Influence Character Resolve

The Influence Character’s Impact on a Steadfast Main Character

I was wondering that in knowing the existence of an Influence Character and how they challenge the Main Character emotionally -- get them to face their personal issues, and so on -- my question is:

"If the Main Character is steadfast, is the Influence Character still challenging the Main Character as if the Main Character were a change character?  Or is it that the Main Character challenges the Influence Character throughout the story to change the Influence Character's approach?

Both, though the frame of reference is always the Main Character.

The Influence Character's behavior creates greater and greater pressure* for the Main Character to change, which forces the Main Character to EITHER build up greater and greater resistance to the pressure, or slowly have the Main Character's resolve eroded.  By the end, the Main Character stays the course, either through conscious choice or perseverance. 

MEANWHILE, the Main Character's steadfastness challenges the Influence Character's determination, which either erodes the Influence Character's adherence to its paradigm, or makes the cost of maintaining the Influence Character's paradigm too challenging to hold.  By the end, the Influence Character gives in or gives up and changes by adopting the Main Character's perspective (in the context of the inequity).

* NOTE: The pressure increases in part because the Influence Character adapts as the Main Character adopts new approaches to resisting the Influence Character's alternative world view.  The changing approaches occur act-by-act, and are visible in the changing frames of reference represented in the four Signposts in the Main Character throughline, the Influence Character throughline, and the MC/IC Relationship throughline.

How can I make sure the audience knows who the Influence Character is?

In the Impact Character Throughline, the Symptom is where this character hopes to have the greatest impact, and Response is how he wants things to change because of that impact. Could you explain this for me in the context of preparing the story, because this is essentially the root of understanding the IC Symptom and Response regardless if they are Steadfast or Change, correct?

The idea of "how [the IC] wants things to change because of his impact" presupposes several things:  a(that the IC is aware of the MC, which it needn't be, b) that the IC is aware of its influence on the MC, which it needn't be, and c) that the IC is trying to influence the MC to change, which it needn't be trying to do.

The answer to your question is "no, it is not the root of understanding the IC Symptom and response..."  It is ONE understanding, and looking at it that way does not take into account the temporal nature of a story where the ebb and flow of influence waxes and wanes and builds (or decreases) as the story moves forward. You're looking for a spatial relationship between the story points to answer a temporal process. They are interconnected, temporally, spatially, and in the context of the other throughlines -- all of which describe the evolving/devolving effects of the inequity at the center of the story. Generalizations, like the one quoted above serve to clarify complex relationships, inadequately represent the entirety of those relationships and therefore fall short of providing "root understanding" for anything.

My recommendation about this whole IC business and your writing is to let it go. You're aware that there is an IC and you know the nature of the context within which the audience will view the IC. That is sufficient to write your story well enough that your audience should put the pieces (and connections) together for themselves.

Think of the four throughlines like composing a sentence. One throughline is a noun, another a verb, another an adjective, and the last like an adverb. Whichever noun, verb, adjective, and adverb you put in the sentence, readers glean meaning through both their understanding of the meanings of the vocabulary you choose, but also by your vocabulary's inherent relationship to one another because of the type of grammatical family into which each falls. You don't need to tell your audience that an adjective acts upon or moderates a noun because that is part of what makes an adjective an adjective.

You do not need to tell the audience that an IC influences or impacts the MC because that is built into the nature of the IC as defined by a storyform. The storyform holds the grammar and nature of the narrative (sentence) structure. You, as author, choose WHICH "noun", "verb", "adjective", and "adverb" fit within the storyform you've chosen, conform to the nature of the narrative elements, and illustrate your creative style and intent through your storyencoding and storyweaving. It is up to
the audience, through Story Reception, to unweave and decode your work to find the underlying storyform that indicates your story's underlying meaning.

Once you've written your first draft, you can test to see if an audience understands if the IC is seen as the IC in the story. If it isn't, you may choose to be more explicit in illustrating the IC story points and how they influence the MC, but I recommend letting your muse guide you through your first go at writing the story. There are plenty of opportunities to
make adjusts during rewriting.

What is the difference between the Domain and the Problem?

Using the gists my Relationship Story Domain comes up as "Considering Something Unacceptable". When I look at the Theory information is says "the heart of the problem" and "this describes how the MC and IC relate to each other in the story". When I look in All Topics to the left and click on Relationship, this Considering something unacceptable shows up in RS Domain, not RS Problem. When I click on RS Problem, the only choice is Equity.

Would that mean they start off thinking each other's attitude/response is unacceptable, then the IC changes? Does the IC change if the MC is steadfast, or does he just fade away? Would it make sense for the IC at the end to consider himself kind of equal with the MC, giving him a tip that saves him, before fading out?

It's a matter of scale. As a domain, the main conflict in their relationship will be a clash of attitudes in terms of considering something as unacceptable. A RS Problem of Equity means that the heart of the conflict in the relationship grows out of equity (fairness; balance). For example, a married couple come into conflict in their marriage when everything has to be completely even (if one set of inlaws stays for two weeks, the other set of inlaws must stay with them for two weeks (even though neither of them can stand spending time with one set of inlaws) in an effort to be fair.

If the IC is change, the MC is steadfast, and vice versa.

