What Concern or Issue would reconciliation fall under?

Okay, with the “mad doctor” dividing a character into two characters, it sure sounds like we have some kind of sci-fi or fantasy story here (another iteration of Jekyll & Hyde?)! But whatever genre you set it in, I still need some basic, clarifying answers:

So, are your MC and Antagonist both male? And is the Protagonist/IC male or female? (You mention “a love triangle,” but that doesn’t necessarily narrow the options down much!) So, are there any females among these three characters?

And what will happen in the rest of the world if the two halves of this divided character don’t reconcile?

A few disappointed friends? A messed-up social circle? Confusion about which half to invite over for a holiday party?

Or something more impactful, like the Protagonist-reconciler losing his/her “only chance at love”? Or having his/her life threatened by either an out-of-control MC or Antagonist, or both?

Or the MC’s company/empire/venture failing and people losing their jobs and security? Or a town/nation/world at war, because this character divided against itself has so much self-hatred that it cannot tolerate the idea of reconciliation?

Basically, in whatever world where they exist, these three characters should have at least some connection to a larger world where reconciling (or failing to reconcile) this two-halved character into one will make some dramatic difference that an audience can see.

And don’t worry about constructing a “perfect” Overall Story at this point! Answer some of my questions above, and your ideas on the OS should begin to blossom toward a useable version…

They’re all male and there’s no murderous Mr. Hyde type, though others could be in danger due to side effects. The doctor who did it was female, but is dead. She doesn’t have to be if she used any magic or suspiciously magic-like “science” (not sure which way to go) on herself, but I’m not sure how else to believably preserve a world that’s mostly like our own.

I can come up with internal stakes (loss of feeling loved, bad self-worth, remaining victim to anxiety), but I’m not sure about external stakes-- my tendency is to think of extreme ones (save/change the world, life or death, prevent family from being murdered) or think of ordinary ones that I’m not sure people will care about if it’s not a life or death matter. For instance, if jobs and a company that does a lot of good might be lost because Antag and MC can’t work together, why can’t the people involved, in a setting much like our own world, get new jobs? Maybe it would be difficult and could destroy their confidence, but it won’t kill them or (likely) starve their families. It’s sad, but lots of people have lost jobs.

If Pro/IC had his life in danger, would the consequences have to have an effect on a large amount of people to be sufficient enough to be a stake?

Oh, indeed, “lots of people have lost jobs,” @SharkCat! But if times are hard (which they always are, for some people) and any of those employees have sick or malnourished children, the stakes of losing their jobs just rose appreciably (e.g., look at Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and many other desperate-times stories across the ages).

Also, an impact on relatives (siblings, parents, children, even aunts, uncles and cousins) can be quite enough to make the stakes matter to most audiences:

If I’m the sister, aunt, or any “only living relative” of the Antagonist, and I learn that my old-age financial support might be usurped by another “half” of that Antagonist, I too would strongly resist the two of them getting back together. Many a dramatic mystery has been based on such.

And see, I just suggested a mashup genre to throw in: A sci-fi mystery, that involves the MC trying to learn about his forgotten-by-him past as “a whole.” So he’s driven to learn about this past because some strangers keep trying to harm him.

And why? After several narrow escapes and investigations, he learns that these people fear how his returning to “wholeness” might cut off their financial security.

So I haven’t added any more than two to four characters, but this still does give us an Overall Story — “Battling Over Antag’s Wealth” — that involves all these characters in dramatic ways.

Finally, remember that every great story has a bit of “game” or “contest” to it.

So no matter what your contest/game/story is purportedly about (Obtaining, Understanding, The Past, or any of the other Dramatica Concerns), you’re setting up that one of the major obstacles preventing any character from winning this contest is the alienation and estrangement between the Antagonist and the Main Character.

And that Non-Acceptance could very well be the Problem lurking beneath and muddying up all the other efforts to Obtain, Understand, Play a Role, explore The Past, etc. (I’m essentially affirming your idea that the Problem is something like Non-Acceptance.)

Along with that, in my speculative version of your storyform, I set the MC as a Be-er (he’s “avoiding the world”), and the Story Goal as “Conceiving an Idea” (in a world where personalities and bodies can be split into two, but most people can’t imagine such, there will be a huge need for the ability to conceive such an idea).

Again, I’m speculating wildly based on your abstract references. But I’m just trying to inspire you to spend less time in Dramatica frustration and instead brainstorm more possiblities!

I’m curious as to how would that work as a Story Goal. I thought that a Conceiving an Idea Story Goal would be something like a guy works for a toy company and needs to come up with the next great idea. He struggles, but in the end comes up with a great idea and the company loves it and the story ends. I have trouble imagining it as being an end rather than a means to an end.

I’m hoping if I can figure out the Storyform, I can then brainstorm from whatever is filled in for the Overall Story. If all the characters suffer from difficulty in living in the Present (ex. Antag fears getting too close to others due to Past memories of outliving loved ones and fears suffering likewise in the Future, IC and MC may struggle with the effects of envy on their self-worth and thus fear for their Futures because of Past disappointments such as IC getting disowned for dropping out of college and MC running away and getting involved with the experiment because he thought his undiagnosed anxiety disorder destroyed his father’s restaurant), I wonder if that Problem might also be Accept.

