Word About Adaptation

Read the book see the movie Now a major motion picture A novelization A new musical based on the stage play based on the book based on the hit movie The timeless story of a classic tale updated for today's audience colorized reformatted to fit your screen edited for television. It's the same old story. Or is it Is a story really the same when translated from one medium to another and if not, how is it different What qualities must be changed to maintain a story's integrity To adapt adeptly an...

Word Of Warning

Propaganda is powerful but using it involves risks. It is like a virus or engaging in germ warfare. Once an audience is exposed to a propagandistic message, the only way they can neutralize it is to balance it with an equal but opposite force. Audiences frequently don't like to think they are being manipulated. If the audience becomes aware of the nature of your propaganda, the equal but opposite force can take the form of a backlash against the author(s) and the propaganda itself. Look at the...

Acts

Each throughline has its own four structural acts, which are like the three floors and the roof of our story house. Each of the dynamic acts is like the journey that explores the rooms on one of the three floors. As already discussed, when we choose a Class to be a particular Domain, the four Types in that Class become the names of the four structural acts. We might write those names on cards and place them in front of us. We can then rearrange those cards until we establish an order that...

Additional Element Level Appreciations

At the Element level where we already found each throughline's Problem, each of the four throughlines also has three additional appreciations. Since each throughline has a Problem, it is not surprising that each also has a Solution. The Solution is found directly opposite the Problem in the thematic structure. For example, the Solution for too much or too little logic is more or less feeling. If a Problem were seen as a disease, its Solution would be a cure. A disease will also have symptoms,...

Another View Act Progressions

Some two thousand years ago, Aristotle proposed that every functional plot should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Since that time, this notion has evolved into a widely held view that there should be three Acts in a complete story. Act one sets up the dramatic potentials. Act two plays these potentials against each other. Act three describes how it all turned out. At first, a three act progression might seem in conflict with Dramatica's four act view. As we shall see, however, the two...

Archetypal Characters Introduction to Archetypes

Archetypes exist as a form of storytelling shorthand. Because they are instantly recognizable, an author may choose to use archetypal characters for a variety of reasons -- because of limited storytelling time or space, to emphasize other aspects of story such as Plot or Theme, to play on audience familiarity, etc. The main advantage of Archetypes is their basic simplicity, although this can sometimes work as a disadvantage if the characters are not developed fully enough to make them seem...

Archetypes and Complex Characters Together

A single story may have both Archetypal and Complex Characters. The decision of how to group the functions is completely open to an author's storytelling desires. The problem is, until one is aware of exactly what these functions are and how they relate, it is impossible to make meaningful decisions about how to combine them. These essential functions are at such a basic level that they form the elemental building blocks of Objective Characters. Therefore, we refer to these functions as...

Awareness as Propaganda

Another method is to be up-front about the nature of the propaganda, letting your audience know what you are doing as you do it to them. This impacts an audience at a Conscious level where they must actively consider the pros and cons of the issues. The propaganda comes from controlling the givens on the issues being discussed, while the audience focuses on which side of the issues they believe in. A filmic example of this technique can be seen in JFK. By choosing a controversial topic (the...

Chapter Grouping the Motivation Elements

A better way to organize these characteristics is to separate the Action Elements from the Decision Elements. Of course, since the Eight Archetypal Character Types describe a specific pairing of Action characteristic to Decision characteristic, when we separate the sets, we cannot keep the Archetypal Character names as their contents are split. Nevertheless, it is much more useful to arrange the Elements by their similar natures rather than by the simple arrangement contained in the Archetypal...

Characters of the Week

On the other hand, many successful series have been built around a single character who travels into new situations from week to week, meeting a whole new cast of characters each time. This forms the equivalent of an anthology series, except the Main Character recurs from week to week. A means of generating character variety is to occasionally assign this recurring character to roles other than that of Protagonist. Instead of telling every episode as revolving around the recurring character,...

