Just want to throw something against the wall and see if it sticks.
I call it, “the wall and the stone.” The wall is a metaphor for those kinds of stories where the central characters or groups are constantly beating their heads against a wall in the hopes of eventually getting through. The stone represents those stories where the central characters or groups are tasked with carrying a burden to point X, and then to point Y, and then to point Z.
The wall is Situation v. Fixed Attitude. The stone is Action v. Manipulation.
“central characters or groups” determines whether we’re talking about relationships or characters as the unit of examination.
Therefore, a wall story examining a group of teachers ( ‘group’ tells us that the unit of study is relationships) trying to turn a school’s performance around despite resistance from a defeatest or apathetic school board who has created a wall is a story in which the Situation v. Fixed Attitude axis is the OS v. RS axis.
But, a stone story examining a group of teachers trying to carry the student body through a series of journeys in the effort to turn the school’s performance around (perhaps the first journey is getting drug dealers out of the school, the next is enforcing academic standards for student athletes, and the last is grieving the loss of a universally loved teacher who committed suicide). This would be a story in which the Action v. Manipulation axis is the OS v RS axis.
What we gain from looking at it this way is we never have to look at terms like “Action,” “Fixed Attitude,” etc. All we have to do is figure out if it is a wall or stone dynamic and whether that dynamic focuses on individuals or groups.
If this is a valid way to look at it, then the next question is for example whether, in a story in which the Situation v. Fixed Attitude axis is the OS v. RS axis, the OS is the Situation or Fixed Attitude. I’ll examine that in a future post.