the thematic focus or topic of the Throughline being explored
Each of the four Throughlines: Objective Story, Subjective Story, Main Character, and Obstacle Character, have a thematic topic which is described by its Issue. The Objective Story Issue, for example, provides a value standard for judging the Objective Story Characters' efforts in a story. Whatever kinds of things are done by the Objective Story Characters in relation to the Story Goal can be said to be linked thematically by this particular item.
a logical alternative used to mask the real reason
Rationalization is the attempt to have your cake and eat it too. When a character expects that catering to his desires will bring about some cost or punishment, he tries to do what he'd like in a way he thinks will avoid retribution. One way is to come up with an excuse. Rationalization involves fabricating an artificial reason for one's attitude or actions that will excuse them. The reason must make sense as being a possible actual cause of the character's activities. In fact, it might very well have been the reason, except that it wasn't, which is what makes it a Rationalization.
syn. fabricated excuse, ulterior explanation, false justification, artificial reason
the manner in which the audience identifies with the Main Character
The Reach of a story describes the relationship between the audience and the Main Character. An audience might Empathize with a Main Character in which case the audience identifies with the Main Character and sees the story through his eyes. Alternatively, an audience might Sympathize with the Main Character in which case it stands next to the Main Character as if it were a close acquaintance. The story dynamics that determine Empathy or Sympathy are different for men than for women. Women tend to identify and Empathize with a Main Character of either sex who is limited by a Optionlock. Men tend to only Empathize with male Main Characters. Women tend to Sympathize with a Main Character of either sex who is limited by a Timelock. Men tend only to Sympathize with female Main Characters. As a result of these dynamics, sometimes both women and men will Empathize, sometimes women only, sometimes men only, sometimes neither (both will Sympathize). It should be noted that these are tendencies only. Training, experience, and personal choice in any individual audience member can slip the balance wholly to the other side. Nevertheless, at the subconscious level these tendencies will hold true.
actions made in response
The Reaction characteristic leads a character to strike back at the source of a problem. Reaction is less precipitous than Proaction requiring the problem to materialize before it acts. It does not take preemptive first strikes nor does it turn the other cheek. As a result, it often waits too long to tackle a problem that could easily have been prevented, then gets in a brawl that actually becomes a problem. Many authors try to pit one Proactive character against another. This actually diminishes the drama of the conflict as both characters are taking the same approach. By making one character Proactive and another Reactive, a much more real and powerful interaction is created.
syn. response, reply, acting from stimulus, goaded to action
a reconsideration of a conclusion
When one has made an initial appraisal as to where preliminary evidence seems to be leading, there comes a time when one must make a Reappraisal of the evidence to see if its direction has changed. This tends to keep one on the right track. But characters, like everyday people, are influenced by what has occurred most recently -- "What have you done for me lately?" As a result, during Reappraisal a character might discount the body of evidence in favor of that which is most fresh in his mind.
syn. reassess, rechecking, checking up, re-examining a conclusion, reevaluating a conclusion
An Archetypal Character who represents the qualities of Logic and Control
The Reason Archetypal Character evaluates and acts solely on the basis of calm logic, never becoming enraged, passionate or emotionally involved in a decision. Although common in simple stories, the Reason character is hard to empathize with. As a result, it is one of the characters most often altered slightly from its archetypal arrangement to provide more potential for empathy from the audience. A frequent choice is to swap the trait of calm with the Emotional character's trait of uncontrolled. The result is that both characters become more interesting, the Reason character being both logical and frenetic, the Emotional character being highly passionate yet in control.
