Category Archives: Example Stories

Stories That Explore Situations (Objective Universe Stories)

A Clockwork Orange: The objective characters are caught up in untenable situations: uncontrolled lawless youths terrorize society; Alex is imprisoned for murder and brainwashed through the complex machinations of those around him–his fellow droogs, a crazed writer, and a crafty politician; Alex’s bedroom and the affection of his parents has been usurped by a fawning lodger; etc.

The Age of Innocence: All of the objective characters exist in an environment governed by strict rules of behavior and dress. They find themselves in a situation where social etiquette must be obeyed at all costs. Ellen Olenska adjusts to her new environment under the close scrutiny of family and acquaintances. Mrs. Mingott tries to protect Ellen by taking her granddaughter into her home and inviting society friends to a dinner party to introduce her, but is snubbed. May Welland adheres to every convention a proper young woman should to be accepted by her peers. Newland Archer is everything expected of a cultured gentleman: he practices law, travels Europe, collects books, belongs to a men’s club, is engaged to a prominent woman of his own class. Larry Lefferts represents everything the proper gentleman should look like. Sillerton Jackson guards the established code of conduct by being an expert on the lineage of all the best families in society. Mrs. Archer and Janey act according to their station as a society widow and an unmarried woman, respectively.

Boyz N The Hood: Everyone in the hood is stuck in a bleak situation that appears hopeless (e.g. violent crime, drugs, harassment by the police, and so forth).

Braveheart: England has taken Scotland for itself, attempting to suppress the natives through harsh and unjust laws. The Scots fight for what is rightfully theirs.

Charlotte’s Web: As part of the cycle of life on a farm, Wilbur will ultimately be put to death.

Chinatown: Many years ago, Noah Cross had relations with his daughter, Evelyn, and got her pregnant. To protect Evelyn from scandal (and because he was a caring person), Cross’ business pal, Hollis Mulwray, took Evelyn to Mexico where she had her baby. Hollis eventually married Evelyn. Now, Hollis and Evelyn are back in Los Angeles where Hollis is the head of the Department of Water and Power. His interests (and those of the Angelenos) is in direct conflict with Noah Cross’ plans for making lots of money by buying up the San Fernando Valley and then annexing it to L.A. County to get cheap water for irrigation. The family troubles become intertwined with the business troubles and it is left up to a private investigator to sort the mess out.

The Fugitive: A murder in Chicago has taken place. An innocent man has been accused, tried, and convicted for the crime.

The Glass Menagerie: The Wingfields are tied to their tiny abode in St. Louis because of their struggle against poverty and the burden of Laura Wingfield’s status as a not-yet-but-soon-to-be “old maid.”

The Graduate: Ben Braddock has arrived home from college, as a hero. Everyone has high hopes for his future and seem very concerned that Ben appears to be putting off his future–wasting his time “floating around.”

The Piano Lesson: The objective characters exist in an environment that’s tainted by the piano which represents their tragic past, and serves as a reminder of the lowly station they hold as black people in America. They find themselves in a situation where they must find self-actualization within the narrow opportunities allowed them in a racist society. Avery accepts a “good” job as an elevator operator in a downtown skyscraper to have a chance of founding his own church. Doaker is content with his career as a railroad cook. Lymon hopes to improve his situation by finding a job unloading boxcars in Pittsburgh, as opposed to being fined for “not working” down home in Mississippi. Berniece works as a domestic, one of the few occupations open to black women. She accepts that this is the best that she can do, but is training her daughter to become a teacher.

Platoon: The American military is in Vietnam attempting to defeat the Viet Cong and prevent the spread of communism, which creates a state of war within this country.

Pride and Prejudice: The objective story explores the particular social customs and manners of England’s upper class in the early nineteenth century. An example of a social custom is voiced by Lady Catherine: “Young women should always be properly guarded and attended, according to their situation in life” (Austen 179). The situation the Bennet family finds themselves in is, with five daughters and no male heir, their estate is entailed to their priggish cousin Collins. To secure their future, it is necessary for the Bennet girls to marry well.

Revenge of the Nerds: The (nerds) Tri-Lamdas and the Alpha-Betas are caught up in a situation–a power struggle in the Greek system at Adams.

The Silence of the Lambs: Faced with the predicament of a serial killer on the loose and no clues to his identity, the FBI enlists the advice of another serial killer in an effort to put an end to the situation.

The Simpsons Christmas Special: The predicament the Simpsons find themselves in is a Christmas without gifts. Homer’s Christmas bonus is denied, and the family Christmas savings are used to remove Bart’s tattoo. Marge’s sisters put pressure on the situation, contemptuous of Homer and highly skeptical that he can bring his family Christmas joy:

Patty: It’s Christmas? You wouldn’t know it around here.

Homer: And why is that?

Selma: Well, for one thing, there’s no tree.

Sula: “Sula” explores a negative situation that, once established, does not change:

The Bottom is established, beautiful but unable to nourish the inhabitants…the community must direct both creative and destructive energy inward. Since its contributions to Medallion and the rest of the world must be limited and menial, and since it cannot express the resulting frustration, the community becomes enmeshed-intensely nurturing and as intensely restrictive and destructive. (Pollock, 1986, p. 1550)

Taxi Driver: All the characters are concerned with the level of crime and corruption on the streets of America’s cities: Travis wants to flush the streets of “filth and scum, scum and filth”; Wizard and the other drivers are worried about attacks on cabbies; Sport and Iris depend on the unchanging situation for their lifestyle; Tom wants to push the issues that will change society, while Betsy wants to push the man–Palantine, who offers only empty promises in order to get elected:

PALANTINE: I know what you mean, Travis, and it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to have radical changes all throughout city and municipal government.

(Schrader, p. 40)

Toy Story: All concerns, problems, and considerations exist within a “universe” where toys come alive and interact when they are alone amongst themselves, forming a community and making lives for themselves within the context of the child’s room. The fixed situation is that the toys in Andy’s Room exist for no other purpose than to “be there for Andy.” Nothing is more profoundly problematic in this universe than the threat of separation from their child master. (The prospect of newer, possibly “better” toys makes the current ones fear ending up in the trash; while Buzz and Woody are separated from Andy, it is an inequity that must be corrected at all costs.) An aspect of this state of affairs is a sort of “code” that the toys live by very strictly (albeit voluntarily) that they must NEVER be seen animating in front of humans.

The Verdict: A woman is permanently comatose and must remain in a hospital for the remainder of her life as the result of her physician’s negligence.

Washington Square: All of the objective characters are defined in large part by their social and economic situation, and it is here where problems arise. Doctor Sloper’s “easy domestic situation saved him a good deal of drudgery” (James 3), but his son and wife’s deaths have made him an unhappy widower; Catherine’s expected inheritance leaves her open to the mercenary Morris Townsend; Aunt Penniman is financially dependent upon Doctor Sloper, Aunt Almond explains to Doctor Sloper Morris Townsend’s social standing:

‘They tell me [Doctor Sloper] our gentleman [Morris Townsend] is the cousin of the little boy to whom you are about to entrust the future of your little girl.’ . . . The name is the same, but I [Mrs. Almond] am given to understand that there are Townsends and Townsends. So Arthur’s mother tells me; she talked about branches–younger branches, elder branches, inferior branches–as if it were a royal house. Arthur, it appears is of the reigning line but poor . . . [Morris] is not. (James 34-35)

Witness: The story plays out in the peace-loving Amish community, which is loath to bring in “English” such as John Book, especially when they live by the gun and fist–but the men who shot Book will come after Samuel, so they must help him; As long as the witness Samuel remains alive, the careers and criminal activities of Schaeffer and his men are endangered.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with a Judgment of Bad

STORIES that have Judgment of Bad:

The Age of Innocence: Newland never realizes his full potential as an enlightened man hoping to share his true self with a lifelong partner, his wife. He is trapped in a stifling existence for the best years of his life. He only becomes free when he’s an old man who believes that it’s too late for personal happiness.

Amadeus: Salieri’s defeat is total, and he is both forgotten as a composer, and thought by the public to be insane. He never resolves his conflict of faith. It is his destruction.

Body Heat: Ned feels terrible that his decision has led to Mattie’s apparent death–she “obviously” couldn’t have known about the booby trap or she wouldn’t have walked into it (or so he thought). This judgment of “Bad” is mitigated in the author’s proof by having Ned figure out that he has been duped and that he strongly suspects the real truth: Mattie is alive and living exceedingly well off of the inheritance money.

Chinatown: Jake remains clueless as to why events turned out so badly for him–“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

The Glass Menagerie: Laura retreats into her fantasy world — a glass menagerie that is like “bits of a shattered rainbow.” And though is seen being comforted by Amanda at the end, it is the memory of his sister that haunts Tom for the rest of his life.

The Godfather: For Michael to have been left the only one capable of preserving his family’s power is bad for him personally. He continues to be in love with Kaye, maintaining the lie he is not a murderer. Kaye represents his original desire to remain outside of his family’s dirty business. When he changes by becoming willingly committed and involved as the new Don, his need to prevent Kaye from discovering this indicates he is still plagued by his personal problems.

Hamlet: Hamlet finally perceives that “if it be not now, yet it will come,” and that “The readiness is all” (5.2.219-220). This discovery, this revelation of necessity and meaning in Hamlet’s great reversal of fortune, enables him to confront the tragic circumstance of his life with understanding and heroism, and to demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit even in the moment of his catastrophe. Such an assertion of the individual will does not lessen the tragic waste with which “Hamlet” ends. Hamlet is dead, the great promise of his life forever lost. (Bevington xxxi)

Heavenly Creatures: An adolescent rebelling against the confining nature of adult authority figures, Pauline is detained in prison for her crime. She is forever separated from her beloved Juliet, who “was released in November 1959 and immediately left New Zealand to join her mother overseas.”

(Walsh & Jackson, p. 216)

Lawrence of Arabia: Lawrence finds that while he is fully capable of fulfilling the role of God-like leader, it comes at great cost to his own personality: his sado-masochistic tendencies have been brought to the fore, and he finds he both enjoys inflicting suffering on others and experiences pleasure in his own degradation and torture.

Othello: Othello’s fall from grace is stunning. At first he’s a happy newlywed; successful as a warrior and well respected in the community. When Brabantio accuses him of witchcraft in front of the Venetian senate, the members disbelieve the charges because of his stellar reputation. He faces them with calm and confidence. But Othello is corrupted and quickly becomes an irrational, despondent madman, an abusive husband, a murderer, and after realizing his colossal mistake, he kills himself.

Platoon: Chris’ experiences in the war do not lead him to find something to be proud of, instead, he has become a cold-blooded murderer, and kills his nemesis, Sgt. Barnes in merciless revenge. The physical and, especially, emotional wounds he has sustained in Vietnam will forever serve to remind him of the shameful dehumanization he endured in the war.

Quills: The Abbe de Coulmier unwittingly and unhappily ends up an inmate of the asylum.

Reservoir Dogs: Mr. White defends Mr. Orange’s honor and his life in a three-way shoot-out with his colleagues. He suffers intense anguish when he learns Mr. Orange betrayed him; in killing Mr. Orange, he seals his own fate.

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo ultimately fails in his efforts to live happily ever after with his “heart’s dear love” (2.3.61)–“For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” (5.3.320-21).

The Silence of the Lambs: At the story’s end, Clarice has not put her personal demons to rest. She has no answer to Lecter’s final phone call:

LECTER (V.O.): Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming… ?

Unforgiven: While Munny succeeds in getting the money he needs to help raise his two children, it’s at great personal cost: the dark side of his nature that he’s suppressed for years has resurfaced. He’s become a mean killer again, drinks hard liquor, and will surely be haunted by the faces of his new victims.

The Wild Bunch: Pike never gets the chance to put right the personal wrongs he’s experienced in the past: he doesn’t get revenge on the man who killed his woman, and for abandoning Thornton there’s no forgiveness–only death for another’s (Angel’s) cause offers any kind of redemption at all.

Witness: By staying on the farm, Rachel doesn’t get the man she obviously desires, John Book, and she’s about to be saddled with Daniel–the Lapp family may be buying a horse with only one good ball again.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with a Judgment of Good

STORIES that have Judgment of Good:

A Clockwork Orange: Alex resolves his personal problems–his conflict with society–by making society accept him. As frightening as it may be to unleash Alex back into society, it is worse to eradicate individuality. To have a society worthwhile to live in, society must compromise with the needs and desires of the individual. Also, in this particular society, Alex’s evil is matched, if not surpassed, by society’s own corruption.

