16.39: Deep Dive into “Event”

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. PolkCharlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Our fifth M.I.C.E. Quotient episode focuses on the “Event” element, and explores how to use disruption of the status quo as the driving element for story. From plumbing problems to alien invasions, event stories are often structured by telling how difficult it is to return to normal, whether you’re getting the aliens off the planet, or the water back into the pipes.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Use the same fairy tale as last week, and strip out every element that is not Event.

When Sorrows Come, by Seanan McGuire

6 thoughts on “16.39: Deep Dive into “Event””

  1. I think of the MICE quotient a bit differently.

    Event has to be tied in to the goals of the protagonist and antagonist. One wants it to happen, the other wants to prevent it. And it’s a binary thing, either the event has happened or not, or is permanently prevented. If the big event that happens isn’t tied to someone’s goal, you’re telling the wrong story.

    Idea/Inquiry has to be reflected in the plan the antagonist and protagonist are trying to enact or stop.

    Character stories have to reflect the mindset the protagonist and antagonist have when following their plans and moving towards their goals.

    The Setting is about the protagonist and antagonists’ relationship to the physical or social settings, such that that relationship provide a motivation that drives them.

    So the minimum you need to write any story is a character with a motivation, goal, mindset and plan. Any of which can change through the story arc.

  2. Goldilocks as an event story:
    Goldilocks experiences a brain injury (or other debilitating episode) while she is alone in the middle of nowhere. She finds a house, but since it is unoccupied, she needs to manage her basic needs without triggering her heightened sensory issues on her own. She manages to get some food in her and attempts to ride things out until help arrives in the least uncomfortable chair, but when breaks and sends her plummeting to the ground, her symptoms skyrocket. She then tries to move herself to any place that doesn’t make things worse, eventually finding a bed where she hunkers down. As she starts to lose consciousness, she hears someone coming home—finally, someone who may be able to take her to the hospital to receive proper medical care.

    1. Oh wow, I did not do a grammar check on this when I wrote it. Let me fix that.
      Goldilocks experiences a brain injury (or possibly has some other form of debilitating episode) while she is alone in the middle of nowhere. She finds a house to take shelter in, but since it is currently unoccupied, she needs to manage her basic needs on her own—without further triggering her heightened sensory issues. Goldilocks manages to find and eat some mild food and attempts to ride out her symptoms (sitting in the least uncomfortable chair available) until help arrives. However, when the chair breaks beneath her, she plummets to the ground and the shock of the fall causes her symptoms skyrocket. Goldilocks then tries to move herself to any place that doesn’t make things worse, eventually finding a bed where she hunkers down. As she starts to lose consciousness, she hears someone coming home—finally, someone who may be able to take her to the hospital to receive proper medical care.

  3. This week, Dan, C.L., Charlotte, and Mary Robinette had a meteor hit the podcast? No, the three bears tromped through the middle of the recording studio! Well, actually, the quartet tackled the fourth M.I.C.E. element, event! With problems here, disruptions there, and the status quo running for shelter… You can read all about it in the transcript, available now in the archives.

  4. I absolutely loved When Sorrows Come, but it’s absolutely a character story at heart. Toby is trying to change something about herself, and the story ends when she finally succeeds. The fact that the character story is being supplanted by the event story is treated as the primary obstacle to the character story.

  5. Goldilocks as an event? She is living her normal life in her own little home when all of a sudden ghosts of the three bears are now in her home as if it is theirs. They are eating her porridge, sleeping in her room, breaking her own small chair, etc? Interrupts her status quo….. That is all I have and I’m not sure if it works!

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