Why can’t the Main and Influence Characters both grow and change?

I don't understand why the Main Character and the Influence Character can't *both* grow and change in a story, for instance in a story of a marriage. In order for the marriage to be successful, chances are that both characters need to change.

Both the Main Character and the Influence Character do grow over the course of the story. However, character growth is different than fundamentally changing your outlook on an issue. The change/steadfast issue concerns the characters' resolve. The growth issue concerns the direction of the growth: out of something or away from something (stop), or into something or toward something (start). Besides, a "marriage" can have, figuratively speaking, a life of its own complete with its own central issues -- issues that are related to but different from those of the Main Character and Influence Character. In Dramatica, we call this relationship between the MC and the IC the Relationship Story Throughline.

Do I have to show the Influence Character’s Resolve?

Do I have to show that the impact character has really changed at the end of my script? For the IC is a villain in this story and if I show him as a changed person in the end (since MC is steadfast) then it sounds like an age old moral tale.

A: If your Influence Character is a change character, you should show it. It doesn't matter if he is a villain. Being the antagonist is part of the Overall Story throughline and deals with the story goal. His function as Influence Character is more personal. Most films don't SHOW the moment when the IC changes. It usually happens off screen. We find out that he or she has changed after the fact. For example, Pussy Galore in Goldfinger changes and her change is only given two lines of discussion. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs changes off screen. We find out he has changed when he calls Clarice Starling and tells her he's not coming after her (he's killed everybody in his life that has come close to him). As a villain, you character will remain steadfastly against the Story Goal. As a Change IC, your IC is transformed.

For example, the character may go from indifference to caring (Sam Gerard in The Fugitive), or independent to committed (Jerry Maguire). In both cases, it's on a more personal level than the of the OS. Showing the IC change does two things for your story:

  1. It contrasts and emphasizes the MC's steadfastness, and...
  2. it gives the IC some emotional depth and complexity that counterpoints his function as an antagonist.

An excellent example of this kind of character is the first season "bad guy," Al Swearengen, in the HBO TV Series, Deadwood. He starts off as the series villain but always has a "human" side to him that makes him far more credible and potent as an Influence Character.

How can I change my Influence Character’s Resolve?

We are trying to change the impact character from "Steadfast" to "Change". It seems that this screen is shown on page 27 of the users manual. BUT, we cannot find the right place in the program to return to and make this change.

There are many ways to change the Influence Character (which I'll enumerate in a moment), but one thing to keep in mind is the relationship between the Main Character and the Influence Character. If one is Steadfast, the other is Change, and vice versa. Therefore, the effect of making the IC a Change character is the same as making the MC a Steadfast character.

The other item I'll point out is that it may be easier to clear your storyform and remake your choices than trying to change the Impact character from steadfast to change. The choices you make have many interconnections and sometimes it's not as simple as changing a single option from one to the other (though, admittedly, sometimes it is that easy). So, here are a couple of ways to make the change:

  1. Go to the "Setup Main and Influence..." window from the Character menu and make the change there.
  2. Go to the Story Engine and make your Main Character a Steadfast character -- this will indirectly make your Influence Character a change character.
  3. Go to the StoryGuide and re-choose your MC Resolve making your MC a steadfast character.

If the software won't let you make these changes it means that you have made other choices that require the MC to be a Change character. In that case:

  1. Print out a copy of the Story Engine Settings report located in the Advanced reports of the Report window.
  2. Open the Story Engine window and press the CLEAR button. This will clear all your storyforming choices.
  3. Choose "Steadfast" for your MC Resolve.
  4. Using the Story Engine Settings report as a reference, answer the remaining MC Character Dynamics questions, the Plot Dynamics questions, and the OS Themes questions. This will bring you back to "1" storyform.
  5. Reprint the Story Engine Settings report and see the effects your change has made.

How does the Influence Character develop over the course of a story?

The Influence Character (formerly known as the Impact Character and before that, the Obstacle Character) has a RESOLVE that is the inverse of the Main Character's. When the Main Character is a Change character, the Influence Character will remain STEADFAST (such as the Ghosts in A Christmas Carol, Viola De Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love, and the steadfast Impact of Ricky Fitts in American Beauty). When the Main Character remains Steadfast, the Influence Character will CHANGE (such as Sam Gerard in The Fugitive, Blanche Hudson in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate). It is not important whether it's the steadfastness of one character that forces the change in the other, or the change in one that supports the steadfastness of the other. What is important is that the inverse relationship between the Main Charater's Resolve and the Influence Character's Resolve provides a key point of reference for an audience's understanding of your story's meaning.

How does the Main Character’s Resolve interact with the Influence Character’s Resolve?

Choosing your Main Character's Resolve, Change or Steadfast, also determines the resolve of your Influence Character, and vice versa. A Main Character that Changes her world view does so as a result of the Influence Character's steadfastness (e.g. Change MC Will and Steadfast IC Sean McGuire in Good Will Hunting). A Main Character that remains Steadfast in her world view forces the Influence Character to Change (e.g. Steadfast MC Dr. Kimble and Change IC Sam Gerard in The Fugitive). Who changes and who remains steadfast is one aspect of your story's overall "meaning."