The Obstacle Character Throughline

The Obstacle Character Throughline is that point-of-view which acts as an obstacle to the Main Character maintaining their justifications. In other words, the Main Character would not grow were it not for this challenging and alternative perspective.

If familiar with Dramatica theory, you may wonder why the decision to run with Obstacle Character over the updated Influence Character. You'll find that in practice, thinking of this perspective in terms of the obstacle it presents to the Main Character continuing their justification results in a stronger, more deliberate and meaningful story.

Typically, this character shows up in the classic "You and I Are Both Alike" scene found in many stories:

The Obstacle Character Two-Step Process

When it comes to working with Subtxt AI and the Obstacle Character, the process is a bit different when compared to the Objective Story or Main Character Throughlines. The first spin of the AI grants you ideas of what the Obstacle Character might do in a particular Storybeat. The second spin--and this is where things deviate from the norm--lets you know how the Main Character might respond to such a challenge.

The purpose of the Obstacle Character Throughline perspective is to act as an obstacle towards the Main Character continuing his or her justifications. The mere presence of this point-of-view should shake up the Main Character and obstacle them to reconcile personal blindspots. Subtxt's implementation of this 2-step process is meant to help storytellers better understand how this Throughline works in a complete story.

For instance, begin by spinning the Subtxt AI for ideas:

Then, as with other Throughlines, Merge those ideas into one solid paragraph.

Now that you have something good to work with note how the button right next to "Merge", which reads "Continue" in other Throughlines, is labeled Show Impact here in the Obstacle Character Throughline. Click this button and Subtxt will let you know how the above Storytelling challenges the Main Character to grow:

The end result is an enlightened view of what is needed to grow your Main Character out of their justifications.

Obstacle Character Storytelling: Hannah interrupts Ken while he's talking and doesn't listen to what he has to say. Hannah tries to remember her favorite moments with Ken, but they all seem to be slipping away. Ken feels ignored when Hannah doesn't listen to him.

The above instance of Conscious creating conflict hinders Ken, the Main Character, from continuing to approach life using his current problem-sovling techniques.

The Impact of the Obstacle Character on the Main Character: This challenge forces Ken to be more patient and understanding with Hannah. He has to learn to listen to her more and try to see things from her perspective. This can be a source of growth for Ken if he is able to learn from it and become more patient and understanding with other people in his life.

Continue to do this for the other Transits in the Obstacle Character Throughline and you'll start to build up a reason why the Main Character "arcs" (instead of simply doing it because that's what Main Characters are supposed to do).

And make sure you tap the Summarize button (looks like a target) at the top of the Storybeat once you've completed filling in the Storytelling section.

The Obstacle Character Synopsis

As with the other Throughlines, make sure you have a specific Synopsis in the Obstacle Character Throughline Synopsis tab. The more specific, the better results you will get from the AI.

Note how the synopsis is not about the Obstacle Character per se--but moreso, about the Obstacle Character's effect on the Main Character. Obstacle Characters are not Main Characters, their only purpose in a story is to force the Main Character to deal with their personal justifications.

© 2022 Narrative First, Inc.