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The Theory of Story

The Theory of Story


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Published by Ramsubramani

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Ramsubramani on Jan 01, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Impact Character in a story never stands alone, but is always evaluated in terms
of his impact on the Main Character. When encoding the Impact Character Throughline
Plot Progression, this is equally true. Unlike the Main Character Type Order which
reflects the Main Character's Growth from one concern to another, the Impact Character
Type Order reflects the progression of the Impact Character's impact on the Main Char-
acter. In other words, each of the four Impact Character Types describes a chink in the
Main Character's armor, a weakness that is exploited by the Impact Character. This
forces the Main Character to consider issues that will ultimately bring him to Change or
remain Steadfast.

For example, in our sample story, the Impact Character Throughline is in the Fixed
Attitude (Mind) Class. As a result, the Impact Character Throughline Types are Memory,
Impulsive Responses [Preconscious], Contemplation [Conscious], and Subconscious.
This means that the Impact Character will (in some order) force the Main Character to
remember (Memory), to respond differently when there is no time for consideration
(Impulsive Responses [Preconscious]), to become aware of something (Conscious),
and to desire something (Subconscious).
Encode the Impact Character's Types by the impact the Impact Character has in that
area of concern on the Main Character. In this way, your Impact Character will force
your Main Character to grow to a point of potential Change. That is the function and
purpose of the Impact Character in a story.

Dramatica, A New Theory of Story -- Copyright (c) 1993 - 2001 Screenplay Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved


Impact Character Throughline Type Order Encoding


In this fictitious story example, the Impact Character Throughline has been chosen
as Fixed Attitude (Mind). The Type order selected for the Impact Character is as fol-
lows: Impulsive Responses [Preconscious], Contemplation [Conscious], Memory, and
lastly Subconscious.

(Note to authors: The Impact Character need not be physically present in order for

his impact to be felt!)

Signpost #1

Type 1. Impulsive Responses [Preconscious]

The Impact Character is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He sees jus-
tice and honor as being flexible, dependent upon the situation. His very
attitude causes unthinking responses (Impulsive Responses [Precon-
scious]) in the Main Character, who reacts to every instance of the Impact
Character's sliding scale of values as if he were shocked with an electric
prod. The Impact Character's actions force the Main Character to lose
his temper, make threats he later regrets, and smash things in a fit of self-
righteous rage.

Journey #1

Type 1. Impulsive Responses [Preconscious] ———> Type 2. Contemplation


As the Main Character becomes more obsessed with infiltrating the
Consortium and edges toward putting himself under cover, the Impact
Character's flexible ways infuriate him more and more. Eventually, the
Impact Character has had enough of this, and begins to intentionally
exhibit his easy attitude in front of the Main Character, so he can make
him aware of situations in which rigid views just won't work.

Signpost #2

Type 2. Contemplation [Conscious]

The Impact Character carries the argument to the Main Character that
no one is immune to temptation. Going under cover in the Consortium
will surely cause the Main Character to break if he does not learn to bend.
Prophetically, the Impact Character makes the Main Character aware
(Conscious) that there are some situations in which a fixed code of ethics
creates a paradox where one must re-examine one's ideals.

Dramatica, A New Theory of Story -- Copyright (c) 1993 - 2001 Screenplay Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved


Journey #2

Type 2. Contemplation [Conscious] ———> Type 3. Memory

Coming to see that even though the Main Character is now aware of
the issues involved, he still does not relent in his plans, The Impact Char-
acter begins to bring up "the old days" when they were both beat cops
together, fresh out of growing up in the same neighborhood. The Impact
Character uses the Main Character's memories to drive home the point
that the Main Character was also flexible in those days, and they laughed
at the stiffs who usually ended up getting killed or going crazy.

Signpost #3

Type 3. Memory

The Main Character has gone so deeply under cover that no one at
the agency has heard from him in days. The Impact Character contacts
and meets with the Main Character, finding him caught in a web of self-
doubt, unable to choose between sticking with his code or helping the
children's hospital. The Impact Character forces the Main Character to
remember their days growing up together in the same neighborhood.
Recalling how the Main Character's thinking was not always so black and
white, he urges the Main Character to learn a lesson from those memo-
ries and bend with the wind, rather than snap under the pressures that
are upon him.

Journey #3

Type 3. Memory ———> Type 4 Subconscious

Unable to be in further contact with the Main Character who remains
under cover, the Impact Character gets a few old friends from the early
days to cross paths with the Main Character in the attempt to loosen him
up. Each has been told by the Impact Character to remind the Main
Character about "the old days" and how much fun they used to have, how
many dreams they shared before they got "locked in" to the system.

Signpost #4

Type 4 Subconscious

Now that the Main Character is back in the agency, the Impact Char-
acter passes judgment upon him. He tells the Main Character to look to
his heart - look to all the noble things the Main Character had hoped to do
in the political realm. The Impact Character asks the Main Character how
he feels now, knowing that he has violated the very ideals he had in-
tended to run on. "What does your heart tell you now?" he asks of the
Main Character, then walks out leaving the dejected Main Character

Dramatica, A New Theory of Story -- Copyright (c) 1993 - 2001 Screenplay Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved


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