A Doll’s House: By leaving Torvald, Nora will have the opportunity to explore who she really is and learn to stand on her own.

All About Eve: Margo resolves her personal problems: She comes to terms with her fear of aging, especially her fear of being too old for Bill; she’s vindicated for attacking Eve after Eve’s comments are published; she remains secure in her status as one of theater’s most important actresses.

All That Jazz: Joe accepts his death–and an afterlife with Angelique. In addition, Joe may have failed in bringing NY/LA to Broadway, but his fantasy production of his good-bye to life is “the best one yet” (Aurthur and Fosse 127).

Apt Pupil: Todd ultimately succeeds when he allows his true evil nature to surface:

“Everything was fine. Everything was together. The blankness left his face and a kind of wild beauty filled it…’I’m king of the world!’ he shouted mightily at the high blue sky, and raised the rifle two-handed over his head for a moment” (King, 1982, p. 286).

Barefoot in the Park: Paul changes his conservative ways and his happy marriage is restored.

Being There: Chance is no longer homeless. He has grown to love Eve, who will provide him with a home, gardens, and a television in every room:

“A breeze fell upon the foliage and nestled under the cover of its moist leaves. Not a thought lifted itself from Chance’s brain. Peace filled his chest” (Kosinski, 1970, p. 118).

Blade Runner: Deckard stops killing replicants and learns to love them, which is healthy considering he may be one. The screenplay is more specific: the story ends with Gaff chasing Deckard and Rachael, with a voice-over:

DECKARD (V.O.): I knew it on the roof that night. We were brothers, Roy Batty and I! Combat models of the highest order. We had fought in wars not yet dreamed of… in vast nightmares still unnamed. We were the new people… Roy and me and Rachael! We were made for this world. It was ours!

(Fancher and Peoples, p. 133)

Boyz N The Hood: Tre survives life in the hood and attends Morehouse College with Brandi across the way at Spelman.

Braveheart: William strives to compel Robert the Bruce to lead the Scots in a united effort against the English, and although William never lives to see it happen, Robert in the end, on the field at Bannockburn, does exactly what William had hoped–and wins Scotland’s independence.

Bringing Up Baby: This is a good example of the fact that story judgment can sometimes be a matter of degree. When Susan arrives at the museum after Alice has left, David thanks her for finding the bone and tells her to leave. Susan tells him that she has the million dollars and still David doesn’t seem too thrilled. However, when Susan apologizes for ruining everything, David tells her that he ought to thank her. He says that he has just discovered that it was the best day he had ever had in his life, but more than that, he says, he thinks he loves her.

Bull Durham: Annie comes to realize that perhaps there is more to life than baseball. She realizes that she is in love with Crash, and is willing to set aside her expectations, preconceptions, and need to control. The “authors proof” is she even allows herself to be tied to the bed, while Crash paints her toenails, and seems happier and more fulfilled than at any other time in the story.

Candida: Morell’s anxiety over the possibility of losing Candida to Marchbanks is appeased as Marchbanks takes his leave and husband and wife embrace.

Casablanca: Rick resolves his bitterness over Ilsa’s leaving him in Paris. He forgives what has happened in the past, opens his heart to love again, and resumes his efforts against fascist oppression.

Charlotte’s Web: Wilbur’s sense of security gives him the maturity to control his actions and concentrate on helping others, instead of always thinking of himself first.

The Client: Reggie’s change of heart lets her willingly arrange for Marcus’ participation in the Witness Protection Program. She will no longer be haunted by her sense of failure regarding her own children. She IS a good person and a good mother–Marcus tells her that he loves her.

The Crucible: John Proctor resolves his personal problem when he chooses to die rather than to blacken his own name and others of the community:

Parris: Go to him, Goody Proctor! There is yet time! Go to him! Proctor! Proctor!

Hale: Woman, plead with him! Woman! It is pride, it is vanity. Be his helper!–What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him? Shall the worms declare his truth? Go to him, take his shame away!

Elizabeth: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him! (Miller 144-5)

El Mariachi: El Mariachi matures into a man prepared for all eventualities.

Four Weddings And A Funeral: Charles overcomes his personal dilemma (fear of commitment) and spends the rest of his life with Carrie as a happy family man. The last still photo on screen is that of a cheerful, contented Charles with Carrie and their new son.

The Fugitive: Dr. Kimble’s steadfastness allows him to prove his innocence.

The Graduate: As Elaine and Ben are on the bus riding away from the church, they are very happy (this a matter of degree, of course, because there is a moment when their smiles fade slightly and become looks of “Oh my God, what have we done?”), but for the moment at least, Ben clearly thinks he has done the right thing.

The Great Gatsby: Nick realizes it’s important to have a certain amount of cynicism when interacting with human beings:

“When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby was exempt from my reaction — Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.

No — Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”

Harold and Maude: Harold learns to love and be loved–to embrace the new (playing the banjo) and to end his fascination with death–finally driving his hearse over the cliff, destroying it.

I Love Lucy: Although not in the way she had planned, Lucy is ultimately able to convey the information to Ricky they are about to become proud parents.

Klute: By story’s end, Klute has experienced an emotional and sexual connection with a woman (Bree) again, emerging from the isolation caused by his wife leaving him for another man.

Lolita: Ultimately, Humbert succeeds in resolving his personal angst. After a long and tortuous confession and an honest, objective, and analytical treatment of his sins, he lays down his burden of guilt and is ready to take his punishment. The reader catches a glimmer of redemption, and “it makes us ‘pity the monsters’ (Robert Lowell) by taking to our hearts its repulsive hero – as he himself answers us as he is – with eventual sympathy and even love” (Norton 1733).

The Philadelphia Story: As they are about to walk into the wedding, Tracy tells her father that she feels, “Like a human Ñ like a human being.” Her father asks if that’s all right, and Tracy replies, “All right? Oh Father, it’s Heaven!”

The Piano Lesson: Berniece resolves her personal problems: She overcomes her fear of releasing the spirits of her ancestors when she plays the piano to vanquish the ghost. She comes to terms with the past. She reconciles with her brother and is able to embark upon a more fulfilling future.

Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth has overcome her prejudice of Mr. Darcy and looks forward to a happy marriage.

Rain Man: Charlie learns to love the brother he didn’t know he had. He forgives his father for disowning him, and becomes a compassionate person.

Rear Window: During Lisa’s tussle with Thorwald, Jeff realizes how much he really cares for her. The final scene has Lisa seemingly prepared to adapt to Jeff’s globetrotting lifestyle. Jeff’s growth towards marriage is alluded to in an earlier draft of the screenplay, where there is a final discussion of Mrs. Thorwald between Doyle and Jeff:

DOYLE: You were right. There was something in that garden. I just got a signal — it’s in Thorwald’s icebox now.

JEFF: That reminds me — two heads are better than one.

(Hayes, 12/2/53, p.164)

Rebel Without a Cause: Jim’s father stands up as a man and turns to help his son stand up, assuring Jim he can trust him; Jim introduces Judy to his parents as his friend; and so forth.

Revenge of the Nerds: Lewis’s decision to remain steadfast is seen ultimately to be good. He succeeds in changing the way nerds are treated at Adams and resolves the conflicts between his environment and the way he is.

Rosemary’s Baby: Rosemary is finally in control of the situation and she has the baby she has longed for.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: Josh wins on his own terms, keeping his life filled with variety instead of just living for chess. The author’s proof can be seen in the fact that after he beats Jonathan Poe, rather than feeling bad for Jonathan, he says that it was a “good game.”

The Simpsons Christmas Special: Homer resolves his personal angst when he realizes family is all that matters, and his family cares more about him than gifts under the tree.

All Good Things (Star Trek: The Next Generation): Q congratulates Picard for being able to expand his mind, thereby saving mankind . . . again. Also, Picard is at peace with the fact that mankind is saved and will be open to new possibilities of existence.

Star Wars: Luke becomes a hero.

Sula: Nel is emotionally uplifted when she finally is able to release the hurt and anger she has felt toward Sula.

The Sun Also Rises: Jake Barnes resolves his personal angst:

“Jake nobly accepts his tragic condition” (Meyers 460). He embodies Hemingway’s famous phrase, “Grace under pressure” (Meyers 189).

Sunset Boulevard: Before Joe is murdered, he finds the strength and integrity to send Betty off to marry Artie for her own good; leaves Norma and returns the expensive clothes and jewelry with which she trapped him; decides to go back to Ohio where he can at least earn an honest living.

Taxi Driver: While Travis is still a lonely guy, and one with psychopathic tendencies, at story’s end he is a more relaxed taxi driver. He’s no longer writing dangerous thoughts in a diary, has elevated status amongst his peers, and is a hero to the media. He’s even able to accept Betsy for what she is, “a star-fucker of the highest order,” and no longer has the desire to stalk her. But his last desperate glance at her in the rearview mirror begs the question–for how long?

To Kill a Mockingbird: Once Scout accepts Boo, she is finally able to comprehend her father’s lesson of stepping in someone else’s shoes to understand their perspective, “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough” (Lee, 1960, p. 308).

Tootsie: Michael learns to be a better person.

MICHAEL: I was a better man with you. . . as a woman. . . than I ever was as a man. [. . .] I learned a few things about myself being Dorothy. I just have to learn to do it without the dress. (Gelbart, p. 144)

Toy Story: Woody learns that he will still be loved even if someone else holds the rank of “Andy’s Favorite Toy.” No longer compelled to defend his perch as Room Leader, he’s more relaxed and easy-going, and more available for Bo Peep’s romantic overtures (notice how, at the end, Buzz is the one who acts nervous about the new presents). And finally, Woody has lost an enemy and gained a friend.

The Verdict: Frank is on the road to recovery by kicking the liquor, returning to practicing like a real attorney, and avoiding women he knows are bad news.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: George’s resolve to continue playing within the rules causes the collapse of the “family fantasy” game. However, this is shown to be a potentially good event because it has destroyed the game that was keeping George and Martha apart. It is implied that the downward spiral of their life together may have changed direction: “GEORGE: It will be better. MARTHA (Long silence): I don’t . . . know. GEORGE: It will be . . . maybe.”

Washington Square: Catherine develops her own sense of integrity, and is content with the life choices she has made.

When Harry Met Sally: Harry listens to his heart, not his head, and marries his best friend.

X-Files: Beyond the Sea: Scully resolves her doubts that her father was proud of her. She recovers her self-confidence, and by the end of the story is assured that her partner will recover from his injuries.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with an Outcome of Failure

STORIES that have Outcome of Failure:

A Doll’s House: Nora’s decision to leave Torvald ends their marriage.

All That Jazz: The show (NY/LA) does not go on.

Amadeus: Salieri is ultimately able to contribute to Mozart’s death. However, it does not resolve his problem. Mozart’s music continues past his death. Salieri is praised for work which he knows is “mediocre.” He ultimately attempts suicide to resolve the problem, and he fails at that.

Blade Runner: Deckard does not capture/kill all of the replicants. Roy only dies because his time runs out. Rachael also lives and escapes with Deckard.

The Crucible: There are no witches in Salem. Those who claim to recall that they themselves or others have used witchcraft, lied to the court causing a great number of needless deaths.

El Mariachi: All the primary objective characters die, except for El Mariachi, whose outlook on life is irrevocably changed for the worse.

The Glass Menagerie: Jim, the gentleman caller, is engaged to someone else and will never be calling again; Tom follows in his father’s footsteps and abandons his mother and sister, leaving them “a mother deserted, [and] an unmarried sister who’s crippled and has no job!”

The Graduate: Although everyone in the story sees great things for Ben’s future, he ultimately fails them all (evidenced by the horrified faces at the church), by throwing away the future they had in mind for him and running away with Elaine.

The Great Gatsby: Nick and Jordan have a parting of the ways:

“There was one thing to be done before I left, an awkward, unpleasant thing that perhaps had better have been let alone. But I wanted to leave things in order and not just trust that obliging and indifferent sea to sweep my refuse away. I saw Jordan Baker and talked over and around what had happened to us together, and what had happened afterward to me, and she lay perfectly still, listening, in a big chair….

For just a minute I wondered if I wasn’t making a mistake then I thought it all over again quickly and got up to say good-by.

