Additional Variation Level Appreciations

At the Variation level each of the four throughlines has two additional appreciations. They function roughly the same way in each throughline, but are most similar in between the Main and Obstacle Character Throughlines and between Objective Story and Subjective Story Throughlines. Both Main and Obstacle have a Unique Ability and a Critical Flaw. In the Main Character, the Unique Ability represents some trait or quality that has the potential to allow that character to resolve his Problem. The Critical Flaw, however, undermines that Unique Ability. If the Main Character is ever to solve his troubles, he must overcome his Critical Flaw in order to fully employ his Unique


Because the Obstacle Character is seen in terms of his impact, his Unique Ability describes the quality he possesses that enables him to have a special impact on the Main Character (in trying to change the Main Character's point of view). The Obstacle Character's Critical Flaw is another quality that undermines that impact.

In the Objective Story and Subjective Story Throughlines, these same two items are better described as the Catalyst and Inhibitor. Catalyst and Inhibitor act as the accelerator and brake pedal on the forward progress of each throughline. In the Objective Story Throughline, bringing in the Catalyst moves the plot forward more quickly, applying the Inhibitor slows things down. This is a structural aid in pacing a story.

In the Subjective Story Throughline, Catalyst and Inhibitor control the rate at which the relationship between Main and Obstacle Characters will develop. More Catalyst can bring a confrontation to a head, more Inhibitor can delay it. Because Catalyst, Inhibitor, Range, and counterpoint are all Variations, the proper choice of these items insures that the pacing of the story will seem to come from inside the structure, rather than being arbitrarily imposed by the author.

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