6. The reversible step into the Danger zone
5. The first irreversible step into the Risk zone
4. The opportunity
3. The plan
What does first irretrievable step mean for other characters—if they were to have their own ladders?
In terms of the protagonist, there are several interpretations. Here is one.
In the standard mystery, where the protagonist is a detective, then this rung of the ladder would represent that action taken that exposes the protagonist’s examination of the events to the antagonist. Here, the canon of mystery writing presents a very schematic approach to the application of the fifth rung to this other character, but this application hardly fits all writing genres. For them, I consider:
In terms of minor characters (being neither the protagonist nor the antagonist), I will generalize how this rung is employed.
The fifth rung is about the possibility of others discovering the intentions of the character. Abstractly, it could mean an action taken by the character that has a strong connection that can be traced back to the character. In a family-drama, it could be the filing of divorce papers by a spouse. This presumes that the motivation for divorce was hidden (and it may well remain that way). It follows that having done this, the next rung is divorce.