Impact Character(s) Throughlines/Domain Questions

by Terrell
(Columbia, MO)

Hello, I have another question regarding character plotting:

A.) Is it possible to to have two separate/opposite impact characters? If so, do each impact character need their own individual "Impact Character Throughline"? If so, would they each need their own "Relationship Throughline"?

B.) If all the answers to the above question is yes, would I then need two separate domains list (Situation,Activity,Manipulation, and Fixed Attitude) for both characters? Assuming that the Main character has a different starting and ending relationship with each Impact character?

P.S. Your help has been tremendous on my story. Thanks again and if you are confused in any way by my question, just point it out and I will correct accordingly.

Answer: Two separate and opposite impact characters are usually employed only if your main character has no established approach - for instance if he is very naive, like a newborn babe in the world.

In such a situation, when the impact character suggests an approach, the main character has no reason not to simply follow that that advice. Result: no inner conflict.

So to create inner conflict for the naive main character, writers will sometimes create two impact characters with opposite approaches so that the main character's inner conflict becomes, "Who do I believe? Who do I emulate?"

The risk you run with this approach is that you could make the main character a less distinct, more bland, because he will seem to switch sides at times, or to be on no side. You would be in effect creating a subplot in which the main character would seem to be in one domain when dealing with one IC and another domain when dealing with the other. He'd be forced into these domains in order to be in opposition to the IC. Very tricky.

You are correct that this implies two relationship throughlines, otherwise the IC who has no relationship with the MC would have a harder time influencing him. (Bear in mind that a relationship can be distant.) However, unless you want to create a second overall throughline as well, the relationship throughlines for both relationships would likely be in the same domain, which would be diagonal to the overall domain.

In a longer novel, it is possible to have more than one story, each with its own set of throughlines. Or you can have subplots that are less developed than the main story. Sometimes the various subplots can involve some of the same characters or share one overall throughline.

However, it is more common to see multiple impact characters who represent the same approach and have the same domain. They simply appear at different times in the story. They represent the same dramatic role, but the baton is passed from one to the other. It's like in The Prisoner TV series where each episode has a different person running the prison, and there's never more than one, but they all have the same approach and attitude.

You can also have a group be the impact character, as in a corporation or army where all the members take the same approach.

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