‘Nevertheless you did throw me over,’ said Jordan suddenly. ‘You threw me over on the telephone. I don’t give a damn about you now, but it was a new experience for me, and I felt a little dizzy for a while.'”

Nick reflects on Gatsby’s failure to realize his dream of obtaining Daisy:

“I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more…And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”

Once Wilson realizes Myrtle is having an affair, he attempts to hold onto her, which results in failure:

“He had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world…

‘I’ve got my wife locked in up there,’ explained Wilson calmly. ‘She’s going to stay there till the day after to-morrow, and then we’re going to move away.’

…A moment later she rushed out into the dusk, waving her hands and shouting — before he could move from his door the business was over.

…Myrtle Wilson, her life violently extinguished, knelt in the road and mingled her thick dark blood with the dust.”

Hamlet: In the effort to bring down Claudius and restore balance in the kingdom, many lives are lost–including all those of the royal family.

Harold and Maude: Mrs. Chasen, the psychiatrist, Uncle Victor, and the priest fail to persuade Harold to adopt a conventional lifestyle that they would feel comfortable with–and which he would have to pretend to enjoy.

Heavenly Creatures: Despite removing “one of the main obstacles in my path,” Pauline and her object of desire, Juliet, are separated at story’s end:

“A SERIES OF CARDS explains what happened subsequently:

‘Too young for the death penalty, they were sent to separate prisons to be “Detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.” […] It was a condition of their release that they never meet again.'”

(Walsh & Jackson, p. 216)

Lolita: In the end, most of the objective characters fail in their goal of keeping up appearances. They had been posing as someone other than that which they really were. Humbert cannot maintain his facade as the suave and confident stepfather–he’s eventually revealed as a cunning pedophile and later, a maniacal, boozy wreck, ” . . . bristly chin, my bum’s blood-shot eyes” (Nabokov 263). Early on, Charlotte had pretended to be the epitome of the cultured, upper-class suburban matron, an act that the worldly Humbert immediately saw through. On the surface, Quilty is the sophisticated and world-renowned playwright, but in reality he is also a bloated and drugged-out pervert. Lolita’s character is like a wooden Russian doll: one opens it only to find a different one, and another inside that and yet another inside that–all becoming smaller and smaller until there is only an empty wooden chamber left. In the beginning she appears to be a normal and healthy preadolescent. After her mother’s death, Humbert is amazed (and enthralled) to find out that she has had some previous juvenile sexual escapades, and thrilled when she initially encourages his advances. In public he has her act the role of his happy, insouciant, young daughter. In private she must act the little “pubescent concubine” (Nabokov 136) to fulfill his insatiable sexual urges. Before and after she would be (not surprisingly) whiny, bored, sulky, “sprawling, droopy, dopey-eyed . . . mentally . . . a disgustingly conventional little girl” ( Nabokov 136). In the inner sanctum of her mind and heart “there was in her a garden and twilight, and a palace gate-dim and adorable regions which happened to be lucidly and absolutely forbidden to me . . .” (Nabokov 259). Lolita, denied a normal upbringing, has to survive by assuming different roles, failing at the only one she should have played–that of a happy-go-lucky young girl.

Othello: The characters fail to recognize and stop Iago’s malicious scheme against them. As a result of this failure: Othello and Desdemona’s marriage is destroyed; Othello goes mad from Iago’s insinuations and murders the naive Desdemona; Roderigo, tricked into trying to kill Cassio, is then murdered by Iago; Emilia is murdered by Iago when she reveals his treachery; Othello commits suicide when he learns of Desdemona’s innocence; Iago himself is sentenced to torture and execution contrary to his plans for his future.

The Piano Lesson: Boy Willie’s efforts to eradicate his family’s slave history by buying the land of their former owner ends in failure when he leaves the piano with Berniece. He returns to Mississippi without enough money to buy Sutter’s land which would have enabled him to quit being a sharecropper and own a farm of his own.

Platoon: From the very first scene of the film, as black rubber body bags are loaded onto planes that have just unloaded new recruits, America’s success in the war is put into question. Throughout the film, we experience the platoon’s frustrations, anxieties, and fears of fighting an invisible enemy that the platoon seems to have little to no impact against. And we are finally left with not only the platoon, but almost the entire 25th infantry, overrun by the enemy sustaining enormous loss of lives. In the final scene the dead aren’t even in body bags. The surrounding jungle floor and the entire military compound are strewn with the bodies of American and Viet Cong soldiers, and the Americans have obviously gotten the worst of it. This is definitely a war America is not winning.

Quills: No one is able to envision a way to stop The Marquis from disseminating his stories: “In the last scene, the boxes containing the body parts of the Marquis tremble with pleasure. One hand snakes loose from its box . . . and begins to write” (Back cover–Dramatists Play Service, Inc.).

Rain Man: Charlie does not get half of the inheritance that he expected. He doesn’t even get custody of Raymond.

Reservoir Dogs: The robbers fail to escape with the diamonds; the undercover cop has apprehended the gang but is finished off when he identifies himself as the “rat.” Everyone dies a violent death.

Sula: A future for the community of the Bottom is never realized:

It was sad, because the Bottom had been a real place. These young ones kept talking about the community, but they left the hills to the poor, the old, the stubborn-and the rich white folks. Maybe it hadn’t been a community, but it had been a place. Now there weren’t any places left, just separate houses with separate televisions and separate telephones and less and less dropping by. (Morrison, 1973, p. 166)

The Sun Also Rises: The objective characters fail to find meaning and fulfillment in their lives. This failure is particularly well depicted in the character of Lady Brett Ashley. She changes her amoral ways and begins to acquire a conscience, but her potential for peace and contentment will always remain unfulfilled:

It is unclear whether or not Jake’s insights and Brett’s final moral act give meaning to the lives of these exiles. During their Bayonne fishing trip, Jake’s friend Bill Gorton sings a song about “pity and irony,” and that seems to be the overall tone of the book, and especially the ending: pity for the personal anguish and aimless searching of these people, but ironic detachment toward characters whose lives and situations are, at best, at least as comical as they are tragic. (Neilson 6350)

Sunset Boulevard: Joe fails to make it as a Hollywood screenwriter and ends up murdered; Norma fails to return to the screen and goes completely mad; Betty doesn’t finish developing the story with Joe as she envisioned; Max doesn’t implement steps to stop Norma from destroying Joe and herself.

To Kill a Mockingbird: The court demands its witnesses to give their honest recollection of what happened on November 21 at the Ewell’s shack in order that justice may be served. This goal is not achieved; Bob and Mayella Ewell lie about what they remember, and as they have lied to the sheriff, Heck Tate, his memory is biased; Tom Robinson tells what really happened but is still found guilty of a crime he did not commit.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: The fantasy of George and Martha’s “son” is exposed. This is not because their son has “died”–his death could easily perpetuate the myth. It’s the fact that Nick (and ostensibly Honey) come to understand that there never was or could be a child of George and Martha’s. “NICK (To George; quietly): You couldn’t have . . . any? GEORGE: We couldn’t. MARTHA (A hint of communion in this): We couldn’t.”

Washington Square: The one man Catherine desires for a prospective husband turns out to be a bounder; she turns down all other offers of marriage and remains an “old maid.” In his introduction to the novella, Mark Le Fanu comments on the irony of the outcome: “The outcome of the story is terrible, if terrible describes Catherine Sloper’s proud refusal to compromise, and the consequent penalty of being given over to spinsterhood” (x-xi).

The Wild Bunch: Though the Wild Bunch receive gold from Mapache in return for the guns, and it turns out to be their last big heist, they don’t escape to enjoy it. They are killed, as are Mapache and the bounty hunters. Angel’s hope of liberating his people from oppression does live on in the form of Sykes and Thornton, though the gold remains buried in a place unknown. Thornton fails to either kill the Wild Bunch or take their bodies back as promised (though he allows his bounty hunters to try), and becomes an outlaw again.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with an Outcome of Success

STORIES that have Outcome of Success:

A Clockwork Orange: Alex achieves his goal of regaining his freedom and self-identity. Ultimately, Alex’s steadfastness pays off as society changes in the form of the politicians adapting to his needs, curing him of the Ludovico treatment and putting away Mr. Alexander, while his parents also try to reconcile with him.

The Age of Innocence: The characters are successful in maintaining the status quo of the past: Through the successful marriage of Newland and May they have joined two leading families in a effort to perpetuate their class and social hierarchy; through the joint efforts of the families they were able to keep Ellen’s past relatively quiet.

All About Eve: Eve becomes a successful actress, awarded a prestigious theater prize and is about to make a Hollywood film; Margo is to become a married woman who will no longer be alone with only a career; Bill is to become a groom, having finally won the woman he loves; Lloyd becomes an even more popular playwright with the success of his new play; Karen becomes secure in her marriage to Lloyd and in her friendship with Margo.

Apt Pupil: Todd’s goal in obtaining Dussander’s memories of Nazi Germany is attained; Morris Heisel is finally able to recall the identity of his hospital roommate and “‘feels that God allowed him the sublime privilege of breaking his back so that he could be instrumental in the capture of one of the greatest butchers of human beings ever to live'” (King, 1982, p. 262); after Heisel recollects Dussander’s true identity, he passes on the information to Israeli special operative Weiskopf, yet before Dussander can be brought to justice he escapes retribution for his crimes by committing suicide; and so forth.

Barefoot in the Park: The objective characters attain love and happiness; Paul and Corie’s marriage-as well as Ethel and Victor’s imminent courtship-are marked for success.

Being There: Benjamin Rand is at peace when he dies, knowing Chance and Eve will be together and his associates will put Chance in the White House; Dr. Allenby is satisfied that Chance loves his dear friend, Eve; men of influence are satisfied that Chance, the man who has no past, will make a good candidate for President of the United States.

Body Heat: Mattie gets away with the murder(s) and the money. Because she is thought to be dead, no one is even trying to find out how she secretly escaped to Tahiti with ALL of the inheritance money. This complete success is mitigated in the epilogue/author’s proof by leaving Mattie’s subsequent “happiness” ambiguous. Does she regret her past actions as she lies there in the sun drinking exotic drinks with a handsome man, or is that neutral expression due to some other unrelated thoughts she has on her mind?

Boyz N The Hood: Tre and Brandi get outta the hood.

Braveheart: Wallace’s goal is taken up with success by Robert the Bruce, and Scotland’s freedom is secured.

Bringing Up Baby: Susan announces to David that she’s received the million dollars from Aunt Elizabeth and is giving it to David for the museum. She also tells him that she has found his missing intercostal clavicle.

Bull Durham: Annie and Crash succeed in getting Nuke into the majors.

Candida: The Morells’ marriage survives Marchbanks’s efforts at disruption; Marchbanks comes to realize his true nature; Burgess is welcomed back into his daughter and son-in-law’s good graces; and so forth.

Casablanca: Laszlo finally escapes Casablanca — with Rick’s help and Ugarte’s Letters of Transit — to continue his freedom fighting, taking the woman he loves with him.

Charlotte’s Web: Wilbur is allowed to live out his life; Mr. Zuckerman enjoys his proudest moment at the fair when Wilbur receives a medal of honor; Fern grows up and acquires a beau; Mrs. Arable stops worrying about Fern spending so much time with farm animals; Charlotte’s children are born safely; and so forth.

Chinatown: Jake discovers the identity and location of Noah Cross’ granddaughter.

The Client: The location of the senator’s body is revealed.

Four Weddings And A Funeral: Everybody becomes happily “committed” — they each find a long-term relationship to which they can commit themselves.

The Fugitive: The actual murderer is discovered and the forces behind the murder revealed and brought to justice.

The Godfather: A new “Godfather,” who will keep the Corleone family and the power structure of New York’s underground soundly preserved, is found in Michael.

I Love Lucy: Ricky comes to the happy realization he and Lucy will become parents in nine months time; Fred and Ethel understand they are chosen as godparents of the Ricardo’s baby; Ricky’s and his band’s performance meets with resounding applause; and so forth.

Klute: The plan that Klute implements to find out what happened to Tom–sticking close to the girl–succeeds in unearthing Tom’s killer Cable, who confesses all to Bree before committing suicide.

Lawrence of Arabia: Through Lawrence, the British Army learns the Arabs are hungry for artillery to help defeat the Turks and later maintain independent rule of the region. Allenby denies the artillery and retains British control.