Complex Characters What is a Complex Character

Complex Characters are created from the same set of dramatic functions as Archetypes. The principal difference is that the Archetypal Characters group together functions that are most similar and compatible, and Complex Characters don't. This means that although Archetypal Characters may conflict with one another, an Archetypal Character is never at odds with its own drives and attitudes. This is why the Archetypal Characters so often appear to be less developed than Complex Characters or...

Consequences

Consequences are dependent upon the Goal, though other appreciations may change the nature of that dependency. Consequences may be expressed as what will happen if the Goal is not achieved or they may be what is already being suffered and will continue if the Goal is not achieved. You should select the Type that best describes your story's down-side risk. One of the eight essential questions asks if the direction of your story is Start or Stop. A Start story is one in which the audience will...

Contagonist Whose side are you on

Because the Contagonist and Antagonist both have a negative effect on the Protagonist, they can easily be confused with one another. They are, however, two completely different characters because they have two completely different functions in the Story Mind. Whereas the Antagonist works to stop the Protagonist, the Contagonist acts to deflect the Protagonist. The Antagonist wants to prevent the Protagonist from making further progress, the Contagonist wants to delay or divert the Protagonist...

Costs

Costs function much like negative Dividends. They are the detrimental effects of the effort to reach the Goal. Look at the Requirements for your story and see what Type of Costs might make that effort more taxing. Look at the Consequences for your story and see what Type of Costs might seem like an indicator of what might happen if the Goal is not achieved. Look at the Forewarnings and determine the Type of Costs that enhances, or possibly obscures the Forewarnings from your characters....

Creating a Contagonist

Let's bring in a CONTAGONIST the Seasoned Cop who says, You have to play by the rules and thwarts Jane's efforts to forge a better modus operandi Or, the Ex-Con with a heart of gold who studies the classics and counsels her to base her approach on proven scenarios Or, her friend Sheila, a computer whiz who has a bogus response plan based on averaging every scenario every attempted Computer whiz it is. So Jane wants to stop the terrorists, is pitted against the head of the band (her former lover...

Creating a Guardian

Keeping in mind the concept of Dynamic Pairs, we are going to want to balance the Computer Whiz with a GUARDIAN. The Master of the Oriental martial arts who urges her to go with the flow (Use The Force, Jane ) The Ex-Con again who urges, Get back to basics or perhaps the Seasoned Cop who paves the way through the undercover jungle We like the Seasoned Cop. Note how we could have used him as Contagonist, but elected to use him as Guardian instead. It's totally up to us as authors which...

Creating an Antagonist

Dramatica says we need an ANTAGONIST. Antagonist by definition is the person who tries to prevent achievement of the goal. So, who might be diametrically against the completion of the task Jane wants to accomplish The Religious Leader whose dogma is the source of inspiration that spawns the acts of terror The multinational business cartel that stands to make billions if the terrorists succeed in their scheme Her former lover who leads the elite band of criminals We like THAT one Okay, we have...

Creating Reason and Emotion Characters

Since we really like some of our earlier concepts for Characters, let's use the Ex-Con as REASON, stressing the need to use classic scenarios. We'll balance her with the Master of the Oriental martial arts, who maintains Jane's need to break with the Western approach by letting loose and following her feelings. Well, that seems to cover all eight Archetypal Characters Protagonist, Antagonist, Skeptic, Sidekick, Contagonist, Guardian, Reason and Emotion. Finally, we have Jane who wants to stop...

Drivers and Passengers in Star Wars Archetypes in Star Wars

Most people would agree that Luke Skywalker is the Protagonist in Star Wars and Dramatica sees it the same way. The Empire itself, embodied in the Gran Mof Tarkin and his troops, is the force diametrically opposed to the story's goal of destroying the Death Star, and is therefore the Antagonist. Obi Wan Kenobi is the Guardian, protecting Luke and company and providing moral guidance, whereas Darth Vader is the Contagonist, representing the temptation of the Dark side of the Force and hindering...

