Mapping Character Elements

Q: After “mapping out” each Throughline down to the Character Element level, I’m at a loss as to what do I do now? I understand the Act Patterns principles (I think), but how do I work with the elements?
A: The answer comes in two parts.
  1. The easiest way to explore the elements within the Overall Story throughline is to assign the elements to Objective (Overall Story) characters. Then, put your characters in scenes and have them interact. The elements describe character functions and indicate how each character might interact with the others. Don't worry too much about it. Refer back to their functions if you're at a loss for what you want them to do or to see how they might interact with other characters. You can always come back and look at the character functions to "spruce up" the objective characters if they're flat or uninteresting after you've written them into your story.
  2. For the other three throughlines (MC, IC, and MC/IC), make sure you explore the Problem, Solution, Symptom, and Response at least ONCE each Signpost--more is better, but once is the minimum. Since each of these three throughlines come with an entire "chess set" of sixty-four elements, you don't need to worry about limiting your use of them. I find it useful to explore a quad of items one item per act at a time. For example, in the movie "First Blood" (Rambo I), Act I explores Inaction, Act II explores Protection, Act III explores Reaction, and Act IV explores Proaction.
My biggest recommendation is to write. You've done a lot of preparation just by figuring out the storyform. Refer back to it when you feel lost or unmotivated. Otherwise let your muse run free to create the story locked inside you.

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