The Philadelphia Story: By the end of the story, Tracy has rediscovered the passion that was always inside of her. She announces to the wedding guests that while she may have disappointed them two years ago by eloping to Maryland, she now intends to make up for it by “going beautifully through with it nowÑ as originally Ñ and most beautifully Ñ planned.”

Pride and Prejudice: All the principal characters’ future security and happiness are assured.

Rear Window: With the help of Lisa and Stella, Jeff’s able to lure Thorwald out into the open and expose him as a murderer. Even doubting Doyle has to concede that Jeff’s ideas were right when presented with the visual evidence of a head in a hatbox.

Rebel Without a Cause: Judy falls in love with Jim and is happy, something she never thought she could be; the Stark family is united with the indication that they will be a happy family:

Jim: Mom–Dad–this is my friend. Her name is Judy.

The parents nod warmly and smile at her. She smiles shyly in response, happy at being accepted. There is a warmth emanating from the tight little group. Changes have happened to them. Things have been shed and a new start has been made. (Stern 117)

Revenge of the Nerds: The nerds establish a fraternity, get control of the Greek Council, inspire the Dean to act in their support, shame the Alpha Betas, find women to date, and win respect for themselves as nerds.

Romeo and Juliet: The grief stricken Capulets and Montagues reconcile, horrified the ancient grudge has resulted in their children’s deaths:


A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head (5.3.316-317).

Rosemary’s Baby: The Satanic cult has a mother for the Devil; Rosemary gets the child she longs for, and she becomes the baby’s real mother in every sense of the word.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: Josh resolves the inequity within himself and goes on to win the championship.

The Silence of the Lambs: Buffalo Bill is found and killed, the Senator’s daughter is rescued, and Clarice graduates to FBI agent status.

The Simpsons Christmas Special: Christmas is saved as the Simpson family receives the only gift it truly needs, the love for each other and “Santa’s Little Helper,” their new puppy:

Lisa: So love at first sight is possible.

All Good Things (Star Trek: The Next Generation): Picard solves the “paradox” of the spatial anomaly and closes the anti-time eruption. Therefore, the destruction of mankind is prevented.

Star Wars: The Death Star is destroyed by the Rebellion which allows the Rebellion to find another safe haven from the Empire (until the sequels).

Taxi Driver: Travis succeeds in making progress in his mission to clean up the streets by killing Sport and his cohorts, and by getting Iris out of prostitution and back to her parents in Pittsburgh. As the Screenwriter notes:

“The slaughter is the moment Travis has been heading for all his life, and where this screenplay has been heading for over 100 pages. It is the release of all that cumulative pressure; it is a reality unto itself. It is the psychopath’s Second Coming.”

(Schrader, p. 117)

Tootsie: Michael learns how to be himself without robbing others of the right to be themselves as he raises the money to finance Jeff’s play; Julie learns to be honest with herself concerning her relationships with men; Jeff gets his play produced with the possibility of being “the” new hot playwright; Sandy learns to be more assertive and professional as she accepts Michael’s rejection with her own style of grace, and decides to act in Jeff’s play with him.

Toy Story: All of Andy’s toys are successfully reunited with Andy, before his family’s move to another house progresses too far out of reach.

Unforgiven: Munny and the Kid succeed in killing Quick Mike and Davey, satisfying the whores’ appetite for revenge and “justice.” They receive the reward money from Little Sue, which they split three ways to include Ned’s widow.

The Verdict: The jury finds the doctors guilty and awards Frank’s side a huge amount of money.

When Harry Met Sally: Sally and Harry marry.

Witness: At story’s end, Samuel the Witness is safe. Fergie and McFee have been eliminated, and their mastermind Schaeffer is overpowered by force of numbers and taken into police custody. The Amish have their peaceful, isolated lifestyle intact.

X-Files: Beyond the Sea: Scully and Mulder achieve the goal of freeing the kidnap victims before they become murder victims.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with Option Locks

A Clockwork Orange: Alex has only a finite number of ways to overcome the effects of society’s pressure on him. First he tries to live without regard to societal rules, then turns to the Ludovico treatment to escape punishment from the State, then to his parents for shelter, inadvertently to Mr. Alexander, and finally to the Minister of the Interior, Fred.

A Doll’s House: Nora and Torvald’s marriage will strengthen if only “the wonderful thing happens”-it doesn’t.

The Age of Innocence: There are only so many avenues open to the characters to achieve the story goal: Mrs. Mingott and the families’ concern about discretion limits the ways they manage Ellen’s problematic existence; The van der Luydens serve a classy lesson to society by inviting Ellen to their dinner party; May and Newland’s wedding date is moved up; Mrs. Mingott reminds Newland that Ellen is a married woman; Running out of ways to prevent a scandal, Mrs. Mingott sends Ellen away to Europe. Social conventions limit Newland’s options regarding an open relationship with Ellen. Ellen’s options for living independently in New York are so limited that she moves to Washington, D.C., then, Europe.

All About Eve: Margo tries convince to Bill, Lloyd, and Karen that Eve isn’t as innocent as she appears. Failing to do that she must bide her time until Eve’s maliciousness is revealed to everyone. One by one, Eve’s manipulations alienate everyone who has befriended her. She’s finally caught in a web of her own deceptions by Addison DeWitt. Eve has no choice but to comply to his demands or be exposed as a liar and lose the acting career she desires above all.

All That Jazz: All the options for keeping Joe alive, and therefore the production of NY/LA afloat, are exhausted at the time of his death.

Amadeus: Salieri has run out of options to further Mozart’s ruin, so he contrives to impersonate the ghost of Mozart’s father to frighten Mozart to death. At the end of the story, he attempts suicide to outwit God.

Apt Pupil: As evidence of the true nature of his relationship with Dussander mounts, and his connection with the murdered winos becomes apparent, Todd is faced with the option of revealing (and reveling in) his evil nature or suffering through the indignities of a court case in an attempt to maintain his upstanding reputation:

Richler could suspect, but suspicion was the best he could do. Unless there was some sort of concrete evidence binding Todd to the old man. Exactly the sort of evidence Rubber Ed French could give…Yes, Rubber Ed was the link they didn’t have….And would even that end it? Oh, no. They would get his high school graduation picture next and start showing it to the stewbums [sic] down in the Mission district. What next? Court next….It would all be dragged through the newspapers… (King, 1982, pp. 284-285)

Barefoot in the Park: There are only so many ways to forestall divorce and restore marital bliss.

Being There: There are only a limited number of sources the doctor can fully investigate to find out Chance’s background before he comes to the realization that Chance truly is who he claims to be, a simple gardener.

Body Heat: There are a limited number of ways that Mattie can get away with the murder and the inheritance. One by one the opportunities to thwart Mattie are closed down as her plan tightens.

Boyz N The Hood: There is an indefinite amount of time to choose a finite number of options to get outta the hood.

Braveheart: William can only do so much without the support of the Scottish nobles, their armies, and their clansmen. His last option for securing Scottish freedom is Robert the Bruce.

Bringing Up Baby: Although a timelock is indicated in the opening scene (Alice reminds David that they will be getting married the next day), that apparent deadline comes and goes while David and Susan are chasing George to get the bone. Since the goal is obtaining the million dollars, David can essentially take as much time as he needs until he either gets the money, or through his actions completely blows the opportunity.

Bull Durham: There’s no set time limit indicated, and in fact none occurs. It’s only after Annie and Crash focus Nuke’s pitching, that he moves on to the majors. If it hadn’t, he’d probably stay in Durham as long as anybody else.

Candida: As rivals for Candida’s affections, Morell and Marchbanks feel the only option in settling the matter is for Candida to choose between the two men.

Casablanca: After Ugarte’s killed, Laszlo turns down Major Strasser’s offer of visas in exchange for naming other Underground leaders. Ferrari offers a single exit visa, but Ilsa refuses to leave without Victor. Their only remaining option is Ugarte’s Letters of Transit — which are in Rick’s control.

Chinatown: There are only a limited number of clues from which Jake can determine what is going on.

The Client: There are only so many ways Marcus can delay giving the information, and once they have been exhausted he has to spill the beans, or else.

The Crucible: There are only a certain number of constraints that can be put on Salem’s theocracy in the face of that society’s burgeoning independence before the power of the theocracy collapses. This is illustrated in Parris’ plea to Hathorne and Danforth to postpone the hangings to allay the outrage of the townspeople over innocent people’s executions:

Parris: I tell you what is said here, sir. Andover [a nearby town] have thrown out the court, they say, and will have no part of witchcraft. There be a faction here, feeding on that news, and I tell you true, sir, I fear there will be riot here.

Hathorne: Riot! Why at every execution I have seen naught but high satisfaction in the town.

Parris: Judge Hathorne–it were another sort that hanged till now. Rebecca Nurse is no Bridget that lived three year with Bishop before she married him. John Proctor is not Isaac Ward that drank his family to ruin. (To Danforth): I would to God it were not so, Excellency, but these people have great weight yet in the town. Let Rebecca stand upon the gibbet and send up some righteous prayer, and I fear she’ll wake a vengeance on you. (Miller 127)

El Mariachi: After Moco shoots off El Mariachi’s guitar playing hand, takes the life of Domino, then commits the ultimate insult of laughing at him, El Mariachi feels he has no choice but to kill him.

Four Weddings And A Funeral: Though each member of the group’s biological clock may be ticking away, it is the narrowing of their choices for potential significant others that brings the story to an end. Besides, the title itself sets up the limit. Once the four weddings and the funeral have happened, the story should naturally reach its conclusion.

The Fugitive: There are only so many one-armed murderers in Chicago, only so many places to hide, and once Richard Kimble is caught again, it is unlikely that he will be able to escape a second time.

The Glass Menagerie: Though becoming an “old maid” has an implied time limit, it is actually the number of possible ways that the family can be kept together that ultimately brings the story to a point of crisis. Once the various avenues are explored, the story conflict must be addressed.

The Godfather: There are only a limited number of Corleone’s who have the ability to maintain the family’s powerful stature (a limited number of candidates for the new “Godfather”). There are only a limited number of ways to keep the other families loyal and submissive to the Corleones.

The Graduate: Ben’s future is completely open. There is no particular time limit imposed on his decision to step into his future (although his parents do get a bit anxious at the length of time it seems to take him). In fact most of the story revolves around Ben’s weighing of options. The story comes to a climax when Ben decides not to take advantage of any of the options presented to him by the adult world.

The Great Gatsby: The objective characters have explored all possible avenues for fulfilling basic drives and desires.

Hamlet: Though the Ghost is impatient for revenge, there is plenty of time to murder Claudius. There are, however, only so many ways to bring about the downfall of Claudius without bringing down the rest of the royal family and friends.

Harold and Maude: Harold exhausts the potential marriage partners his mother supplies, holding out for Maude; Maude feels that she’s lived her life to the fullest, and that the options life has left for her are not worth living for, and so she finally chooses death.

Heavenly Creatures: Pauline runs out of options in her quest to stay with Juliet: she first gets depressed and tries to make herself ill; she thinks of committing suicide; she suggests going to live with the Hulme family, then with Juliet in South Africa; she and Juliet plan to be discovered in Hollywood; she finally chooses an extreme solution–her plan to “moider Mother.”

I Love Lucy: Lucy feels she has exhausted the personal ways she had planned to tell her husband about their impending bundle of joy, and allows him to discover the news while singing in front of an audience.

Klute: Klute runs out of prostitutes who can connect Tom with the violent stalker. Jane and Arlyn are murdered, and Bree is surely next. Out of options, Klute investigates family and friends of Tom, and discovers that his employer Cable sent the obscene letters.

Lawrence of Arabia: Lawrence exhausts himself spiritually and physically trying to overcome the obstacles in his path. What’s missing is: the willingness of the Arab tribes to put aside squabbles and govern themselves; the artillery needed to more easily defeat the Turks, which the British refuse as it could be later used against them; a charismatic Arab leader to take Lawrence’s place. Feisal’s final dismissal brings Lawrence’s mission to an end:

FEISAL: There is nothing further for a warrior here. We drive bargains. Old men’s work. Young men make wars — and virtues of war are the virtues of young men — courage and hope for the future. And then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men — mistrust and caution. It must be so.

