by Armando Saldaña Mora
In a post called "Objective throughline" Kay asked:
"...I'm struggling to write a novel with the objective domain of mind. Do all the objective characters have to agree with the fixed attitude...?"
You asked about the story of the crippled boy and the town that rejected him. The fixed attitude here was a reaction of disgust that was unavoidable for the town people, and that reaction troubled the boy and kept him locked inside his house. If that idea were to be developed, it would need some town people characters that struggle to stop that reaction, some that were in favor ("that boy is a product of evil!") and some that were troubled thinking which side to take.
If you're working with archetypal characters -- or doing the very recommended technique of developing a character as an archetype and then "swapping elements" in order to make her a complex character -- here are the basic views about the central issue of the objective throughline:
Protagonist: Is in favor or against that issue (or maybe isn't completely sure about his position) but he's leading all the actions for -- or against -- the issue.
Antagonist: Is diametrically opposed to the Protagonist (If the protagonist is in favor, he's against and viceversa) and he does anything in his power to stop all the actions the protagonist's leading.
Guardian: She tries to shed the light of conscience and show the "true way" about that issue.
Contagonist: He's tempting everyone out of his paths. And bringing other issues -or additional information about the same issue- just to confuse.
Sidekick: She supports one side completely. Be it the protagonist's or the antagonist's.
Skeptic: He doubts both sides. He's his own man.
Emotion: Basically has no reasons for or against the issue, but strong emotional conflict for or against it.
Reason: Analyses the issue in a dispassionate way. Takes a side as long as it's rational.
So, briefly, using your example of "The end justifies the means" in a story of, say, a nuclear power plant (the cheap energy justifies the nuclear waste) in which the protagonist is against that power plant:
The Protagonist tries to make everyone conscious of the dangers of the plant (the means).
The Antagonist tries to stop the protagonist campaign so the town keeps agreeing about the cheap energy (end) issue.
The Guardian agrees with the protagonist, since she has conscience about the dangers, but tries to make the protagonist seek better ways of making the people conscious.
The Contagonist tries to seduce the protagonist out of her quest (offers her a good public relations job at the plant), so he goes along with the "means justifies ends" issue.
The Sidekick supports the (let's say) Antagonist, (he's some kind of super loyal plant employee), he also goes along.
The Skeptic doesn't think the plant (means) is good, but doesn't want a raise on the electric bill either (end). He's against all.
Emotion supports the protagonist in this case (she's some kind of emotional hippie protester) but makes trouble at all protests.
Reason is a scientist researching about sun energy. The protagonist tries to support her efforts.
So, as you can see, you can play with your characters for or against the issue as much as you want. But, in order to have conflict, you must have at least one character disagreeing with the others.
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