When we combine the variables of Results and Cause, we are exploring Causes that are Sustainable vs. Fleeting. It’s important to define a Cause by first understanding that a character in your story who has obtained Results is a potential Cause for your MC. Likewise, your MC becomes a Cause when she acquires Results along with knowledge and experience.
Results are resources that have value. I use these words – Results and resources – interchangeably throughout this course. They include knowledge, abilities, talents, skills, relationships, material goods, wealth, experience, wisdom, etc.
Causes serve as guides because they have already obtained resources through their own Desire Obtainment Journey. They have experienced the progression from Point A to Point B, acquiring resources along the way. This enables them to provide assistance and guidance to the MC in her own journey.
Sustainable Causes are those who have Sustainable Results and choose to use them to help your MC obtain her Desire. They are Causes that stick around throughout her journey even when the going gets tough. These Causes provide ongoing assistance that our MC can always rely upon.
Fleeting Causes are those who have resources that can be depleted. They may be able to help your MC for a time or in a certain space within your story, but there are limitations to the extent of help they can provide.
Giving your MC a Sustainable Cause who freely gives your MC too much power and resources can hinder her in her own character progression and keep your story from being engaging. Not only will your story be boring, but your MC will be bored as well. If she can go to someone to get everything she wants whenever she wants it, what challenges does she have? How would she ever have the motivation to strive to become anything more than what she is? That said, your MC should always be searching for a Cause who has sustainable qualities and uses them with the knowledge that giving her everything she needs with no strings attached is only going to increase her sorrow and stifle her growth.
Fleeting Causes can be used to provide your MC with assistance in different ways along her journey. In fact, a Sustainable Cause often uses Fleeting Causes who have less resources to incrementally or partially provide for the characters needs in stories to avoid playing the coddling, indulgent Cause role.
But there are also Fleeting Causes who are just that – fleeting. These Causes may encourage your MC to rely upon them, but in the end, they only have empty promises. They don’t have the lasting resources or the time and space to support your MC.
If in your story your MC needs to find a Cause (that may be at least a part of her initial Desire), she will meet other characters who are potential Causes and explore the relationship with them for a time and within certain boundaries. There is much value in exploring new Causes who might end up as either Sustainable or Fleeting Causes. Your MC can explore relationships with other characters to experience their guidance, support, feedback, and other Effects.