How to select between treating players as Antagonist, Impact or Proxy Protagonist Characters

by Robert

Question: I purchased the "Dramatica Special Tenth Anniversary Edition" book and the StoryWeaver software.

My main character is also the protagonist, who Develops to the point where he must engage two high officials, in order to achieve his (story) goal.

One or both might help him achieve the goal, however, the goal is unknown to both. This is because one or both might either support or hinder him if his goal is made known to them.

He must devise a plan to engage both of them (as Protagonist proxies?) to unknowingly help him achieve his goal. One or both will provide the required help, at a sacrifice to one of their own top goals. If his plan fails, his only risks are his failure to meet his goal and possibly losing his business.

Neither the protagonist nor the reader ever knows if engaging just one of officials trustingly, and directly, would be sufficient, rather than any
elaborate plan that trusts neither official, whereas in the elaborate plan he also lose his business as well as his goal.

My question is, according to the Dramatic Theory and StoryWeaver software (or whatever theory), how do I treat these two officials as characters? Would these described players be treated as antagonists, impact characters, or protagonist proxies? Remember, in my story, neither the protagonist nor the reader ever know if either official would help meet the protagonist's goal without his developing his elaborate plan. Neither of the these officials come into play until the protagonist has spent decades positioning himself to use them as tools for his goal.

Thank you,


Answer: Keep in mind that you only need one protagonist, who is the person leading the pursuit of the story goal. Other characters can be involved in the pursuit, but that doesn't make them the protagonist. It sounds to me like your main character is the protagonist.

To make a character into the antagonist, you would have to show him trying to prevent or avoid the achievement of the story goal. That's the test.

The impact character is the character who shows the main character a different approach to solving problems. The impact character gives the main character a reason to doubt himself. He pressures the main character to switch to the impact character's approach at the climax.

You could choose to make one of these officials the impact character, or you could make the impact character someone else. It's up to you.

It's also up to you whether to have one of them fulfill the role of Guardian, Skeptic, or any other archetypal role in the overall story.

Of course, you can also decide to tell part of the story from the point if view of one of these officials. In that case, he would be the main character of his own little story (which might not be fully developed).

Comments for How to select between treating players as Antagonist, Impact or Proxy Protagonist Characters

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Aug 19, 2013
Re-framing my original question
by: Robert

Thank you for your reply. I've now started to incorporate that kind of thinking. However, I don't think I adequately communicate my basic problem. Ill use an analogous example that is less abstract than the original.

The Main Character is also the Protagonist who is a junior Executive in the Widget Company. He frequently meets with the two owners, Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith. The MC has put all of his investments into Widget and envisions taking over the Company someday. He has just obtained illegal insider information that General Consolidations, Inc. is about to make an unfriendly takeover of Widget Co., and it plans to close Widget Co. It will bribe just one (or maybe two) of Widget's two owners (Jones and/or Smith) with a very attractive personal offer, but the MC does not know which one or both. Further ,there is a reasonable possibility that Jones and/or Smith might already be corrupted by General Consolidations, or that neither is. The MC does not have enough evidence for taking legal action, and he could go to prison if he disclosed how he obtained his insider information about the pending takeover. Additionally, he cannot immediately sell his portion of Widget, because his employment contract stipulates that he cannot liquidate his large investment for another year.

By using his illegal insider information, the MC must quickly decide on a plan to convince both Jones and Smith to jointly reject any proposed takeover by General Consolidations, although he cannot disclose to them how he obtained the insider information.

I'll have the answer to my originally posted question by using the described analogy.

In the analogy, I think the Antagonist would be General Consolidations. Two major Impact Characters would jointly be Jones and Smith. Their is a third major Impact Character who had a very early and formative influence affecting how the MC would conduct the course of his life. Whatever plan the MC decides, he will not break the promise he made to that original Impact character even.

There it is; comments please.

Thank you,


Aug 19, 2013
by: Glen

You don't need more than one impact character.

Ask yourself what decision the main character makes at the climax. Does he stay steadfast and do what he believed was the right approach to problems when the story began? Or does he instead decide to take a leap of faith and do something different, something he's never done before and can't be sure will work?

The impact character will be the one who put the idea of something different into the main character's head, either by example or argument.

From what you've said, my money is on the third candidate you mention.

I think your real challenge is dividing the functions of Antagonist and Contagonist among the owners and GC Inc. Think about who could tempt the MC to take a payment rather than the company, or who could delay the MC's effort.

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