Separated Characters in Separated Throughlines

I’ve noticed a lot of people have wondered what would happen if the players for various throughlines never met, so I decided to do an experiment. Thanks to ideas sparked by @jhull and Subtext, I developed a treatment using a known Storyform. Here’s the result.

The treatment is shown below, but here are notes about the intent.

  • An irrational person, with backing in the government, is taking over a city.
  • Daryl, the MC, is nowhere near this, nor has knowledge of it.
  • Gunner, the IC, runs a company in a entirely different country.
  • The RS is encompassed by twins, separated at birth, and are neither Daryl nor Gunner.

Here’s the treatment:

Act I

  • Daryl visits a countryside, and his lack of desire to be there shows, raking in ridicule and scorn.

  • A shadowy criminal reveals his plans to take the city.

  • Gunner’s ambitious plans for his company drives others to work too hard and too fast.

  • Estranged twins fear the worst of their first meeting, and thus stall their soon to develop brotherhood.

  • Fearing the worst, people acts as if it’s an apocalypse, reveling in destruction in the name of protecting their freedom.

  • The criminal now also reveals he has various government-stationed backers.

Act II

  • As more and more government backers are revealed, various factions in the city arise to maintain their version of justice, which soon leads to an all-out war.

  • Daryl attempts to learn the job of stable keep, but his unsuccessful attempts lead him to verbal and physical self-abuse.

  • Upon weighing their options, the twins come to the conclusion: They would rather meet to provide the chance for friendship than always wonder what would have been.

  • Gunner’s pretense of listening to his employees (he doesn’t, really) manages to breed distrust among the group, including between one another.

  • An city extremist in the midst of the wars topples buildings, killing hundreds, and injuring thousands more.

  • A truce is called to heal the injured and mourn the dead, but some disagree - they should be liberating their government offices.

  • Gunner soon fires a whole team, causing everyone to worry they will soon lose their jobs and disabling their focus.

  • Feeling as though his flame has been lost, Daryl releases the horses - physical violence from the owners, then judicial arrest, follows.

  • The twins first meeting goes well, and over the course of additional meetings, they reveal various aspects of their lives to one another, fostering and strengthening the developing friendship.

  • The criminal pulls in those who disagree with the truce to his side, guaranteeing their desires.


  • Gunner holds a brainstorm meeting for new products, thus revealing the company truly is going under - everyone leaves.

  • The party of criminals march on the med camps, burning them, ensuring their future by showing a destruction of the past.

  • Those who remain either surrender and pledge their servitude, or lose their lives running from the city.

  • The twins, finally feeling like long-lost brothers, have become calm and even playful around one another.

  • In his arrest, however, Daryl realizes that as the horses have been free, so as he - the countryside is no longer an enemy.

It turned out to be more dystopian than I expected, but I didn’t actually look at the storyform before encoding. Thus, I didn’t know what the ending would look like.

Anyway, there you have it. What does this structure and separation of concerns feel like to you?


Hard to know how to feel without the full experience of the actual story. But here’s what comes to mind. First, I noticed a sort of ensemble cast feel to it, which would be hard to get away from. But then getting to act three and not seeing that, whoa, they were all actually connected the whole time in a “Love Actually” kind of way suddenly makes it feel like various short stories woven together and switching intermittently, and yet, I think viewed as a whole, seeing all the stories in the right order and right context to the other stories-particularly seeing the solution appear in one story and then things start feeling resolved in the other stories-then I think, yeah, it would work as one complete story.

But I can also see some ppl keeping the stories separate in their minds (because I live in a predominantly linear society) and not getting the overall, more holistic connections and asking “why did Bob change in the one story? It didn’t make any sense”


That’s the same feel I got, even as I was writing it. Honestly, though, I was actually shocked at how woven together it could feel if I were to expand upon it.


The form I used actually has a Steadfast MC. That is, Daryl shouldn’t change. I think changing the last piece to end with, “The countryside is no longer an enemy, all are” would bring that feel in. Thus, Gunner should change his outlook. I’d have to flesh it out more to figure out what that would be, though.

You might be feeling the weakness of that encoding.

P.S. Turns out that I like this story enough that I might flesh out the MC and RS and “finish” it.


