For me, even talking about the “them” in that statement starts me down the wrong path. Yes, it’s the force between things (maybe between two encoded things, maybe three, maybe more!) but it’s not the relation to the encoded things that matters or should be considered. In some stories it’s definitely the force between the IC and MC. In others, it’s not at all. In every case, the RS describes the force at play between “things” when looking at the overall inequity.
I wanted to share my journey/process of seeing the RS for what it really is:
Working with @jhull during my mentorship program, we were looking at the RS in different movies and came to Back to the Future as an example. Marty is clearly the MC and George is clearly the IC. But, there was definitely a VERY strong relationship between Marty and Doc, too. Only, Doc clearly isn’t the IC! So how does that work? Is there another storyform in there? It became clear to me that Marty and Doc shared the same dramatic elements as Marty and George. So there were… two RSs? Is there a second storyform, or a “B-story”?
What we discovered was very clearly: No. It’s the all the same RS POV.
Marty and George’s relationship inequity is in:
Psychology : Becoming : Commitment : Temptation > Conscience.
Or in other words: An inequity over the manner of thinking surrounding the urge to embrace immediate benefits despite possible consequences while believing one is best suited to accomplish a task while transforming one’s nature.
The relationship grows in terms of that inequity. The force at play in the relationship is afraid to embrace the benefits of being a healthy father/son dynamic, while believing it’s not cut out to embrace those benefits as the relationship transforms over the course of the story. Transforming the relationship from Technically Related to Family.
That’s one way to encode that Throughline with those two fictitious characters. But wait… An inequity over the manner of thinking surrounding the urge to embrace immediate benefits despite possible consequences while believing one is best suited to accomplish a task while transforming one’s nature also sounds exactly like what’s going on between Marty and Doc too. All the debate over how to think about the responsibility to keep the space-time continuum intact at the expense of the relationship itself.
Doc has several key lines about it, not least of which is the line where he finds Marty’s letter and says, “What’s the meaning of this?! It’s about the future isn’t it?.. I warned you about this, the consequences could be disastrous! No! I refuse to accept the responsibility!”
- Commitment vs. Responsibility?
- An inequity over the urge to embrace immediate benefit of information about the relationship’s future?
- Temptation to know information about the future that’ll save their relationship?
- Transforming their relationship from Partners to Friends.
It’s almost like Bob Gale used Dramatica to write that dialogue about the major conflict in the relationship! And the force at play in the relationship between Marty and Lorraine is the same thing, but that involves some weird stuff Disney wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, so I won’t either, haha.
It’s as if they treated the RS in BTTF as a “handoff” situation, or even had 3 fully developed RS’s that all basically say the same thing. All of them growing within that same space.
If one were to strip away the encoding, strip away the characters and the plot and the rest of the “story”… all that’s left is the pure POV. One of the four ways to look at the overall, indescribable inequity.
THEN… @jhull and I started hunting around other movies looking for multiple meaningful relationship dynamics to make sure this wasn’t a fluke. We came across many, but stumbled on something REALLY interesting when we got to The Force Awakens. In that film, we found that just like in Back to the Future, the strongest, most meaningful relationship between two characters wasn’t between the MC and IC. In fact, it didn’t involve EITHER of them. It was between Han Solo and his son Ben Solo/Kylo Ren.
What is most interesting about TFA, is how little the MC/IC relationship even existed. Finn is clearly the MC, Rey is clearly the IC… But a relationship between them growing in the space between Psychology : Becoming : Obligation : Logic > Feeling? At first glance, one might find a few loose connections between Rey and Finn that matches that POV, but it’s grasping at straws.
One might even stop themselves and think “oh maybe this isn’t the storyform, or maybe it’s broken–lacking an RS.” But the 93% on Rotten Tomatoes might disagree with you.
And that’s really when it clicked. The RS is almost completely the familial relationship between Han and Ben. Growing from estranged to reunited between Logic and Feeling.
In Dramatica terms: An inequity over the manner of thinking surrounding a rational sense of how things are related while accepting a task or situation in exchange for someone’s potential favors while transforming one’s nature.
In the Script: “I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.”
Sure that also seems to describe the same relationship theme as a stormtrooper turning into a rebel because of the forces between himself and the new Anakin Skywalker. But it’s not nearly as strong as the relationship between Han and Ben.
And that’s the key.
You can encode the RS with whomever or whatever you want. The characters in your story are simply pieces of encoding to represent the storyform. What we call the RS POV is a description of the inequity of the force between things in the storymind, not the inequity of the force between the two pieces of encoding you invented to represent the storyform.
Technically, the MC could never interact with the IC, the OS could be on the other side of the galaxy, and the RS could be about something in a parallel universe. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that once the storyform reaches its fourth stage of Audience Reception, that the reader/viewer is able to download the storyform in their heads and piece it together to see the underlying structural meaning in the narrative argument.
The RS really is just the “blank” 4th POV of the overall inequity, the odd POV out that describes the subjective forces between things instead of the subjective or objective POV alone. Every quad in Dramatica has the odd quad out, which doesn’t obviously fit with the others. The RS is that part of the quad.
I believe at the storyforming stage, one should divorce their mind from the “character” ties to the RS. It’s pretty easy to use encoding when storyforming for the MC, IC and OS. But it’s super hard for the RS because you start thinking of those encoded pieces, pulling from the MC, IC and OS. It’s tricky, but I find it helps to free your mind from those ties and focus on what it is you are trying to say as the Author. Storyform the RS first, then encode it in whatever way you think is the most clear way to communicate your GAS.