Possible MC vs. IC test

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine between the two principal characters which is MC and which IC. We apply the usual “whose shoes are you in” vs. “who are you looking AT” but it’s still not clear. (Example: Enchanted challenging the storyform; and I think Captain America Civil War was another one that generated a lot of discussion.)

Anyway, I was wondering if another test we could use might be, which of the two characters seems to have a problem-solving style (aka mental sex) that more closely matches that of the entire story / StoryMind? @jhull and others have done a lot of work lately on Holistic stories, and we now have many ways to determine the Holism or Linearity of the story without focusing specifically on the MC. Just take a look at a Holistic storyform on Subtxt to see how much different many of the terms are, not to mention the Premise.

Do you think this can work? It might not give a clear answer in all cases but I’m thinking it could be another tool that could help. (Or maybe this is something people have been doing all along and I never noticed? :stuck_out_tongue: )

The issue with this is that they’re not always opposite. Many stories where both are “Linear.”

The very best test is not one, but several. It’s a combination of Crucial Elements and the meaning of the story. Once you dial in Outcome/Mindset (Mental Sex) and MC Growth, the Crucial Elements will tell you who is the Main Character and who is the Influence Character.

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Right … that’s why I was thinking that the test would only be useful some of the time – when it’s clear the two are different Mindsets. But I wasn’t sure how well it would work in practice.

It can definitely be tricky. I do find that the IC is easier to identify than the MC most of the time, so I’ll focus on that rather than trying to figure out the Subjective character (who, by their nature has a more subjective feel). It’s easier to spot the more objective character having an objective influence over the MC and other characters in the OS. Crucial Elements definitely help, like Jim said, if you can narrow in enough.

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I find it fascinating what people find easier and harder in dramatica, because it’s different for everyone.


After seeing Jim’s post in the Enchanted thread I’m very impressed with how well the Crucial Elements test works.

The really interesting thing is that – probably partly because I don’t remember the movie that well – I actually thought the elements from the alternate story could potentially apply. Robert as Help (all the help he gives Giselle) and even Giselle as Hinder (messing up Robert’s engagement, blocking/delaying Prince Edward, standing in the way of the evil queen). BUT it’s clear these are not Crucial Elements – they aren’t the core of the story’s meaning.

Is the idea with this approach that one figures out the storyform to see the Crucial Element without singling out who the MC or IC are?

Kind of both at the same time, but if its difficult to define MC/IC then I would try this, the idea being using whatever works to get to a meaning that works across all relationships.

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Do you mean on Dramatica or in Premise Builder?

Both work the same (although I think it’s clearer in Subtxt).