Magical Words: Of Men and M.I.C.E.

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In Orson Scott Card’s book, Characters and Viewpoints, he breaks down M.I.C.E. – Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. These represent four different story structures.

In Milieu, the character gets removed from the normal; though the normal still exists. Going off to college is one example; most classic quests are Milieu. Idea is a puzzle, a mystery of some sort. Character is a character-driven story where something is the character’s life has become untenable and they must fix it; the turning point of the character’s life. Event is similar to Milieu except the characters remain in the normal place, but something has happened to the normal so it no longer exists.

Discovering the paranormal is real would be a Milieu, having a Zombie infestation would be an Event.

Alongside this is Want. Story structures define a type of story – like a car choice. Want is the gas in the car. What make the characters move forward. 

To read more about Want, Expectation, and M.I.C.E, look over these two Magical Words postings made by Edmund Schubert:

7/10/2010 – The Importance of Wanting in Fiction:

8/14/2010 – Great Expectations – No, Not Dickens: