications that outline the inequity and we know how the conflict will manifest. But we still haven’t described the inequity itself. So how would we go about describing the imbalance that exists between eating apples to keep the doctor away and giving them to the horse to keep the horse happy? How do you describe the act or process of those two justifications not being within balance?


Textbook answer! How the heck would you describe the space between those?


It’s a Greater Good problem. Is the greater good for Dave to take care of himself, or is it to take make his horse happy (and you have to ask, how happy, since we’re not concerned with the horse’s health in this problem as posed)? The answers tells us who Dave is.

If Dave is more concerned with himself then with his horse’s mood, then from the horse’s perspective, Dave is selfish. From Dave’s perspective, his health is more important than a mere horse feeling good about the world.

If the horse thinks its happiness is the most important thing there is, then Dave’s keeping every apple for himself is just incomprehensible to the horse. What would lead anyone to every do such a thing? It’s madness! From Dave’s perspective, the horse had better shape up or there will be a glue factory in its future instead of a pile of tasty apples.

The inequity is in how important those apples are to someone’s well being (problem 1) and whose well being is more important (problem 2). Since the author is the one doing the measuring, his perspective and value gives us the shape and size of the inequity.

What do I win?

Of course, there are also interesting questions like, are those apples really that good for Dave. And will the horse really be a lot happier if it gets apples instead of oats and sugar cubes? Just how full of (horse)shit are both of them, or either of them (accurate/inaccurate).

You could also look at it as a problem of a limited resource and two demands for it. A supply and demand problem, a kind of problem that famously seeks equilibrium. (Now I[m thinking about Fluid System Dynamics*, hmmm…) The word inequity has a kind of moral ring to it. I’m coming to favor the word imbalance. Maybe one way to look at these kinds of problems is to ask ‘what’s the most fluid element in the problem.’ In the case of Dave and Mr. Ed, it’s the flow of those apples. There’s also the fluid up and down nature of Dave’s health, the horse’s sanguinity. We’re trying to move the levers to get those fluid states to something resembling a stable state, to release tension (the build up of energy in the system–only an imbalanced state has that kind of energy stored, and needs to release it to find equilibrium).

*which has all kinds of formulas. http://www.site.uottawa.ca/~rhabash/ESSModelFluid.pdf

Assuming there is such a thing as the greater good :wink:

Sure, but the point is, not only is it not ineffable, it’s well-trod philosophical ground.

I only meant the kind of problem. Wasn’t making a statement ‘there’s a greater good here.’ although that would be the author’s argument/measurement, yes?