Drivers and Passengers in The Wizard of Oz Archetypes in The Wizard of Oz

We can label Dorothy as the Protagonist in The Wizard of Oz with some confidence. Certainly the Scarecrow seems to be Reason since he is the planner of the group (I'll show you how to get apples ), but he is not very calm or collected. In fact, he is quite the opposite. Similarly, the Tin Man looks like Emotion as he cries in the poppy field, yet he is anything but frenetic when he rusts himself from the tears. Clearly, our original Archetypes don't seem quite as true-to-form as they did in...

Drivers and Passengers in The Wizard of Oz Driver Characters

PROTAGONIST DOROTHY GUARDIAN - GLINDA CONTAGONIST - WIZARD ANTAGONIST - WICKED WITCH SBEKCK TOTC EtMTiON - TIN MAW REASON - SCAR E CR CW PROTAGONIST DOROTHY GUARDIAN - GLINDA CONTAGONIST - WIZARD ANTAGONIST - WICKED WITCH SBEKCK TOTC EtMTiON - TIN MAW REASON - SCAR E CR CW Drivers and Passengers in Jaws Archetypes in Jaws Chief Brody fills the Protagonist's shoes in Jaws, and few would doubt that the Shark is the Antagonist. Hooper, with all his gizmos, takes the Reasonable stand, while Quint,...

Elements of Star Wars Characters

Let's see how well these sixteen Motivation Elements line up with the characters we have examined so far. As Protagonist, Luke does indeed seem to be both the pursuing character and the one who urges all to consider the need to achieve the goal (We've got to help the Princess ). The Empire definitely wants to prevent Luke from succeeding, and urges him and all others to reconsider the propriety of his actions - reconsider or you will die. Obi Wan provides a sense of conscience, at the same time...

Elements of the Top Five

Who represents FAITH Unquestionably Jeffries. He maintains his belief that a murder has been committed in the face of objections by each of the other characters. Lisa can't talk him out of it and neither can his Nurse. Thornton denies it by his actions and Doyle is not convinced until after the proof is irrefutable. In fact, Doyle personifies DISBELIEF, even while HELPING Jeffries gain information to which he would not otherwise have access. Lisa comes around to accepting the possibility and so...

Encoding Subjective Characters

Although authors use Subjective Characters all the time they unfortunately view the Subjective functions simply as other aspects of Objective Characters. In fact, the two functions are most often blended into a single concept of character that does double-duty. This is dangerous since every aspect of the argument must be made twice once Objectively and once Subjectively. If both roles are blended, this can appear redundant. As a result, important points in the separate arguments may be missing....

Encoding the Objective Story Theme

The Objective Story theme is an emotional argument that is story wide. Its connection to the Objective Story makes this theme objective, not any unemotional feeling that may be implied by the title. To encode the Objective Story theme one must come up with scenes, events, comments, or dialogue that not only pertains to the thematic conflict, but at least imply that this particular issue represents the central imbalance in value standards that affects everyone in the story. In fact, it is often...

Encoding Theme for the Other Throughlines

The Main Character theme follows many of the same guidelines as the Objective Story theme. In fact, the basic approaches of illustrating the conflict by indirect means, calling on the other two Variations in the thematic quad and having the balance between Range and counterpoint shift back and forth are good rules of thumb for all four throughlines. The principal difference in theme encoding from one throughline to another is where the conflict is directed. For the Main Character Throughline,...

Events and Domains

In Plot, the most defined resolution -- Events -- is actually described by the most broad stroke structural units Classes. To recap, there are four Classes Universe, Mind, Physics, and Psychology. Each is represented as an Event. An Event is an occurrence -- something that changes (or remains the same) enough to be noticed by an audience. The dynamics of that incident create dramatic meaning at its most delicate level. There are four Events within the boundaries of each scene. This means that...

Example

Universe Physics Mind Psychology Universe Physics Mind Psychology Suppose we wanted to write a Comedy with the Objective Story Domain of Universe and the Main Character Domain of Physics. We could assign all of the Domains to the grid in the Comedy mode of expression like above. If we are good storytellers, all four throughlines would have a consistently humorous (comedic) feel to them. The Objective Story would be a situation comedy the Main Character would be a physically goofy or funny...

