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So I just came up with this interesting way to approach story characterization that I'd never seen before. Sort of a way to visualize potential for conflict within and across groups, and at the same time can function both as a character balancing and story balancing tool.

Some of this exploits the very structure of story — if the characters and groups don't overlap, you have vignettes, or separate stories.

If there's nobody who is ill at ease where they are, there's no conflict and no story at all, just a bunch of characters hanging out.

One thing it doesn't capture is inter-GROUP conflict. I wonder if there's a way to do so.

Here's a Star Wars version.

Note how Maz and Leia don't have conflict with the nature of the groups they're in. They only have conflict with other groups.

But some of the classic Star Wars characterizations show here. Han is ill at ease in the rebel base. C3PO is not at home on a desert outworld. Rey is. Finn and Rose's stories are both of not just conflict with but active rejection of the group they were a part of.

Luke's arc is one of finding and then turning away from a group.

Some of this is very satisfying, and the places I find it not so are the places it should have been done more.

And so too, the sheer amount of conflict within the First Order/Empire in Star Wars always seemed like an unacknowledged weakness. It wasn't usually the rebels being amazing that won the day, it was the conflict within the Empire. Just look at that backstabbing!

Going back to the story I'm writing though I'm using it to find characters that need more aspects to them, or the natural alliances with an interesting story.

The comic book reading game-playing nerd crew are the heart of the story, but Michele doesn't fit with them despite being maybe the most ubernerd of the bunch.

But she's a bilingual witch with a temper. She's _not like_ the others, and until someone changes, she won't fit. That's a story. Someone changing.

In this case the nerds grow up some and Michele softens some and they realize they have a mutual antagonist. Oh hey. PLOT.

And Alison is sometimes too much of a neutral point of view, I find. So I need to find where she has conflict and show it. Turns out she _wants_ to be part of the martial arts crew and have a home in the dojo. A home that feels like a home at all would be amazing but she's not finding it there. It's too complicated, the friendships and camraderie. There's her conflict.

I wonder what other stories would yield insights when analyzed this way.

Buffy is interesting in that there aren't a lot of separate groups until S4. It's always the Scoobies vs the current Big Bad.

But in a given season, I bet seeing who is 'in' and who is not fitting in would show a lot of the structure of the show.

Steven Universe is super even-handed about doing this to every character who appears regularly, but even so there's some who persistently have storylines around how they don't fit in.

Amethyst. Peridot. Lars. Pink. It's one of the themes of the show to a huge degree.

But interestingly, these groups don't overlap very much. Arguably Steven is in multiple, but mostly the groups are discrete.

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