(Bolt and Wilson, p. II-121)

Lolita: The objective characters run out of options by the end of the story. Quilty tries everything to talk his way out of being shot, but Humbert refuses to be bribed. Lolita, worn-out, disillusioned, and old at age seventeen, has no choice but to stay with Dick: “He (Quilty) broke my heart. You merely broke my life” (Nabokov 254). Humbert, a physical and mental wreck after refused by Lolita and killing Quilty, must allow himself to be picked up by the police.

Othello: Othello struggles with the idea that Desdemona is unfaithful: At first he refuses to believe it and he demands proof; he flusters Desdemona when she cannot produce a handkerchief he has given her; he “overhears” Cassio speaking of his affair with Desdemona; he sees the handkerchief in the hands of Cassio’s mistress. Now convinced that Desdemona has betrayed his love, Othello’s only option is to kill her. Facing her insanely jealous husband, Desdemona pleads innocence, when that fails, she begs for her life, then for one more day, then just to live until the morning. Othello rejects her requests and smothers her to death. An example of how the optionlock is illustrated by a minor objective character is found in Roderigo. Having lost Desdemona to Othello, Roderigo at first threatens to drown himself, then he engages Iago to promote his cause with Desdemona; he follows her to Cyprus; helps to discredit Cassio whom he believes is Desdemona’s lover; loses all his money when he’s duped by Iago; attempts to kill Cassio and fails–then is killed by Iago.

The Piano Lesson: Berniece exhausts all of her arguments against Boy Willie selling the piano. When he ignores her and starts to move the piano out of the house, Berniece is forced to threaten him with a gun. Boy Willie tries to sway Berniece to sell the piano by telling her his dream to own land, reasons that if she doesn’t play the piano he should sell it, and recalls their father’s anguish at being a sharecropper. When his heartfelt pleas fail to move her, he arranges to sell the piano anyway, even under threat of being shot. When Sutter’s ghost attacks him and Berniece saves him by playing the piano, Boy Willie has no choice but to let the piano stay in the family home where it belongs.

Platoon: The war will be over if the platoon and the rest of the American military run out of men; If the men in the platoon become two timers (if they get substantially injured twice) they return home; If the U.S. Military achieves their objective of winning the war, then the war will be over and the goal will have been met. The enormous loss of lives sustained in the last battle clearly indicates the U.S. military’s failure in making progress in the Vietnam War.

Pride and Prejudice: The objective characters move within a limited society, in which there are only so many possible marital connections one can make. As people are paired off, choices of a spouse are narrowed. In the case of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, the story is forced to a climax when Elizabeth gathers all the information necessary to exonerate his character and realizes there is no other man for her but him, and he learns she cares for him, making it possible for him to propose for a second time without fear of rejection.

Quills: Coulmier only has a finite number of ways (and The Marquis’ body parts) to stop The Marquis from telling his tales.

Rain Man: Charlie pressures the EPA to get his cars passed, gives his customers a discount, and gets an extension on his bank loan, but still loses his cars and goes bankrupt. Susanna pleads with Charlie to be compassionate toward his brother, then having exhausted all her arguments, the only thing left for her to do is to leave Charlie. Charlie does everything he can to make Raymond comfortable during their road trip, and then in his home, but his best efforts aren’t enough to satisfy Raymond’s needs. Having failed to convince Charlie to return Raymond, Dr. Bruner offers Charlie a payoff. Finally, Charlie’s forced to realize the best place for Raymond is at Walbrook.

Rear Window: When digging up the flower bed provides no evidence, (Jeff and) Lisa’s last chance to find incriminating evidence is to go inside Thorwald’s apartment in search of the wedding ring.

Rebel Without a Cause: Plato, concerned that Buzz’s friends will do harm to Jim, believes he has no other option but to brandish a gun to protect his friend; Jim’s angst has turned to utter devastation when Plato is killed, which at this point leaves him one of two options, continue to spiral downward in his depression, or look to his father to resurrect his spirits; once Frank recognizes he may lose his son, he takes the option to grow up to be a real man and father; and so forth.

Reservoir Dogs: Although Mr. Pink wants to go to a motel and Mr. Orange wants to be dropped off at a hospital, the robbers must wait at the warehouse for the arrival of their boss, Joe. In the search for the informant, various members of the group are eliminated as suspects; when Joe arrives, he narrows it down to one–Mr. Orange–and forces a showdown.

Revenge of the Nerds: It is when the objective characters run out of options that the story is forced to a climax. The nerds have done everything it seems they can to redeem themselves in the face of the school, yet when the Alpha Betas trash their house, the nerds find out they are still nerds. It is then, with the pep rally focusing on the Alpha Betas, that Lewis and Gilbert acknowledge their problems and decide to face their nemesis one last time.

Romeo and Juliet: With their two only children dead, the Montagues and Capulets come to their senses and reconcile.

Rosemary’s Baby: There are only so many people Rosemary can turn to for help. One by one they are eliminated until the baby is born.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: There is no indication whatsoever of how much time passes in the story. The climax is the championship game itself. The nature of the game is a loss of pieces, a narrowing of options, checkmate.

The Silence of the Lambs: Although time is running out for the Senator’s daughter, no set time limit is indicated. There cannot be many places where a murder victim worked as a seamstress and rare death’s head moths (which were found inside her corpse) are bred.

All Good Things (Star Trek: The Next Generation): Picard only has one option to save mankind–solve the meaning of the “paradox” and figure out a way to destroy the spatial anomaly.

Star Wars: There are only so many places that the Rebel forces can be hiding. It does not matter how long it takes the Empire to find the Rebel base, but once they do the showdown must occur.

Sula: Nel’s only options are to keep or release her anger after she accepts her guilt in Chicken Little’s drowning and confronts Sula for the part she has played in the dissolution of her marriage and their friendship.

The Sun Also Rises: In the end, most of the objective characters have run out of options. They had been drifting from “pillar to post” attending boring and repetitive social functions. After the frenetic activities of the fiesta, they come to the end of the road and are just as morally empty and disillusioned as ever.

Sunset Boulevard: There are only so many ways Joe can get a large amount of cash quickly enough to keep his car from being repossessed, stay in town, and keep himself in the Hollywood game. Having tried every way she knows to achieve her comeback–and failing, Norma attempts to hold onto the man who makes her feel loved. When this too fails, she succumbs to her ego and destroys him. Betty does everything she can to get Joe to develop his story with her, then she tries to convince him to leave Norma and come away with her until he makes her believe that he’s a lost cause.

Taxi Driver: Travis first seeks fulfillment in a woman, Betsy. When that fails, he goes to Wizard for counseling. When he has no answer, Travis can’t take it any more and seeks an outlet in violence, trying to kill Palantine. This option fails and he wreaks mayhem on those in the pimp business, finally running out of options when surrounded by police.

To Kill a Mockingbird: There is no time limit in the effort of bringing Tom Robinson to justice. Even after a verdict of “guilty,” Atticus plans to appeal. This last option is exhausted when Tom Robinson is fatally shot in an attempt to escape incarceration.

Tootsie: Michael, an actor who hasn’t worked in two years, needs $8,000 to produce a play that he can star in. At first he’s willing to take any lowly acting job to get the money, then he’s told his bad reputation is keeping him from working with New York producers. He would do commercials in Hollywood, but those producers don’t want him either. Michael pretends to be Dorothy Michaels, auditions for a soap opera, and gets the role. He can’t tell his neurotic girlfriend that he got the part she failed to obtain. He lies to her and leads a secret life. As Dorothy he falls in love with Julie, but can’t tell her he is really a man. He’s forced to continue his masquerade because Dorothy’s contract is renewed. If he tells the truth, he’ll risk prosecution for fraud, and most certainly Julie. When he slips in his role as Dorothy and tries to kiss Julie, she thinks Dorothy’s a lesbian and breaks off their relationship. Julie’s father proposes to Dorothy, and an actor on the soap tries to seduce Dorothy. Michael can’t handle the complications of his pretense, and is forced to make the shocking revelation on live television that he is really a man. Once he does this, he can court Julie as a man, and a better one at that for his experience of acting as a woman.

An example of how optionlock is illustrated by a minor objective character is illustrated in Les: He courts Dorothy and proposes. Then he’s put off, and has to wait for his answer. But when he learns Dorothy is really a man, there is no other option for him but to find a “real” woman.

Toy Story: There is not a specific time limit forcing the story to a conclusion; there is, however, a “race” between Woody and the moving van (figuratively and literally). One way of discerning an Optionlock story is the problem gets bigger as time passes, forcing the characters to consider their options more quickly. In Toy Story specifically, the looming problem is that the moving van is getting away while Woody’s options for reuniting with Andy are becoming increasingly slimmer. When RC Car’s batteries run out, Woody tries to light the rocket with the match. When the match fails, he uses Buzz’s helmet as a magnifying glass to light it. The rocket strategy almost doesn’t work either, but just as disaster seems imminent, Woody’s final option is to trust someone else to be in charge for once (when Buzz uses his wings to let them “fall with style” back to Andy), and that’s what finally results in success.

Unforgiven: After Munny and the Kid eliminate Davey and Quick Mike, Munny takes out the men in Greely’s bar until he’s sure there are none left as mean as he is, none left to harm the whores or to disrespect Ned’s body:

“Munny is still down on one knee pointing his pistol and looking through the thick smoke for someone to shoot but it seems there are no threats left.”

(Peoples, p. 124)

The Verdict: There are only a finite number of witnesses and avenues of prosecution — once they’re explored, that’s it.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: There is not any time limit to the games that George and Martha are playing with (and without) their guests. However, there are rules that limit the “playing field.” Once those rules have been sufficiently exceeded, events will change from being a game to becoming real.

Washington Square: There are only so many suitors for Catherine’s hand that are acceptable to her father, and the one man (Morris Townsend) that Catherine is willing to marry is not among them. Morris deserts Catherine once he is certain Doctor Sloper will deny Catherine an inheritance if they marry. After Doctor Sloper passes on, Morris comes back to court Catherine. Unforgiving of his past betrayal, she refuses his suit, spending the rest of her days as a spinster.

When Harry Met Sally: Harry must go through a certain number of empty relationships before realizing Sally is “the one.”

The Wild Bunch: The Wild Bunch run out of options in trying to get Angel back from Mapache: Pike tries to buy him back with Angel’s share of the gold, then with half of his own, but Mapache won’t bargain:

MAPACHE: No, I don’t need gold…I don’t sell that one.

(Green and Peckinpah, p. 103)

Finally, confronted by the determined Wild Bunch, he relents:

“MAPACHE: You want him…? Take him… […] MAPACHE GRABS HIM BY THE HAIR and his other hand flashes across the boy’s throat as he shoves Angel into the Americans, the blood splattering them from his severed throat.

AS PIKE STEPS BACK TO AVOID Angel’s falling body, he draws his forty-five automatic and fires twice into Mapache.”

(Green and Peckinpah, p. 108)

The climactic shootout ensues.

Witness: Schaeffer and McFee eliminate all who know of their crimes–the undercover cop and Carter–with only Book and Samuel remaining as a threat to them; hunted by his boss Schaeffer, Book has no place to hide except the Amish community; after Book’s fist fighting, Schaeffer narrows down the search to Lapp farms; Book kills off Fergie and McFee, with only Schaeffer left as a threat; surrounded by Amish witnesses, Schaeffer can’t kill them all and has no option but to give himself up, ending the story.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with Time Locks

Blade Runner: The replicants only live four years from their incept date and their end is rapidly approaching–which is why they escaped from Offworld and came to Earth. Batty, the last of the renegade replicants, ages and dies, allowing the physically inferior Deckard to triumph and the story to end.

Charlotte’s Web: Mr. Zuckerman must decide that Wilbur is too valuable to live before he is to be butchered next winter, “‘almost all young pigs get murdered by the farmer as soon as the real cold weather sets in. There’s a regular conspiracy around here to kill you at Christmastime'” (White, 1952, p. 49).

The Philadelphia Story: The wedding is to be held at noon on Saturday, and all of the action plays out within that time frame. In virtually every scene, some reference is made to the impending wedding.

The Simpsons Christmas Special: Homer only has until Christmas Eve to make it the best Christmas ever.

X-Files: Beyond the Sea: Scully and Mulder have only five days to find the two teens before they’re murdered — Lucas Henry, the kidnapper, is preparing to re-enact a grisly anniversary. In one week Boggs, who claims to have powers to help find the victims, will be executed. As the story progresses each deadline moves the story closer to its climax.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories Driven by Decisions

STORIES that have Driver of Decision:

A Doll’s House: Mrs. Linde decides to visit Nora; Nora decides to forge her father’s signature to obtain a bond; Krogstad decides to threaten Nora with exposure if she doesn’t help him keep his position; Nora decides to leave her husband; and so forth.

