Dramatica Definition: Option Lock

Optionlock • [Plot Dynamic] • the story climax occurs because all options have been exhausted • If not for the story being forced to a climax, it might continue forever. When a story is brought to a conclusion because the characters run out of options, it is said to contain a Optionlock. As an analogy, one might think of a story as the process of examining rooms in a mansion to find a solution to the story’s problem. Each room in the mansion will contain a clue to the actual location of the solution. In an optionlock, the Objective Characters might be told they can examine any five rooms they want, but only five. They must pick the five rooms ahead of time. They can take as long as they like to search each one and go thoroughly examine four of the rooms. After getting through their fourth pick they are given a choice: based on the clues they have found so far, do they wish to stick with their original fifth room or pick another room instead out of all that remain? Either choice may lead to success or failure, but because running out of options forced the choice it is an Optionlock story. This choice represents the Optionlock which brings the story to a close and forces such appreciations as Main Character Resolve (Change or Steadfast), Outcome (Success or Failure), and Judgment (Good or Bad).

From the Dramatica Dictionary