and then...chronology

I've been ill, oh. So the square stayed blank. This week I grappled with an inciting incident; I decided on the event, but there were two ways my character could have handled it. One is active, one is passive. The active option builds on a psychological thesis, but weakens the plot with its set up. The passive option undermines a character motivation that I work so hard to establish, but it makes great use of irony and is more convincing for the plot. Each option has two possible results. Anyway, my explanation is a mess; I sometimes use poker cards to outline possibilities. I took a picture of the poker cards but I can't get it to upload in the correct direction, so I'll just write about the little chronologies I made:

  1. Protag (Protagonist) knows his desire-->Protag doesn't succeed on his first opportunity-->Protag gets his desire from his second opportunity
  2. Protag knows his desire-->Protag gets his desire on the first opportunity-->Protag, in experiencing his desire, no longer wants it
  3. Protag doesn't know what his desire is-->Protag is forced into action-->Protag finds his desire
  4. Protag doesn't know what his desire is-->Protag is forced into action-->Protag doesn't get his desire

I discovered an internal logic in this possible chronlogies for my first act:


  1. Preserves plot, debases character
  2. Debases plot, preserves character
  3. Preserves plot, debases character
  4. Debases plot, debases character


The fourth option certainly won't work; though my conclusions would change if I stretched my chronologies beyond the first act to make them more general. In this case, I am referring to one particular, concrete desire on the part of the Protag. Unlike many novelists, I don't swear by Card's MICE quotient (Milieu, Idea, Character, Event), but I may need to examine it again in order to make my decision. 

So have you heard Rasputina? I love cellos. I start a fiction master class in April; I'm quite looking forward to it. Practice makes perfection and fun.