The Age of Innocence: The story is moved along by decisions: Ellen decides to leave her unfaithful husband and return to New York, which leads to her being snubbed; Mrs. Mingott decides to publicly support Ellen, so May and Newland immediately announce their engagement to unite both families behind Ellen; When leading society families decide to refuse invitations to a dinner party Mrs. Mingott holds for Ellen, Mrs. Archer and Newland go to the van der Luydens for help; Ellen decides to divorce her husband, so the family asks Newland to advise her against it, because it would mean total social disgrace for Ellen and the family as divorce is taboo in their Victorian society.

All About Eve: Karen decides to introduce Eve to Margo, and Eve’s story gains Margo’s sympathy; Margo decides to take Eve into her home as her secretary, and this allows Eve to begin her manipulations; Max Fabian’s decision to make Eve Margo’s new understudy, without clearing it first with Margo, causes Margo to blow-up at everyone–leading to Bill’s decision to break up with her.

Amadeus: From the outset, as the play is a memory, we see that Salieri made a decision to oppose Mozart. All the action follows, including Salieri’s decision to tell us the story as “Ghosts of the Future!” He also decides to attempt suicide. In the objective story, the Emperor decides to change his habit and visit a rehearsal of “Figaro.” This results in the Emperor restoring a dance which the Director of Opera to the court had removed. The Director, Rosenberg, becomes Mozart’s enemy. Also, Mozart decides to go against his father and marry Constanze, resulting in his father refusing further financial assistance.

Apt Pupil: Todd decides to blackmail Dussander; Dick Bowden allows his son to continue his relationship with “Arthur Denker” despite his poor grade report; Rubber Ed decides to look up Todd’s grandfather; and so forth.

Barefoot in the Park: Corie’s decision to take an apartment on the sixth floor leads to conflict with Paul:

Paul: (Breathing with great difficulty, looks back down the stairs.) It’s six flights…Did you know it’s six flights?

Corie: It isn’t. It’s five.

Paul: (Staggers up the step into the room, and collapses on the suitcase.) What about that big thing hanging outside the building?

Corie: That’s not a flight. It’s a stoop.

Mrs. Banks’ decision to drop in unexpectedly on the newlyweds increases the tension between Paul and Corie:

Mother: Well, I really had no intention of coming up, but I had a luncheon in Westchester and I thought, since it’s on my way home, I might as well drop in for a few minutes…

…I know you must be busy.

Paul: Well, as a matter of fact–

Corie: (Stopping him.) No, we’re not, are we, Paul?

(He kills her with a glance.)

Corie makes the decision to set her mother up with Victor Velasco–without Mrs. Bank’s knowledge–thus creating conflict:

Corie: Well, if I told you it was a blind date with Mr. Velasco upstairs, I couldn’t have blasted you out of the house.

Mother: A blind date…(Doesn’t quite get it yet.) With Mr. Velasco…(Then the dawn.) The one that…? (She points up, then panics.) Good God! (Takes a big gulp of her martini.)

Body Heat: Each major turn of events is preceded by a decision that determines the nature of subsequent actions: Ned’s decision to pursue Mattie from the outdoor concert precipitates Mattie’s seductive behavior (the ice cream incident) and her unexpected disappearance; the decision to kill Edmond Walker forces the subsequent preparations and execution of the murder; Ned’s decision not to reveal Mattie’s involvement with the “botched” will leads to the redistribution of the inheritance (in Mattie’s favor) and an intensified investigation into the suspicious nature of Edmond’s murder; Ned’s decision NOT to go into the boat house forces Mattie to be “blown up” by the booby trapped door; etc.

Boyz N The Hood: The story deals with the decisions kids must make while growing up in the hood, and how every decision they make impacts their lives.

Bull Durham: Annie decides who her lover/student will be this year. Crash decides to stay (or decides not to quit). The unseen team management is seen only in terms of their decisions (to hire Nuke and Crash, to fire Bobby, the player with the sixteen game losing streak).

Candida: “Candida” focuses on the decision Candida is asked to make, to stay with Morell or leave with Marchbanks:

Morell: We have agreed-he and I-that you shall choose between us now. I await your decision.

It is made clear, however, that Candida may decide on neither man:

Candida: Oh! I am to choose, am I? I suppose it is quite settled that I must belong to one or the other.

Morell: Quite. You must choose definitely.

Marchbanks: Morell: you dont understand. She means that she belongs to herself. (Shaw, 1895, p. 551)

Casablanca: Ugarte’s decision to entrust Rick with the Letters of Transit makes it difficult for Ilsa and Laszlo to obtain them; Rick’s nod of the head to let the band leader strike up “La Marseillaise” causes Strasser to close the club and threaten Laszlo; Laszlo’s altruistic decision to put Ilsa’s safety before his own impresses Rick so much that he helps the couple escape, putting himself at risk; etc.

Charlotte’s Web: Mr. Arable decides to spare the runt’s life and allow Fern to raise Wilbur; after Charlotte decides to help her best friend stay alive she implements a plan of action; Wilbur decides to take Charlotte’s egg sac back to the farm; and so forth.

Chinatown: Noah’s decision to use Jake to find his granddaughter forces the subsequent actions to take place; Hollis’ decision to oppose Noah leads to the breakup of their friendship and to Hollis’ eventual murder; Evelyn’s decision to trust Jake with the truth leads to her death; etc.

Four Weddings And A Funeral: The story is about commitments and marriages. The decisions to enter into each marriage drives the action forward.

The Fugitive: Dr. Kimble’s decision to report the failing results of RDU90 (Provasic) leads to his wife’s murder; the jury’s guilty verdict leads to Dr. Kimble’s death sentence; the guard’s decision to open the grating leads to the wreck; Dr. Kimble’s decision to return to Chicago leads to multiple chases and near misses; Dr. Nichols’ decision not to turn in Dr. Kimble leads to his being hounded by Gerard, etc.

The Glass Menagerie: Decisions drive actions in the story: Amanda’s decision to marry “father” has led to her abandonment; Laura’s decision to never return to Rubicam’s Business School drives Amanda to skip the D.A.R. meeting; Amanda’s decision to look for alternative means of supporting Laura drives her to telemarket subscriptions and Tom to bring home the gentleman caller; Tom’s decision to join the Merchant Marines leads to the power being turned off; Jim’s decision to keep his engagement a secret leads to the fiasco at the Wingfield’s; Tom’s decision to leave for good forces Amanda and Laura to support themselves; etc.

The Godfather: If it were not for decisions made in the Objective Story, the characters would not be forced to take the actions that they do. The “Turk,” Sollozzo’s move to hit Don Corleone is an action which is forced by the Don’s decision to not support his drug running scheme. The deliberations about how to deal with the “Turk” lead to Michael having to murder him. Sonny’s considerations about how the gang war should be fought leads to a prolonged conflict and his own death. The Don’s decision to end the war leads to Michael’s return to the States. Tessio’s decision to betray Michael leads to his own assassination. Michael’s decision to become the new “Godfather” leads to the “Baptism of blood” massacre. There are always a variety of ways for everyone to proceed towards their goals, and the characters constantly deliberate over them, forcing actions to follow.

The Graduate: Mrs. Robinson decides to seduce Ben; Ben later decides to take her up on her offer; Ben decides to acquiesce to a date with Elaine; Ben decides he’s going to marry Elaine; Elaine decides, at the altar, to leave her groom and run off with Ben.

The Great Gatsby: Although in love with the young soldier, Gatsby, in his absence Daisy decides to marry Tom:

“And all the time something within her was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately-and the decision must be made by some force-of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality-that was close at hand.”

The Buchanans, Gatsby, Nick, and Jordan decide to go into town on the hottest day of the year, which results in confrontation and death:

“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”

Once he is disillusioned, Nick decides he can no longer live in the East:

“After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eye’s power of correction. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home.”

Harold and Maude: After the Chemistry lab explosion, Harold decided he liked being dead, and took up faking suicide; Mrs. Chasen tells Harold what she’s decided to do with his life:

MRS. CHASEN: I only have a few minutes, Harold, but I do want to inform you of my decision. […] In short, Harold, I think it is time you got married.

(Higgins, p. 11)

Mrs. Chasen decides the answers to the dating questionnaire herself; Confronting Maude in the nude, Harold starts to make his own decisions:

MAUDE: Do you disapprove?

HAROLD: Me! No. Of course not.

MAUDE: (she wants the truth) Really. Do you think it’s wrong?

HAROLD: (thinks, decides, reports his conclusion) No.

(Higgins, p. 34)

Maude decides to end her life, bringing the story to an end.

Heavenly Creatures: The Art class teacher decides to pair up Pauline with Juliet, which begins their bonding process; getting a diary for Christmas a second time, Pauline decides on a more selfish New Year’s resolution; Mrs. Hulme decides she’s more interested in Bill’s feelings than his wife’s, leading to their affair and her divorce; Mr. Hulme decides to go to England, and place Juliet in South Africa; Mrs. Rieper decides that Juliet and Pauline should spend their last three weeks together; etc.

Lawrence of Arabia: Dryden decides that Arab Bureau needs its own man on the spot, and sends Lawrence to Arabia; Lawrence decides to cross the Nefud and take Akaba, endearing him to both Arabs and British; Allenby decides to sit back and let Damascus fall apart, so he can step in and take the reins; etc.

The Philadelphia Story: Tracy has decided to marry Kittredge; Sidney Kidd decides to trade the story on Seth Lord for an account of Tracy Lord’s wedding; Tracy and the family decide to play along with the ruse; Dexter and Seth both decide to show up for Tracy’s wedding; Dexter and Mike decide to turn the tables on Kidd; Ultimately Tracy decides she doesn’t want to marry George after all.

The Piano Lesson: The story is moved along by decisions: Boy Willie decides to buy Sutter’s farmland and sell the piano to finance his own farm. He decides to pressure Berniece to sell the piano which causes her to fight him with accusations and finally threaten his life. Doaker decides to educate Boy Willie about the importance of the piano to the family, inciting Wining Boy to support Berniece which further divides the family. Avery’s decision to exorcise Sutter’s ghost causes a struggle against good and evil which forces Berniece to act to save her brother.

Platoon: Chris Taylor decides to drop out of college and enlist in the military for active duty in Vietnam; Sgt. Barnes decides to send Sgt. Elias’ squad out for an all night ambush resulting in Gardner’s death and Chris’ injuries. These two soldiers were new to the platoon and lacked the experience they needed and might have gained if Barnes hadn’t decided to send them out so soon; It’s decided that the platoon should move further on to a nearby village suspected of Viet Cong activity. The platoon commits war crimes against the village as a means of releasing frustration for the deaths of the members in their platoon. Elias’ decision to report Barnes’ criminal conduct at the village precipitates a rift between the members in the platoon (some siding with Barnes and others siding with Elias), and ultimately causes Barnes to kill Elias. Sgt. Barnes’ decision to kill Elias and later, his decision to try and kill Chris, provokes Chris to kill him.

Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy’s decision not to ask Elizabeth to dance at their first meeting is why she and her family and friends take an instant dislike to the man; Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Collins’ proposal gives leave for her best friend, Charlotte, to encourage his attentions; Elizabeth’s decision not to reveal Wickham’s true nature leads to her youngest sister committing folly; and so forth.

Reservoir Dogs: Joe decides to form a gang to pull the heist; Mr. Orange chooses to go undercover; Mr. Nice allows Mr. Blond to stay in the warehouse with the kidnapped cop. At film’s end, Mr. Orange decides to confess to Mr. White, who decides to kill him rather than giving himself up to the police.

Rosemary’s Baby: Rosemary and Guy’s decision to break their lease and take the apartment at the Branford is the initial catalyst for the story. Guy’s agreement to have dinner with the Castevets leads to the unspoken offer of trading his wife for his career. It is Guy’s decision to agree to the scheme that puts the plot in motion. At the climax of the story, it is Rosemary’s decision to become a real mother to her child that resolves the story problem.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: Josh decides to keep the chess piece instead of trading it for a baseball. He reluctantly decides to play and defeat his dad. Dad decides to seek classes for Josh. After initially refusing to accept Josh as a student, Bruce decides to teach Josh. Josh ultimately decides to compete at the championship for himself. He offers the draw to Jonathan.