Following the Muse

A number of authors write with no intent at all. They apply themselves to recording their journey through a topic or subject or simply wander, musing. The resulting work is almost always open to all kinds of interpretation, yet may elicit strong emotions and conclusions in virtually everyone who observes the work. Even when an author meanders, he does so with the same mental tools everyone shares. So although no intended message might be conveyed, the subconscious patterns of the author's...

Forcing the Story Forward

There is another useful grouping of the Archetypal Characters which helps uncover their essential Elements. Four of the characters seem to be the prime movers of the story, and it is their interactions that determine the thrust of the effort to address the story's problem. The other four are back seat drivers -- perhaps highly interested in the outcome, but rather than forcing the plot, they influence those who do force the plot. Remember, these descriptions are only applicable in a general way...

Foundations Central Concepts

In Dramatica, there are some central concepts that prove immediately useful. Presenting these up front reveals the practical side of the theory and provides a firm foundation for more in-depth explorations to come. 3. The Objective Story Throughline 4. The Main Character Throughline 5. The Obstacle Character Throughline 6. The Subjective Story Throughline 7. The Grand Argument Story

Four Act Progressions

The three dynamic Acts or Journeys in a throughline's plot represent the experience of traversing the road through the story's issues. The four structural Acts are more like a map of the terrain. As a result, a more structural kind of thematic Sequence is associated with the Types directly. Beneath each Type is a quad of four Variations. From a structural point of view, the Act representing each Type will be examined or judged by the four Variations beneath it. In our ongoing example, the Act...

Four Dimensional Characters

All characters, Archetypal or Complex, have four levels or Dimensions in which they may contain characteristics. These are Archetypal Characters contain one characteristic in each of these areas that describes how they deal with external problems. They also contain one each that describes how they deal with internal problems. Altogether they possess eight characteristics.

Getting to the Heart of the Problem

Because it takes time to resolve inequities, problem solving can be defined as a process we engage in over time. Step by step we chip away at pieces of a problem until we arrive at a solution. We meet pre-requisites that give us the resources to fulfill the requirements that must be accomplished to clear the way to our goal. Or, we change the nature of the forces at work that determine the processes that sustain the inequity, so that it dissolves when its foundation is eroded. Problem solving...

Handoffs and Missing Links

Often we may find that a particular point of view needs to be expressed in a given scene but the character that represents that view has gone off to Alaska. Why did we send him to Alaska Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But now Do we go back and rewrite the entire plot, have him take the next flight home or blow it off and let the lackluster scene languish in his absence None of the above. We could do those things, but there are two other choices that often prove much more...

Hero Is a Four Letter Word

It is easy to think of the principal character in a story as the hero. Many beginning writers tend to base their stories on the adventures or experiences of a hero. As writers become more mature in their craft, they may come to think of their central character as a protagonist, or perhaps a main character. And yet, through all of this, no consistent definitions of any of these terms have ever been agreed upon. Before we proceed then, it seems prudent to establish what Dramatica means by each of...

Hold on to Your Givens

Why doesn't a character (or person) simply give up the old view for the new There are two reasons why one will hold on to an outmoded, inappropriate understanding of the relationships between things. We'll outline them one at a time. First, there is the notion of how many times a character has seen things go one way, compared to the number of times they've gone another. If a character builds up years of experience with something being true and then encounters one time it is not true, they will...

How Sequences Relate To Acts Three Act Progressions

With six thematic Sequences and three dynamic Acts, it is not surprising that we find two Sequences per Act. In fact, this is part of what makes an Act Break feel like an Act Break. It is the simultaneous closure of a Plot Progression and a Theme Progression. The order in which the six thematic sequences occur does not affect the message of a story, but it does determine the thematic experience for the audience as the story unfolds. The only constraints on order would be that since the Range is...

How This Book Is Arranged

Part of what makes a story great is its underlying dramatic structure and part is the manner in which that structure is related to an audience, often called storytelling. Therefore, this book is divided into two principal sections The Elements of Structure and The Art of Storytelling. In The Elements of Structure you will explore the essential components that occur in all complete stories as they appear in Character, Theme, Plot, and Genre. In the Art of Storytelling you will examine the Four...