No, It’s nothing I personally felt from your example. I was just giving what I thought might be a critique to a hypothetical example of a story. That’s why I used ‘Bob’ and not Gunner or Daryl. I mean, the Storymind is supposed to be a Holistic view of story, so I’m just saying that it would make sense that more Linear minded folk might not balance that solution from, say, Daryl’s story to Gunners, or vice versa. Just as Linear problem solvers tend to look at the components of a relationship rather than the relationship itself, I can imagine them only looking at the components of a story like this and not the connections between throughlines. I think the linear folk that don’t get the overall experience of this type of story would see this as more of a gimmick, or something experimental. Personally, you’ve got
me wanting to find an ensemble cast flick to watch now.

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I’d love to see it. Please share if you do.

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Absolutely. We’ll see, though, I’ve got something like 4 stories, and 3 other projects I’m working on aside from work, now…

What really interests me here, though, is how if you remove the RS, it becomes very distant. At least to me, anyway. I think that’s a result of how the RS explores the “emotional/passionate” side of the argument. Having the RS also seems to give this kind of story some kind of… mental break? is the only way I can think to phrase it.


This is so interesting. I love the concept and where you’ve started to take it. Agree with you and @Greg that it would be hard to know how well it holds together without fleshing it out more.

The end result could be something that feels very satisfying and thematically resonant without people being able to articulate why. (It’s been a long time since I watched one, but Krzysztof Kieślowski’s films used to make me feel like that).


I so want to do an analysis of Three Colours: Red. Definitely a complete storyform!

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I imagine it’s going along for the ride, from the start, that would get linear viewers, i.e. The Manhattan Story with Edward G. Robinson, Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, etc. It used a dinner jacket being passed down from one set of people to another. It was quite effective.


I think that would be a great way to keep a linear thinker on board, Prish. Seems like I’ve maybe seen something like that, now you mention it. I’m going to have to wrack my brain for an example.

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I read that there is one version that did not cut the WC Fields section, which sounds like a necessary part of the overall story argument. Just FYI. I’m on the lookout for it. The acting was quite remarkable, overall.

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I would need to find time to watch it again. But I would be up for that.

Actually I bet White is also a complete storyform. Not sure about Blue.

Double Life of Veronique made an impression on me but right now I can’t remember it.

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Yes, this one was really good, but I seem to remember something was lacking about it. (However, it might have just been a sad ending I remember, not sure.)

Red though … I literally just got a chill up my spine, thinking about the ending and the way Irene Jacob turns her head just so as the medic with the windbreaker walks by. I actually have the movie poster kicking around somewhere … had it up in my room before I moved out, and in my first apartment.

Strong feeling that Red is in lower-right Concern position, with one of the “probabilistic” Elements in the problem quad (e.g. Potentiality, Possibility, Probability, or maybe one of the weirder ones like Induction or Reduction). I seem to remember the weather forecast being super important, which has a strong element of Probability. (But I could be totally wrong – that’s the fun of a Dramatica analysis!)

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Now I have to watch it again! It was my number one favorite movie for a long time. I’ve seen it many times, but like I said it’s been years. I’m impressed that you can even guess at a quad.

I may see if I can watch it again soon.


I know I’m leading this thread to further derailment, but I think Blue is totally a complete story.

OS - Completing the unification music piece.
MC - Juliette Binoche
IC - The dude she sleeps with
RS - Juliette Binoche/Dude


Interesting and great idea.

Did you encode the Problem in each Throughline? On first glance, it looks like you wrote four separate tales focusing on perspective.

What would be really great is going back in and encoding at the very least the Problems in each Throughline for each Signpost.

The resonance that will develop between the four will likely prove compelling—as well as help to illustrate how these Throughlines are perspectives—and still hold meaning even if they don’t act upon each other.


Yeah, I see this, too, and would expect it, since it was the approach I decided to take. However:

This was actually going to be my next step! :grin:

The strangeness here is that this experiment helped me solve an issue with my long-running WIP…


Don’t remember it well but The Red Violin is one, the red violin serving the same purpose Prish described the dinner jacket doing through a series of stories.


I just saw the movie A Knight’s Tale, for the first time, amazed how good it was. It reminded me of maybe the greatest linear-thinking hook, ever! Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

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