The Fourth IC Signpost in a Steadfast-MC Story

We know all the IC story points impact and challenge the MC’s perspective on their personal issues.

This is true of the IC Signposts also – during that portion of the story the IC will influence the MC in terms of that Type (e.g. impact the MC’s Future, or Subconscious desires, or whatever). And generally that impact is something that challenges the MC’s perspective, pushes them toward changing their perspective.

BUT. Imagine a Steadfast-MC story, where by the fourth act the IC has gone pretty far down the path towards Change. Can that fourth IC Signpost, while still full of impact, actually strengthen the MC’s steadfast resolve?

I think I’m seeing this in my own story – my last IC Signpost turned out to be The Present, which made me laugh out loud because the biggest IC moment is when she actually becomes present in the MC’s head! And though I’m a long way from writing that scene, from what I can tell her presence helps him Control things (MC Problem) and cements his Response of Feeling.

Also in The Fugitive analysis the 4th Signpost of Conceiving is illustrated as

Gerard is able to put the various clues together and comes up with the novel idea (for him at least) that Dr. Kimble may indeed be innocent.

Which is actually supporting Kimble’s steadfast resolve!

I guess even the 3rd signpost might be like this if the IC changes early…?


According to my (albeit limited) understanding of the theory, change in either the MC or IC can be gradual or sudden, or at times can be more gradually while at others more sudden, but most of the time if there’s no more growth in the character’s resolve during that fourth signpost, what’s the point of that final signpost?

I believe Back to the Future is actually a strong example of this. While George McFly has gone very far down the path towards change by the beginning of the fourth “act,” as illustrated by finally standing up to and punching Biff out, not long afterwards, when another guy takes away Lorraine to dance with her, George politely takes her back, but only after a brief hesitation. George’s final signpost clearly strengthens Marty’s resolve, as he takes over for the injured guitar-man, which in turn helps George to put the final nail in the coffin of his old resolve.


Couldn’t there be a trade-off character for a scene, who represents the IC for that snippet of the story, who also changes? I remember reading genre books years ago, where the story patterns were repeated with other characters. I never understood the system, but I did notice that it made the story more fun. (if that makes sense)

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