How to Do Handoffs

When we employ the hand-off, we actually create two players to represent the same trait at different times. It is reminiscent of time-sharing a condo. In any given scene, a single point of view might be represented by character A or by character B, but never by both in the same scene. Most often, one of the players will be a major player and the other just a plot device player of convenience who appears for one scene and is never heard from again. Such players just fill in the gaps. Sometimes,...

Introduction To Storyencoding

Storyencoding is simply the process of turning the raw appreciations of a storyform structure into the flesh and blood people, places, and events of a story that can be told. As an example, suppose in our storyform we have selected an Objective Domain of Universe. As we have learned, this means that the Objective throughline revolves around an external situation. Now, when it comes to actually writing our story, we are not going to put down on paper, The Objective throughline was revolving...

Introduction to Storytelling

All complete stories exhibit two principal aspects an underlying dramatic structure which contains the story's inherent meaning and a secondary meaning which is created by the manner in which that structure is presented in words and symbols. In practice, neither aspect of story can exist without the other, for a structure which has not been made tangible in some form cannot be communicated and similarly no mode of expression can be created without something to express. The first half of this...

Jaws

Hooper Quint Uncontrolled Controlled Clearly, the Driver Character characteristics in Jaws are as simple as those in Star Wars. In fact, they are identical in terms of which characteristics are combined into a single Character. However, when we look at the Passenger Character characteristics, we see a new phenomenon some of those Elements are present in the Driver Characters, two of whom are doing multiple duty. The Mayor represents Temptation and Hinder as a Driver Character but also...

Limit Timelock or Optionlock

Limit determines the kind of constraints which will ultimately bring a story to a conclusion. For an audience, a story's limit adds dramatic tension as they wonder if the characters will accomplish the story's goal. In addition, the limit forces a Main Character to end his deliberations and Change or Remain Steadfast. Sometimes stories end because of a time limit. Other times they draw to a conclusion because all options have been exhausted. Running out of time is accomplished by a Timelock...

Main Character Domain Plot Progression

By now you should be familiar with the concept that the Main Character represents a point of view for the audience. In fact, the audience stands in the shoes of the Main Character and sees what he sees and feels what he feels. In the Objective Story Domain, the Plot Progression concentrates on the kinds of activities in which the Objective Characters are involved. In the Main Character Domain, Plot Progression describes the stages of the Main Character's Growth. Each Type in the Main Character...

Main Character Range

The Main Character Range (and its counterpoint) represent the thematic conflict of personal interest to the Main Character. It will be seen in the kinds of things this character notices which no one else does. Because it is so personal a value judgment, the author can use this appreciation to whisper his point of view, rather than shouting it overtly, as might happen with the Objective Story Range. Because it is so personal, the Main Character Range helps bring humanity to the Main Character....

Meaning Reversals shifting context to change meaning

In other words, part of the meaning of anything we consider is due to its environment. The phrase, guilt by association, expresses this notion. In Storyweaving, we can play upon audience empathy and sympathy by making it like or dislike something, only to have it find out it was mistaken. There is an old Mickey Mouse cartoon called Mickey's Trailer which exemplifies this nicely. The story opens with Mickey stepping from his house in the country with blue skies and...

Medium and Format

Up to this point, we have explored the encoding process as if storyform and storytelling were the only concerns. This is only true in a theoretical sense. In practice, a story cannot be transmitted from author to audience except across a medium. The medium in which a story is presented both limits the tools available to the author, and provides uniquely useful tools. For example, motion pictures are not known for the capacity to present stories told in taste or touch or smell. Stage...

Melanie and Ashley

There is little to disguise Ashley's effect as TEMPTATION upon Scarlett. Just because he never actively tempts her does not diminish his actual temptation value. And this is a good point to file away for later A character does not have to actively or even consciously employ a characteristic to represent it. Looking for Ashley's physical characteristic, although it is not strongly drawn, we find him to be HINDER. Now since his physical self is designed to be the source of Scarlett's temptation,...