The Sun Also Rises: The decision the objective characters make to go to Pamplona for the festival of the bulls precipitates the action that follows. During the week’s frantic festivities, events come to a head. For example, Brett takes up with the young bullfighter, Romero, and ultimately leaves town with him; Robert Cohn, pugnacious and wildly jealous, hits Jake and Mike and beats up Romero.

Taxi Driver: Travis’ decision to become a taxi driver, especially one who will work anywhere, exposes him to lowlife “scum”:

PERSONNEL OFFICER: We don’t need any misfits around here, son.

TRAVIS: You kiddin? Who else would hack through Bed-Sty or Harlem at night?

PERSONNEL OFFICER: You want to work uptown nights?

TRAVIS: I’ll work anywhere, anytime. I know I can’t be choosy.

(Schrader, p. 5)

Travis’ decision to pursue Betsy leads him to volunteer; Betsy’s decision to go to a porno movie with Travis makes her reject him, which in turn ramps up his alienation; Iris’ choosing of Travis’ taxi to seek refuge in brings her and Sport to Travis’ attention; Sport’s decision to pay Travis with the “dirty” $20 bill leads Travis to pay back the “wages of sin” with death; etc.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus decides to take Tom Robinson’s case even though he is certain to lose; the jury decides Tom Robinson is guilty of raping Mayella although evidence points to the contrary; Aunt Alexandra decides to move into the Finch household and exert her influence over the children; Heck Tate decides against arresting Boo Radley for Bob Ewell’s death “‘It ain’t your decision, Mr. Finch it’s all mine'” (Lee, 1960, p. 303); and so forth.

The Verdict: As a courtroom drama, the direction of the case follows various decisions and ultimately comes down to a single decision — the verdict.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: The decision to have the guests over drives the initial actions of the story; Martha’s decision to tell Honey about their “son” forces George to change tactics and begin to intentionally play games with them (formally it was only between he and Martha); Martha’s decision to ignore George’s warning and tell them about his being a “big . . . fat . . . FLOP!” drives George to smash the bourbon bottle; George’s decision to ignore Martha’s passes at Nick and to read a book drives Martha to follow through with her threats and go to bed with Nick; etc.

Washington Square: Morris Townsend decides on Catherine Sloper as his heiress, and begins to court her; Aunt Penniman decides to lend her help to the courtship; Catherine decides Morris is the man for her and attempts to convince her father as such; Doctor Sloper decides Morris is not fit to be his daughter’s husband and begins to wage a campaign against the scoundrel; and so forth.

When Harry Met Sally: Harry and Sally decide to share a ride to New York; Helen decides to leave Harry; Sally decides she wants more out of the relationship with Joe than he is willing to give; Jess and Marie decide they like each other better than their blind dates; and so forth.

The Wild Bunch: Harrigan decides to wait until the Wild Bunch come out of the railroad office and catch them in the act, thus causing the townspeople’s slaughter; Thornton makes a decision to hunt down Pike rather than face jail; Pike allows Angel to take a case of guns, leading to his capture by Mapache; The Wild Bunch decide to go for the gold and get guns for Mapache; Pike decides to rescue Angel from Mapache’s men; etc.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories Driven by Action

STORIES that have Driver of Action:

A Clockwork Orange: Actions put the characters in their respective positions in the story. Alex’s avoidance of school, beating of the tramp, attack on Billy Boy’s gang, rape of Mr. Alexander’s wife, and murder of the Cat Lady are what move the story toward his having to face the repercussions of these actions in the form of Mr. Deltoid, tramps attacking him, the authorities, prison, and Mr. Alexander’s attempt at revenge.

All That Jazz: How well the dancers perform determines who will be chosen for a part in NY/LA: “If you just stay in line for a minute, we’ll make our decisions. Look, there are only twelve jobs . . . (Aurthur and Fosse 7); Joe’s abuse of drugs and alcohol, combined with working and playing at a breakneck pace, contributes to his heart attack. Once this happens, he and the producers of NY/LA decide it’s time he recover in the hospital; Joe’s extramarital affairs forced his wife to divorce him; because of Joe’s indisposition, Jonesy decides to sound out Lucas as a possible replacement; and so forth.

Being There: When the Old Man dies, Chance is forced out of the only home he has ever known. Once on the outside, he is hit by a limousine, resulting in its owner, Eve Rand, taking responsibility for Chance’s recovery and well-being; and so forth.

Blade Runner: The story starts with Leon shooting blade runner Holden, demonstrating his ruthlessness; Gaff arrives to recruit Deckard; Deckard tests Rachael, showing how advanced replicants have become; Pris ambushes Sebastian to gain his trust; etc.

Braveheart: The murder of Murron forces William to decide to give up his neutrality and fight. William’s victory at Stirling forces the Scottish nobles to decide to present this commoner with a knighthood. Wallace’s sacking of York forces Longshanks to decide to send Princess Isabella to negotiate with Wallace, while he sends Irish, Welsh, and his own troops in France to fight the Scottish at Falkirk. Mornay and Lochlan’s desertion forces William to decide to take revenge.

Bringing Up Baby: In the first scene, a telegram arrives telling David of the arrival of the intercostal clavicle. On the golf course, Susan mistakenly plays David’s ball, forcing David to run after her to rectify the situation. At Aunt Elizabeth’s house, George the dog runs off with David’s bone, forcing David to decide between finding the bone, or going back to Alice without it. Baby is accidentally let out of the stall and runs away, and David must choose between not caring or dealing with Susan’s threat of telling Aunt Elizabeth everything.

The Client: The mob attorney’s suicide sets off everybody’s deliberations on what happened and how much Marcus knows. Ultimately, the senator’s body must be moved or discovered (action) to draw the story to a conclusion, and Marcus must disappear via the Witness Protection Program (action) regardless of what he decides to say about what he knows (decision).

The Crucible: The inciting incident in The Crucible is Parris surprising his daughter, niece, and other girls dancing “like heathen in forest” (Miller 10). He decides to send for Reverend Hale in the hope that he will confirm there are no unnatural causes at work in Salem; after his wife is taken away to jail, Proctor decides to take Mary Warren with him to court to prove the girls are liars, when this action fails, he decides to admit to being a lecher to prove the accusations Abigail has made against his wife are only an attempt to secure Proctor for herself; when Danforth forces Proctor to sign his name to the confession, Proctor decides to keep his integrity and protect other innocent people by ripping it up and going to his death; and so forth.

El Mariachi: Moco’s failed knock-off attempt of Azul, and Azul’s subsequent escape from jail, renews the hatred between the two men and begins a war that El Mariachi finds himself unwittingly caught up in.

Hamlet: Claudius’ murder of the king drives Hamlet to despair; The Ghost’s appearance drives Hamlet to seek revenge; Hamlet’s killing of Polonius drives Claudius to plot Hamlet’s death; Ophelia’s accidental drowning (and Polonius’ murder) drives Laertes to seek Hamlet’s death; and so forth.

I Love Lucy: Lucy decides how and when to tell Ricky the news after a visit to the doctor determines her pregnancy; after hearing about the problems that have arisen in his absence, Ricky decides to go back to work early; Ethel decides to reveal Lucy’s secret to Fred even after Lucy asks her not to; Fred decides to make a gift of his baseball treasures to the unborn child upon hearing the news; and so forth.

Klute: Klute starts the action by going to New York to find Tom; Bree closes the door in Klute’s face; Klute stalks and tape-records Bree; Visiting the junkie Arlyn makes Bree run back to Frank and drugs; The stalker looks through the skylight and plays Bree’s voice over the phone, sending her in fear to Klute; Klute fabricates a story about a little black book, setting a trap for Cable; etc.

Lolita: Until Humbert first lays eyes on Lolita, he has decided not to rent a room from Charlotte: “Let’s get out of here at once, I firmly said to myself . . .” (Nabokov 37). He instantly changes his mind when he sees Lolita out on the “Piazza.” “Without the least warning, a blue sea-wave swelled under my heart and, from a mat in a pool of sun, half-naked, kneeling, turned about on her knees, there was my Riviera love peering at me over dark glasses” (Nabokov 38).

Othello: When Othello promotes Cassio over Iago, the ensign vows to get revenge; after Othello secretly marries Desdemona, Brabantio determines Othello is using witchcraft on his daughter; Desdemona defends her husband and her father decides to disown her; when the Turks send an armada against Venetian held Cyprus, the senate decides to send Othello to lead its defense; Cassio gets into a drunken brawl while he’s in charge of the guard and Othello decides to demote him; Iago lies to Othello about Desdemona’s unfaithfulness and the general decides to murder her.

Quills: Dr. Royer-Collard is hired to restore Charenton to its former glory; Her reputation ruined, Renee Pelagie decides to beg and bribe the doctor to stop her husband from writing his stories; Each time The Marquis comes up with a new way to put his stories into circulation, the doctor and Abbe must decide on a different course of action to stop him; and so forth.

Rain Man: When the EPA fails the Lamberghinis, Charlie decides to lie to his customers and give them a discount on the cars. When Mr. Mooney, the lawyer, reads the will giving Sanford Babbitt’s fortune to someone else, Charlie decides to find the beneficiary. When Dr. Bruner does not give Charlie his share of the inheritance, Charlie decides to “ransom” Raymond. After Charlie refuses to return Raymond to Walbrook, Susanna decides to leave Charlie. After Raymond throws a tantrum when expected to fly in an airplane, Charlie decides to drive to Los Angeles. After the bank seizes Charlie’s cars, he decides to use Raymond to win money in Las Vegas.

Rear Window: Jeff’s running out onto the racetrack put his leg in a cast and made him house bound; Thorwald’s going out in the rain at 1:55 a.m. makes Jeff suspicious, as does almost everything he does; Thorwald’s packing makes Jeff intensify his efforts; Lisa’s waving of the wedding ring alerts Thorwald to the fact he’s being watched; etc.

Rebel Without a Cause: Jim’s drunkenness lands him jail; Buzz cannot get out of his car in time to prevent his driving over the cliff which results in his death; Plato’s death brings the Stark family together; and so forth.

Revenge of the Nerds: In this story, actions lead to decisions. The Alpha-Beta house burns down, so they have to determine where to stay; the football team throws the freshmen out of their dorm, so the nerds have to decide where to live. It is also the action of the Alpha Betas trashing the nerds’ house which forces Lewis to face his moment of truth and decide to remain steadfast and show up at the rally to support Gilbert.

Romeo and Juliet: The “three civil brawls” (1.1.91) the Capulets and Montagues have engaged in force Prince Escalus to determine: “If you ever disturb our streets again,/Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (1.1.98-99), thus driving the story forward. Gibbons asserts: “In Romeo and Juliet the play’s decisive events occur with instantaneous suddenness: servants brawl on sight, the lovers fall in love at first sight, the shock of the tragic catastrophe converts the parents suddenly and completely from hate to love” (70).

The Silence of the Lambs: “BILL SKINS FIFTH” reads the newspaper headline on Crawford’s corkboard, and on Bill’s wall. This action leads the FBI to seek Lecter’s help; Miggs’ attack on Clarice evokes sympathy in Lecter and his decision to help her; Lecter’s clue about covetousness and his writing on the map leads Clarice to reinvestigate the Ohio murder; the moth landing on spools of thread in Gumb’s house leads Clarice to try to arrest him; Gumb’s cocking of his revolver warns Clarice and forces her to shoot him.

The Simpsons Christmas Special: Bart gets a tattoo, and it can only be removed if the procedure is paid for up front. Marge has no choice but to use the Christmas savings to pay for it. Mr. Burns denies his employees their annual Christmas bonus, compelling Homer to decide if he should come clean with his family, or find another way to raise the money.

All Good Things (Star Trek: The Next Generation): Picard is thrown back and forth through time and must therefore come up with a plan to deal with it.

Star Wars: It is the Empire’s creation of the Death Star that forces the Rebellion to confront the Empire directly; it is the Empire’s boarding of the CouncilorÕs ship that forces Leia to send the plans with R2D2 & C3P0; it is R2D2’s run into the desert with the vital holographic message that joins Luke and Obi Wan and convinces Obi Wan to end his days as a hermit; it is the Stormtroopers barbecuing of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru that sways Luke’s decision to join forces with Obi Wan; it is the presence of the Stormtroopers in the Cantina that influences Han to take Obi Wan’s group to the Alderaan system; etc.