the process of tailoring the telling of a story to a specific audience
Every culture and sub-culture has its own lingo, taboos, and givens. As a result, most stories do not play the same for one kind of audience as for another. Story Reception seeks to anticipate and take into account the nature of the target audience to tailor the story so that it is received as intended. Although we all have the capacity to feel the same emotions and make the same logistic connections, our particular sub-culture may shy away from certain emotions, or brand a particular kind of reasoning as inappropriate. Further, just because we may empathize with the same emotions doesn't mean we all feel as deeply, or if we see logical connections that we all grasp them as quickly. Especially when writing for audiences such as children, it is important to consider depth and speed as well as buzzwords and popular symbols. Often we can take advantage of cultural symbols to express mountains of sense and oceans of mood with a single story point. Other time we must develop an inordinate amount of media real estate to get across the most simple experiences, if they fall outside familiar cultural bounds for out audience. The important point for an author is to determine the target audience and make sure to be or become familiar enough with that audience to take cultural expectations and taboos into account. For an enlightened audience, the task is to recognize that other ingrained cultural imperatives exist, and to seek to appreciate a story in the context in which it was created.
questioning a conclusion based on additional information
The Reconsideration characteristic represents the drive to re-examine one's conclusions to see if they are still valid. This leads to a pragmatic approach to one's own beliefs but also undermines resolve with every new obstacle that crosses one's path.
syn. re-examining conclusions, rethinking, to mull over again, further deliberation, additional scrutiny
a process of thought that determines probability
Reduction is a process of thought that compares the likelihood of several incomplete lines of deduction. Sometimes there is not enough information to fully deduce the ultimate truth in a matter. However, there is enough information to narrow the field of possibilities. When all the possibilities are considered, each can be rated on its individual merits as to how much each has. The potentialities are compared, arriving at the most likely conclusion. This allows the Reduction characteristic to act with a greater degree of confidence than if no "favorite" theory or explanation had emerged. Of course, dealing with incomplete data is a horse race where even the most unlikely explanation may surge ahead when the last piece is in place and prove to be the actual fact of the matter. It is when the Reduction characteristic gives probability the weight of certainty or fails to reevaluate that problems can arise.
syn. determining probability, comparisons of potentiality, measurement of likelihood, judging probabilities
a reappraisal of a situation or circumstances
Reevaluation is the act of reconsidering one's first impressions. This may be in regard to a person, situation, goal, or even oneself. Reevaluation is a helpful characteristic in dispelling incorrect initial assessments of the meaning behind things, but is a real drawback when a person or situation conspires to lure one's understanding away from an accurate Evaluation. Perhaps a series of coincidences or a concerted effort can present information that conflicts with an earlier Evaluation that was actually quite on the mark. A character containing the Reevaluation characteristic can be swayed by new misleading information and form new, mistaken understandings.
syn. reappraisal, further assessment, subsequent analysis, scrutiny of first impressions
- Relationship Story Catalyst
The item that acts as the catalyst to move the Relationship Story Throughline forward
The Relationship Story Throughline Catalyst is what creates breakthroughs and seems to accelerate the Relationship Story Throughline. In both the Overall Story and Relationship Story Throughline there occur dramatic "log-jams" when things seem to be approaching a halt. This is when the Catalyst is necessary, for its introduction will either solve the puzzle that's holding things up or else make the puzzle seem suddenly unimportant so the story can continue.
- Relationship Story Concern
The area of concern between the Main Character and the Impact Character
The nature of the things which the Main and Impact Characters want from their relationship; the Relationship Story Throughline Concern describes how the audience sees the concern of the Main and Impact character's relationship with each other.
- Relationship Story Domain
the general area in which the Relationship Story Throughline takes place
There are four Throughlines in every complete story, each representing a different perspective in the structure of that story. One is assigned to the Overall Story Throughline and contains the story points attributed to the dispassionate argument of the story while also describing the area in which the Overall Story occurs. Another is for the Relationship Story Throughline and contains the story points which concern the passionate argument of the story and describe the relationship between the Main and Impact Characters. The Main and Impact Character are each assigned Throughlines as well, which contain the story points attributed to their characters and describe the areas in which they each operate. Each Throughline is the matching of a particular Class (either Situation, Activity, Manipulation or Fixed Attitude) with a particular throughline (either Overall Story, Main Character, Impact Character, or Relationship Story). Each Throughline describes the general area in which the problems of its throughline will lie and from what perspective the audience will be directed to view those problems. Throughlines determine large, genre-like positions in the relationship of audience to story.
