Monday, November 19, 2012

Do you have MICE in your story?

Orson Scott Card’s M.I.C.E. quotient is a concept from his books Character and Viewpoint and How to Write Science Fiction.
M.I.C.E. stands for Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event, and can serve as a way to identify what kind of story you’re telling, and which elements you might need to spend more time fleshing out."

This is an interesting concept and I wanted to share it with you.
 M= Milieu=Where the story takes place
The world, planet, society, weather, family, etc
The character gets to see strange places, see all the things that are interesting, is transformed by what he seems and then comes back a new man. The story begins the moment the character enters a strange land and ends when he leaves.
For example: Wizard of Oz ends when Dorothy leaves Oz and goes home to Kansas.

I=Idea=Idea stories are about the process of finding out information
The idea story begins when a question is raised and ends when the question is answered.
For example: Most mystery stories follow this structure.

C=Character=When the story is about the transformation of a characters role in his community.
The story begins the moment when the main character becomes so unhappy, impatient or angry in his present role that he begins the process of change; it ends when the character either settles into a new role or gives up the struggles remains in the old.
For example: Romances are a good example of character driven concept.

You can embed character sotries as subplots within milieu, event and idea stories but in that case the characters' changes are not the climax of the whole work.
Even within a character story, the main character is not the only one who will change.
Much of the plot in a character story rises out of the other characters resistance to change. Your main character is the one who triggers all the others transformations.

E=Event=The story begins, not at the point where the world becomes disordered. But rather at the pint where the character whose actions are most crucial to establishing the new order becomes involved . It ends at the point where a new order is established.
For example: Harry Potter. Every book starts and ends with Harry being unhappy with his state in life.

My book, IT'S NOT ME, is a character driven story.
What is your book? Character? Milieu? Tell us!

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