In case you’re not familiar with Vonnegut’s Axis, it’s a brilliant tool for analyzing stories that have already been written (see Vonnegut’s brilliant exegesis here), but I’ve just found a great way to use it to develop characters during the writing process.
Essentially, the Axis works like this:
G-I Axis (vertical) – Good fortune (wealth, boisterous good health) is up and Ill fortune (sickness, poverty) is down.
B-E (horizontal, left to right) is Beginning to End.
I was using it as a way of mapping out a story I’m developing and I realized that my two protagonists have two different story models! One is living a (Boy) gets (Girl) story – in this case ‘Doctor finds Cure’ – and the other is a Cinderella story (Things are bad and getting worse and he needs saving!).
A good reminder that each of your characters might be living a different story – and a great way of mapping when they’re in similar or different frames of mind.
Just like real life. I’m living a different story than both of my children. And they’re living a different story from each other.