- Relationship Story Inhibitor
The item that impedes the Relationship Story Throughline's progress
The Relationship Story Throughline Inhibitor is what prevents the Relationship Story Throughline from just rushing full speed to the solution. It is like a brake mechanism which can be applied as the author pleases. The introduction of this item will always slow the progress of the Relationship Story Throughline. It works as the antidote to the Relationship Story Throughline Catalyst.
- Relationship Story Issue
the thematic focus between the Main Character and the Impact Character
The nature of the activities which make up the relationship between the Main and Impact Characters which is the Relationship Story Throughline is described by this item. The Relationship Story Throughline Issue describes the way the relationship between the Main and Impact Characters will work thematically in the Grand Argument of the story, so at the same time it generally describes the kinds of things that will pop up to illustrate this theme.
- Relationship Story Problem
the underlying cause of the difficulties between the Main Character and the Impact Character
This is the actual source of the inequity between the Relationship Story Throughline Characters which lies at the level of their motivations. Only by applying the Relationship Story Throughline Solution can the effects of this inequity finally be dealt with.
- Relationship Story Response
The direction of efforts in the Relationship Story Throughline; the apparent remedy for the symptom of the difficulties between the Main Character and the Impact Character
Relationship Story Throughline Characters do the best they can to deal with the Relationship Story Throughline Problem, but because the Main and Impact Characters are all looking at the problem from their subjective points of view, they can't get enough distance to actually see the problem right away. Instead they focus on the effects of the problem, which is called the Relationship Story Throughline Symptom, and choose to follow what they feel will be a remedy, which is called the Relationship Story Throughline Response.
- Relationship Story Solution
the specific element needed to resolve the difficulties between the Main Character and the Impact Character
This is the item which will, if introduced, restore balance in the Relationship Story Throughline and neutralize the effects of the Problem by replacing it. It may not be actually implemented, but if it were adopted in the relationship between the Main and Impact Characters, it would end the source of their conflict and change their relationship.
- Relationship Story Symptom
the principal symptom of the difficulties between the Main Character and the Impact Character, where attention is focused in the Relationship Story Throughline
When there is a problem in the relationship between the Main and Impact character, they look at it from their subjective point of view and cannot see its actual nature because it lies on the level of their motivations. Instead they focus their attention on what they believe to be the source of their problems which is really an effect of the problem. This area is called the Relationship Story Throughline Symptom.
- Relationship Story Throughline
The story as it relates to the relationship and conflict between the Main and Influence Characters
The passionate argument of a story is carried by the relationship between the story's Relationship Story Characters namely, the Main and Influence Characters. The examination of their internal states and the articulation of the story's passionate argument makes up the Relationship Story Throughline. This is not the view from within the shoes of either the Main or Influence Characters, but is rather like an Overall (Objective) view of their relationship. It is a view of their story together which always sees both of them.
- Relationship Story Type Order
the kind of activity employed to arrive at a solution to the story's Relationships Story Throughline problem, act by act
As the Relationship Story Throughline progresses act by act, it covers the Relationship Story Throughline Perspective (the Perspective created by matching the Relationship Story Throughline Domain with one of the four Classes) Type by Type around the quad of Types which it contains. These four explorations make up the four acts and describe the kinds of things that will have to happen in order to arrive face to face with the Relationship Story Throughline Problem.
pushing or being pushed away from
A character's path to his goal is blocked by many curtains. The future beyond each cannot be seen until he has passed through to the other side. Sometimes the curtain itself is attractive, encouraging one to continue. Other times it is negative, indicating danger or loss, or that something unsavory lies behind. This is the nature of Repulsion. The warning is, "I'd go back if I were you" or "Don't spit into the wind." But does the curtain truly represent something distasteful that waits beyond or is it simply a false front, a mask to scare off the less tenacious?