@SharkCat, I think you are conceptualizing too narrowly about “Conceiving an Idea” :-). To help with that, I suggest you go to the Analysis Filter at Dramatica.comhttp://dramatica.com/analysis/filter

There, under “Overall Story” (about halfway down the page) select “Concern.” Then, under “Value,” select “Conceptualizing” (another name for Conceiving an Idea). Then click on the “Search” button just below that.

The site should next pull up images and information for at least 19 classic stories that have an OS Concern/Goal of Conceptualizing/Conceiving an Idea. And many of them apply the term more broadly than you do with your “toy inventor” idea.

If most everybody in your story comes to feel held up or “stuck” because of this one-man-became-two concept, then everybody accepting that idea (“Conceiving” that such a thing could actually be possible) seems like it might be the Story’s Goal (and thus everyone’s Concern, even if they can’t quite admit it to themselves).

Of course this means that those opposed to the two halves reconciling will not only try to keep them apart, but will also try and sell the idea that such a separation of a person is an impossible delusion.

These opposers will fight the Conceptualizing/Conceiving of such an idea, and try to make it sound like a heinous or preposterous thing, just to win over those whose conceptualizing is “on the fence.”

But of course, there’s so much I DON’T KNOW about your story, so the OS Concern/Goal could be something else altogether.

For now, it does sound like you’ve got some more-specific Overall-Story details appearing, what with financially-related plot items about “dropping out of college” and “destroying the father’s restaurant.” That’s definitely progress! And I hope you’ll spend more time studying the Story Examples available at the Dramatica.com website (many of which are in the Dramatica software).

Thanks! I hadn’t been sure if we could show the result of Conceiving an Idea without it turning into some other Concern.

I had gotten this to some extent before, but never completely until your explanation above. This could mean that Protagonist and Antagonist in the Overall Story are not the MC and IC in the relationship story? Have you ever come across that in stories?

Oh, definitely. Happens all the time. The most common example on this site is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Atticus is the Protagonist, the prosecution (whose name I do not remember) is the Antagonist, Scout is the Main Character, and Boo Radley is the Impact Character.

Of course… and that is the textbook example. And I knew that. It just never occurs to me to write a story that way. I realize Dramatica provides the ultimate license in freeing one up to do that… But for some reason I never got it through my thick noggin’ until now. Aha moment. Call Oprah.

Don’t feel bad, I read so much theory that I had to go back to figure out exactly what the Argument in the Grand Argument Story is supposed to be (it’s in proving the Overall Story Solution over its Dynamic Pair, right?).

Right you both are, SharkCat and MiggsEye!

great summary! Thanks for summarizing it this way.

Four years later, it should be understood that this is incorrect.

The Relationship Story Throughline is not about the Main Character or the Influence Character.

It’s about the Relationship.

Which can or CANNOT feature both or neither the Main Character nor Influence Character.

the plot thickens…so the story mind matures and sees things from a different perspective.

Relationship is a character of its own. Yes. Scarlett / Rhett.

What their relationship is …is complicated.

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It was always there in the theory, just assumed to be easier to teach it as always being between Main and Influence Character. What I prefer to do now is to find structure/theme, then see what relationships fall into place. I’m almost always surprised by what I find.

For instance - building the storyform for the first season of Barry yesterday, I only put down the relationship between Barry and his acting partner, Sally. I completely forgot about the relationship between Barry and Noho Hank because I was thinking “heart” of the story - rather than the dynamic relationship between two people that grows over the course of a narrative.

The relationship between Barry and Noho actually fits the storyform better than the one between Barry and Sally.

Really fascinating stuff.

I started writing about it last month, but was quickly distracted by the past couple of week’s exploration of The Holistic Premise.

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Jim, can you clarify - are you saying that the Relationship Throughline may describe the relationship between the MC and IC, the MC and any other character, the IC and any other character, or the relationship between two other characters who are neither the MC or IC?

I read the linked BTTF article, which has the MC included in three separate relationships that cover the same StoryPoints.

I’m willing to bet that’s EXACTLY what he’s saying.

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Four years on and I still can’t write this story, or decide on a storyform, or a premise statement. :sob:

Yes, for sure!

The perspective is ALL that matters - the perspective of We.

I cover it in that article, and have several follow-up articles on the subject already written - just got slightly distracted with developing the Holistic Premise (narrative argument) for Subtext–a Holistic Problem-Solving Style approach to “Greed leads to self-destruction.”

Now that that is winding down, I’ll circle back to this and get it up and going again.

We’re also going through all the storyforms and looking for instances where there are multiple hand-off relationships, so you’ll have more examples of this in practice.

Happened most recently with the storyform for Barry: Season One. I originally just had the relationship between Barry and Sarah, thinking it the “heart” of the story, but @JohnDusenberry aptly pointed out that the relationship between Barry and NoHo Hank PERFECTLY fits in to all the Storypoints included in that Relationship Story Throughline.

Just think of it like the hand-off for Influence Characters - the perspective is all that matters - so you can hand off the We to several different We’s.


Scarlett & Rhett’s relationship is a turbulent romantic relationship.