Misdirection as Propaganda

The most subtle and possibly most effective form of propaganda from a single exposure is the use of misdirection as a way to impact an audience's Subconscious. Like smoke and mirrors used by magicians, this form of propaganda requires focusing the audience's Conscious attention in one place while the real impact is made in the Subconscious. Fortunately for propagandistic minded authors, this is one of the easiest forms of propaganda to create. This technique comes from omitting parts of the...

My Kingdom for a Solution

Why is it that we (as characters) throw good money after bad This occurs because we are no longer evaluating what we originally hoped to achieve but are trying to solve the problems that have occurred with the solutions we have employed. In the case of our waitress, she wasn't thinking about her nose when she was calling to the waiter or yelling to the bus boy. She was thinking about the problem of getting their attention. Because she lost sight of her original objective, she could no longer...

Non Archetypal Roles in Jaws

There is no reason why a character must be a person. A boat can be a player as well as a person, as long as it can demonstrate its function to the audience. Again, in Dramatica, the point of a story is to illustrate all aspects of the Story Mind dealing with a problem. As long as each aspect is accounted for, the specific carrier of that Element is structurally irrelevant and may only have storytelling ramifications. So far we have not determined the Skeptic in Jaws. Who refuses to believe...

Objective and Subjective Characters

The reason there are two kinds of characters goes back to the concept of the Story Mind. We have two principal views of that mind the Objective view from the outside looking in, and the Subjective view from the inside looking out. In terms of the Story Mind, the Objective view is like looking at another person, watching his thought processes at work. For an audience experiencing a story, the Objective view is like watching a football game from the stands. All the characters are most easily...

Objective Story Domain

All four of the Classes of problem (Universe - a situation, Mind - a fixed attitude, Physics - an activity, and Psychology - a manner of thinking) will show up in a complete story. As it turns out, one will represent the way the Objective Story view sees the problem, one the Main Character's view of it, one the Obstacle Character's view, and the remaining Class will tell us how the problem looks from the Subjective Story view. The first key, then, to creating thematic perspectives in a story is...

Obstacle Character Domain Type Order Encoding Example

In this fictitious story example, the Obstacle Character Domain has been chosen as Mind. The Type order selected for the Obstacle Character is as follows Preconscious, Conscious, Memory, and lastly Subconscious. SIGNPOST 1 Type 1. Preconscious The Obstacle Character is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He sees justice and honor as being flexible, dependent upon the situation. His very attitude causes unthinking responses (Preconscious) in the Main Character, who reacts to every instance of the...

Obstacle Character Range

The Obstacle Character Range provides a way of evaluating the appropriateness of the Obstacle Character's impact. The Obstacle Character Range and Counterpoint act as a balance or scale against which the results of the Obstacle Character's point of view are weighed. This is where an author can truly tip the balance as to which point of view the audience comes to favor. Later we shall explore how that balance might be tipped back and forth over the course of the story, making a more realistic...

Out of Body Experiences

When we take an external view of a story, however, we no longer identify with the Story Mind directly but view it more like we would in an out of body experience. It is if we had stepped out of our own heads, then turned around to see what we were thinking. It is from this view that the author makes his rational argument, telling the audience, If it feels like this from the inside, you'll want to be doing that. Even this simple message carries value for an audience since the audience members...

Picking the proper Classes for the Domains in your Story

Which is the right Class for the Main Character Domain in your story For the Objective Story Domain For the Subjective Story Domain For the Obstacle Character Domain Assigning the appropriate Dramatica Classes to the Domains of your story is a tricky but important process. There are four Domains or throughlines in a story the Main Character, the Obstacle Character, the Subjective Story, and the Objective Story. These throughlines provide an audience with various points of view from which to...

Players and Characters

In our earlier discussion of what sets the Subjective Characters apart from the Objective Characters, we described how authors frequently assign the roles of both Protagonist AND Main Character to the same player in the story. The concept of player is found throughout Dramatica and differs from what we mean by character. Dramatica defines a character as a set of dramatic functions that must be portrayed in order to make the complete argument of a story. Several functions may be grouped together...