syn. unattractive, repellent, foreboding, unsavory, pushing away, forcing back
the necessary precursors to achieving the goal
Achieving a goal is not a one-step activity. Rather, all the cogs and wheels of a situation must be adjusted and realigned first in order to enable the goal. That can entail taking a certain number of steps in sequence and/or involve "tuning" the orchestra of the dramatics until they support the harmony of the goal. Both the sequential and holistic approach to these prerequisites and preconditions are described by the nature of the overall requirement to achieving the goal. In other words, the requirement describes the condition requisite to the goal and is made up of prerequisites and preconditions.
a tendency toward inertia
One way to measure the relationship of items in a quad is to classify them as Potential, Resistance, Current, and Outcome (or Power). In this manner, we can see how dramatic components operate on each other over the course of the story. Resistance simply means a tendency toward inertia. When a dramatic Resistance exists it does not necessarily come into play. Rather, until a Potential interacts with a Resistance, the Resistance will have no impact at all. So in a quad, assigning one of the items as the Resistance does not mean it will alter the course of the story. Instead, it might function to deter the Potential item from a certain course rather than risk conflict with Resistance. This is a useful tool for Authors since it allows for the subtle relationship of unused, inferred, threatened, or anticipated dramatic interactions that shape the fabric of a story in ways other than conflict.
the degree to which the Main Character feels compelled to remain on the quest
There are two major ways in which an author can illustrate the best way to solve the problem explored in a story. One is to show the proper way of going about solving the problem, the other is to show the wrong way to solve the problem. To illustrate the proper way, your Main Character should hold on to his resolve and remain steadfast because he truly is on the right path. To illustrate the improper way of dealing with a problem, your Main Character must change for he is going about it the wrong way.
the apparent remedy for the principal symptom of the story problem
Characters do the best they can to deal with the Overall Story Problem, but because the Overall Story Characters of a story are all looking at the problem from their subjective point of view, they can't get enough distance to actually see the problem right away. Instead they focus on the effects of the problem, which is called the Overall Story Symptom, and choose to follow what they feel will be a remedy, which is called the Overall Story Response.
- Response Element
the element a Subjective Character believes holds the path to their solution
A Relationship Throughline Character can never be sure if what he believes to be the source of the problem really is the source of the problem. Regardless, based on his belief he will determine a potential solution or Direction in which he hopes to find the solution. The dramatic unit that describes what a Relationship Throughline Character holds as the path to a solution is his Response Element.
the belief that one is best suited to accomplish a task
The instinct for survival is paramount under normal circumstances. Still, even animals throw themselves into danger to help a human friend. The drive that overcomes Self-Interest is Responsibility. Responsibility exists when one cares more for others than for oneself. The problem occurs when a character believes he knows what is best for someone and that someone doesn't agree. "It's for your own good," and "This is going to hurt me more than you" are two expressions that exemplify this attitude. Sometimes the character is right in believing he knows best, other times not. But either way, Responsibility can cause problems when it is imposed on another rather than offered to them. Responsibility can both be given or taken.
syn. assumed propriety, believed appropriateness, self designated aptness, accepted suitability
the ramifications of a specific effect
Result is a holistic view of all the end products of a process. When a cause generates an effect, how does the effect upset the overall balance of a situation? In a balance of power, one must consider the results of arming an ally not just the immediate effect of strengthening its military. The character possessing the Result characteristic considers the ripples that might occur because of a given effect. The negative aspect is that it often over-thinks the situation until its considerations are ranging far beyond the scope of any real concerns. This can inhibit useful actions for insignificant reasons. Stop a new factory that will create jobs to protect a previously unknown species of gnat? It depends on the scope of the concern.