Sula: After Sula swings Chicken Little into the water leading to his accidental drowning, Nel and Sula decide to keep mum; Nel decides to end her friendship with Sula after discovering Sula and Jude naked; after Sula overhears Hannah confess to her friends she loves her daughter but does not like her, Sula determines she no longer can count on others; after the psychological battering of the war and its resultant terrors; Shadrack decides to devote only one day a year to fear; Plum’s drug addiction causes his mother to decide to end his life; and so forth.

Sunset Boulevard: The story is moved along by actions: When the finance men try to repossess Joe’s car he runs from them, gets a flat tire, and hides in Norma’s driveway. When he tells Norma that he’s a writer, she decides to hire him to rewrite her script. Betty reads some of Joe’s work and decides there’s one story worth developing. She begs Joe to work with her on it, and he decides to sneak out on Norma to write the story with her. When Norma discovers that Joe is writing a script with Betty, she decides to break up the partnership. Joe walks out on Norma, so she decides if she can’t have him, no-one else will.

Tootsie: When George informs Michael that no one will hire him, Michael decides to prove him wrong, and dresses in drag to get the soap opera job. When Dorothy threatens Ron on the set, Rita decides to give her an audition. Michael stands up Sandy for a dinner date and she decides to stand sentry at his apartment. Julie invites Dorothy to her father’s farm for the weekend, and Michael decides to go despite Jeff’s warnings. After Dorothy tries to kiss her, Julie decides to end their relationship. When Julie rejects Dorothy, Michael decides to shed his disguise and reveal himself on live television.

Toy Story: All the precipitous events of the story are things that “happen” which force the characters to deliberate on how they should respond–Andy’s birthday party occurs early, Buzz Lightyear “lands” on Andy’s bed, the decorative motif of Andy’s room changes (note the lyrics of the song “STRANGE THINGS ARE HAPPENING TO ME”), Buzz is thrown out the window by accident, Sid pulls Buzz and Woody out of the claw machine, “moving day” arrives, etc. (The mother’s “decision” to move is not part of the movie, nor is her “decision” to buy the Buzz Lightyear toy.) The final “action” that resolves the Objective Story is the sudden appearance of Buzz and Woody next to Andy in the car.

Unforgiven: Quick Mike’s slashing of Delilah, and Little Bill’s mild punishment for this heinous action prompts Alice to offer a reward; Kid Schofield’s arrival and the dying of the hogs pushes Munny into pursuit of the reward; Munny’s killing Davey sets Little Bill on their trail; Little Bill’s torturing to death of Ned makes Munny come after him; etc.

Witness: Jacob’s death causes Rachel to visit her sister for advice, placing her and Samuel at the train station; Samuel’s exploring puts him in a position to witness the murder; the killing of the undercover cop causes Book to investigate; Samuel’s identifying McFee puts him in danger; Book’s punching out the redneck exposes him as non-Amish; etc.

X-Files: Beyond the Sea: The teenagers are kidnapped and Mulder and Scully investigate the case; when Boggs sends for Mulder, he and Scully question him; Boggs describes where the victims are being held which leads to Scully finding evidence that advances the investigation and raises questions as to Boggs’ involvement in the kidnapping; after Mulder is shot Scully threatens Boggs; when Boggs withholds valuable information, Scully decides to approach the warden on his behalf.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software

Stories with Female Mental Sex Main Characters

STORIES that have Mental Sex of Female:

A Doll’s House: Nora effectively assesses what she needs to do to maintain the balance in her marriage.

All About Eve: Margo uses holistic problem solving: When she first becomes suspicious of Eve’s motives, Margo smokes a cigarette and thinks about all that’s been happening; she asks Birdie’s opinion of Eve; her intuition kicks in before Bill’s party, and Margo predicts “a disaster in the air.” After her blowup at the audition, Bill asks her what is wrong:

MARGO: I — I don’t know, Bill. Just a feeling, I don’t know. . .

Bull Durham: Annie deals with everything in a holistic way. She doesn’t see problems and solutions per se, but rather processes and balances. Much of her coaching refers to imbalances between the two halves of the brain, and imbalances in the mind-body connection.

The Client: From the first time she appears in the story, Reggie uses female problem solving techniques. Mark says he doesn’t want “some woman lawyer” because his mother’s divorce lawyer was so bad. Reggie asks what “her” name was, and Mark says “it was a man.” Reggie says, “Exactly.” Reggie uses the balance between surpluses and deficiencies to solve a problem. She lets Mark figure out that the deficiency he was ascribing to female lawyers was unfair. U.S. Attorney Foltrigg and his staff believe that they can manipulate Mark into divulging information while they are alone with him, but Reggie has Mark “wired.” The advantage or “surplus” the men feel they have is turned into a disadvantage or “deficiency.” Reggie discovers that Mark has lied to her, creating a deficiency. She tries to balance the inequity by demanding the truth from him. Instead, he runs away, thus creating more of a deficiency. To satisfy the growing inequity, her only recourse is to follow him.

The Glass Menagerie.

I Love Lucy: Lucy evaluates her environment in terms of time, especially when it comes to telling Ricky about their baby in a timely manner.

Lawrence of Arabia: Lawrence sees the larger picture of the Middle East situation, and attempts to unite the territorial tribes and achieve post-war self-determination; he intuitively understands that if they cross the Nefud, Auda’s Howeitat will join them, especially if promised gold; he tries to hold together the quarrelsome tribes in his Arab National Council, and get them to cooperate in keeping Damascus functioning as a city; etc.

The Piano Lesson: Berniece uses female problem solving techniques. She tries to uncover Boy Willie’s motive behind his unexpected visit. She sets conditions upon having Boy Willie and Lymon in her house. She considers her family’s history surrounding the piano and concludes that it cost too much in suffering to give up.

Platoon: Throughout the film, Chris’ ability and attempts to understand the big picture of war illustrate how he views situations from a holistic, female mental sex standpoint. As an example, he is able to home in on who it is that is called to war, and who is excused:

KING: How the fuck you get over here man, you look like you educated…

CHRIS: I volunteered.

KING: You what? Say ‘gain.

CHRIS: Yeah, I dropped out of college and told ’em I wanted infantry, combat, and Nam…

He grins, finding their reactions funny. It’s also the first time we’ve seen Chris crack a smile.

CRAWFORD: You volunteered for this shit, man?

KING: You a crazy fucker, givin’ up college, man.

CHRIS: Didn’t make much sense. Wasn’t learning anything… (hesitate) And why should just the poor kids go to the war – and the college kids get away with it.

King and Crawford share a smile.

KING: What we got here a crusader?

CRAWFORD: Sounds like it. (Stone, P. 24)

Even though he didn’t see Barnes actually shoot Elias, or has any physical proof of the crime, Chris still knows Barnes murdered Elias. Chris’ beliefs are derived from the tense, volatile relationship between Elias and Barnes, and the horrible scene where Elias runs from the jungle only to get killed by the enemy soldiers pursuing him. This sight directly contradicts Sgt. Barnes questionable account of how he earlier found Elias dead in the jungle, prompting the following exchange of dialogue between Chris and other platoon members:

CHRIS: He killed him. I know he did. I saw his eyes when he came back in…

RHAH: (puffing on his bowl) How do you know the dinks didn’t get him. You got no proof man.

CHRIS: Proof’s in his eyes. When you know you know. You were there Rhah – I know what you were thinking. I say we frag the fucker. Tonight. (Stone, p. 85)

Another instance that illustrates how Chris looks at the war from an overall, holistic standpoint is in the last conversation he has with King:

CHRIS: Y’ever get caught in a mistake, King, and you just can’t get out of it?

KING: Way out of anything, man. Just keep your pecker up and your powder dry, things change. How many days you short?

CHRIS: Not just me… it’s the way the whole thing works. People like Elias get wasted and people like Barnes just go on making up rules any way they want and what do we do, we just sit around in the middle and suck on it! We just don’t add up to a rat’s ass.

KING: Whoever said we did, babe. Make it outta here, it’s all gravy, every day of the rest of your life – gravy…(Stone, p. 95)

Pride and Prejudice: An example of Elizabeth using a female problem solving technique is illustrated when she cannot fathom why Mr. Darcy would interfere with the romance between Mr. Bingley and her sister, Jane. She looks at the issue holistically, reviewing all the possible objections he could have against her sister and her family, as well as taking into account the possibility that Mr. Darcy may wish to have his friend marry Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana. Elizabeth also determines that the fine points Jane has to offer Mr. Bingley more than make up for any deficiency Mr. Darcy may have perceived. Elizabeth is left to conclude Mr. Darcy’s objections to the match “had been partly governed by this worst kind of pride, and partly by the wish of retaining Mr. Bingley for his sister” (Austen 159).

Rear Window: Jeff tries to hold together his theory of Thorwald as a murderer in the face of opposition from Stella, Lisa, and especially Doyle. He’s more interested in the why and when of the murder, leaving the how to Stella and Doyle to consider, and piecing his ideas together to form the big picture.

Rosemary’s Baby: The female mental sex character resolves problems by comparing surpluses to deficiencies, and then taking steps to create a balance. When Guy first refuses to go to the Castevets for dinner, even though Rosemary makes it clear that she promised Mrs. Castevet, she begins reasoning out loud why they should stay home–creating a surplus of reasons acquiesce to Guy’s wishes. She doesn’t push Guy, but eventually he says, “Let’s go.” When her pregnancy becomes a seeming never-ending agony, and no one will listen to her, she throws a party where her friends can assess her shocking physical and emotional condition and push her to see a new doctor. When she grows weary of Minnie’s meddling, she accepts Minnie’s “herbal” drink, but then pours it down the drain. Thus she is dealing with the immediate surplus, but not yet taking steps to resolve the whole problem. When she discovers the truth about her baby, she is armed with a butcher knife as if she is willing to strike at one of the perpetrators, or even her baby. But she is confronted with a different inequity: the need of her baby. The story ends with Rosemary “becoming” the mother to her child, having seen the real deficiency in the situation, the baby’s lack of a mother.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: As a seven year old child, Josh employs both methods of problem solving, but he tends to favor a more holistic approach. Early in the story, Josh is so reluctant to beat his father at chess, he doesn’t even want to play him. His reluctance demonstrates his desire to hold the relationship together. He doesn’t want to change the status quo–the relationship he has with his dad. He is sensitive to inequities, as demonstrated by his sensitivity to the imbalance between winning and losing, and his sensitivity toward the people around him.

Sula: Nel uses Sula to creates balance within herself and environment.

Washington Square: Catherine is able to evaluate people in a holistic manner, for example:

“To her mind there was nothing of the infinite about Mrs. Penniman; Catherine saw her all at once . . .” (James 10)

The Wild Bunch: When his “family” members squabble amongst themselves, Pike gives them pep talks in an effort to hold the Wild Bunch together:

SYKES: That was a mighty fine talk you gave the boys ’bout stickin’ together. That Gorch was near killin’ me — or me him —

(Green and Peckinpah, p. 33)

With Thornton closing in, and his own men ready for fight or flight, Pike looks at the bigger picture:

LYLE: We kin stay right up here and kick hell out of ’em.

PIKE: No water.

DUTCH: Make a run for the border?

PIKE: They’d be after us every step of the way — I know Thornton. No, I’m tired of being hunted — we go back to Agua Verde and let the general take care of those boys.

LYLE: You’re crazy!… Back with those greasers!

PIKE: He’s so tickled with the guns he’ll be celebrating for a week and happy to do us a favor. Thornton ain’t going after us in there. While they’re busy picking over old Freddy’s pockets, we’ll take the back trail off this mountain and head for town.

(Green and Peckinpah, p. 99)

NOTE: The obstacle character, Deke Thornton, also has a female mental sex. He too, tries to hold together his group of misfits, but by using threats. He’s able to grasp the bigger picture of how things work, which allows him to work for Harrigan and to join Sykes at story’s end. He can intuit what Pike is thinking at any given time, as they share the same problem solving techniques.

Witness: When Amish elders object to harboring Book–because if he dies, the policemen will come, investigate, disrupt, cause publicity, etc.,–Rachel looks at the bigger picture. She responds that they must make it so that they never find his body, without going into details of how they would accomplish that.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software