Plot Progression

There are Objective Story Throughline appreciations, Main Character appreciations, Obstacle Character appreciations and Subjective Story Throughline appreciations. There are even appreciations that are the synthesis of all four points of view such as Goal, Requirements, and Consequences. These central appreciations seem the most plot-like because they affect the Concerns of all four throughlines. As varied as all of these appreciations are, there is one quality they share they stay the same...

Plot vs Storyweaving

A common mistake made when considering plot is to assume that plot refers to the sequence of events in a finished story. A more accurate view considers that there is a difference between the progression of events in a story's structure, and the order in which these are revealed to an audience. As an example of the difference between the two, we can look to the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. The book opens with five travelers falling to their deaths as the bridge they are...

Poor Misguided Souls

From this perspective, no character is bad, merely misguided. However, that is not the only perspective. If we step into the story and see a misguided character doing hurtful things to others and even to ourselves, from OUR life experience we determine that character must be stopped. Perhaps we argue with them, try to educate them, fight with or kill them or just write them off, severing our emotional ties and letting them spiral down into self destruction because it is the only way to avoid...

Progressive Plot Appreciations

The structure of a Grand Argument Story can be thought of a house the characters need to explore. The Objective Characters will be looking for clues to a treasure. The Main Character is thinking of buying the house and the Obstacle Character is trying to sell it to him. The plot is like a sight-seeing tour through this story house. The house itself has three floors each of which is separated into two wings. Each wing has four rooms. This is like a story with three acts, each of which is...

Psychology Variations

Perhaps the easiest way to get a feel for one's theme is to take each quad by itself, and experience the four Variations all at once to get a sense of the relationships between them. In the Morality Self-Interest quad, for example, the other two Variations are Approach and Attitude. It is the nature of these Variations that the good or bad nature of one pair will be measured by the other pair. In this case, if either Morality or Self-Interest was selected as the focus, the contrast between them...

Rear Window Characters in the Motivation

Assigning the Character names of Rear Window to the Motivation Characteristic Quads we get Using the grid above we can predict the principal conflicts of Rear Window simply by noting which characters are in Dynamic (diagonal) positions and the issues (Elements) over which each pair will diverge. In summary, the set of sixteen Motivation Elements offers a valuable tool for understanding some of the essential building blocks of Objective Characters and how they can be distributed to create both...

Reason and Emotion Described

The Reason Archetypal Character is calm, collected, and cool, perhaps even cold. It makes decisions and takes action wholly on the basis of logic. (Remember, we say wholly because we are describing an Archetypal Character. As we shall see later, Complex Characters are much more diverse and dimensional.) The Reason character is the organized, logical type. The Emotion character who is frenetic, disorganized, and driven by feelings. It is important to note that as in real life, Reason is not...

Resolution and Sequence

Earlier we spoke of plot in terms of Types. We also speak of plot here in terms of four resolutions Acts, Sequences, Scenes, and Events. Both of these perspectives are valid appreciations depending on the purpose at hand. Because all units in Dramatica are related holographically, no single point of view can completely describe the model. That is why we select the most appropriate view to the purpose at hand. Even though looking at plot in terms of Types is useful, it is true that plot-like...

Resolve Change or Steadfast

The first Essential Character Dynamic determines if the Main Character will be a changed person at the end of a story. From an author's perspective, selecting Change or Steadfast sets up the kind of argument that will be made about the effort to solve the story's problem. There are two principal approaches through which an author can illustrate the best way to solve the Problem explored in a story One is to show the proper way of going about solving the Problem, the other is to show the wrong...

Selecting the Domains in your story

One of the easiest ways to identify the four Domains in your story (Objective Story, Subjective Story, Main Character, and Obstacle Character) is by looking at the characters that appear in each Domain. Who are they What are they doing What are their relationships to one another Clearly identifying the characters in each throughline will make selecting the thematic Domains, Concerns, Ranges, and Problems for the throughlines much easier. For the Objective Story Throughline When looking at the...

Selecting Thematic Appreciations Selecting a Range

A Range is the thematic focus of a throughline. The focus, when explored with its counterpoint and then coupled with a conclusion, creates a premise. A throughline's Range is found at the Variation level of the thematic structure. Variations, as part of the balanced structure, do not provide value judgments to thematic foci as to whether they are good, bad or indifferent. These interpretations are deciphered by the audience from the interaction of all the dynamics of a story. For example,...

Shock as Propaganda

One tried-and-true method is to control what an audience knows about the story before experiencing the storytelling process so that you can shock them. Within the context of the story itself (as opposed to marketing or word-of-mouth), an author can prepare the audience by establishing certain givens, then purposefully break the storyform (destroy the givens) to shock or jar the audience. This hits the audience at a Preconscious level by soliciting an instantaneous, knee-jerk reaction. This type...

Signposts and Journeys

When we develop a plot, we are in effect planning a Journey for our characters. In this respect, we might imagine our plot as a road. We have already discussed how that road might be thought of as containing four signposts which define three journeys. Our characters' Point of Departure is marked by the Type at Signpost 1. This Type is the name of the town at which we are beginning our Journey. In our example, the characters are in the good borough of Learning. We have also planned a destination...

Story Costs

Just as positive benefits accrue during the effort to achieve the goal, so do negative costs have to be paid. Every time a character endures some displeasure as a result of trying to achieve the goal, this additional price is a Cost. Costs and Dividends modulate the intensity of the Objective Character's drive toward the Goal. These characters cannot know if they will ultimately succeed or not. As a result, putting in effort is something of a gamble. Just as with a slot machine in a casino,...

Story Goal

A story's Goal is most often found in the Objective Domain for stories written in our culture. Aside from that bias, the story Goal might just as properly be found in any of the four Domains. As we now consider how to select the Goal for our story, we need to know a little bit more about what a Goal really does for an audience, and what kinds of control over our audience we can exercise simply by choosing where we place the Goal. An audience sees a story's Goal as being the central objective of...

Story Reception

We started in Storyforming with the message, encoded it into symbols, transmitted those symbols through storyweaving, and now that multi-plexed signal arrives at the receiver your audience. Problem is, they all might be tuned to a different channel Some members of your audience will be familiar with the original work itself. Some may have experienced it many times. Others will have heard about it from a friend, but never actually saw or read the original. Many have only seen the advertisements,...

Storyencoding

If the storyform is the skeleton, the story encoding is the meat. Let's take a single storyforming appreciation and see how encoding can flavor its meaning. Suppose the goal of the original story is to obtain the stolen diamonds. Without changing the storyform, we might adapt that to obtaining the stolen gold. We could also change it to obtaining a diploma, obtaining someone's love, or obtaining the office of President of the United States. Each and every one of these examples has a goal of...

Storyweaving

Storyweaving is the process of unfolding the symbols of your story for the audience. It is where suspense, tension, mystery, and surprise are created. When adapting genres such as horror, thriller, and murder mystery, it should be noted that the experiential mood is almost storyform and storyencoding dependent. It is the weaving that takes center stage, and is therefore the most crucial aspect to maintain in an adaptation. With murder mysteries particularly, the manner in which the cat is let...

Structure

The author as analyst examines what he has so far. Intuitively he can sense that some sort of structure is developing. The trick now is to get a grip on the big picture. Four aspects of this emerging story become immediately apparent Character, Theme, Plot, and Genre. An author may find that the points of view expressed by certain characters are unopposed in the story, making the author's point of view seem heavy-handed and biased. In other places, logic fails, and the current explanation of...

Subjective Characters and the Objective Story

One of the most common mistakes made by authors of every level of experience is to create a problem for their Main Character that has nothing to do with the story at large. The reasoning behind this is not to separate the two, but usually occurs because an author works out a story and then realizes that he has not made it personal enough. Because the whole work is already completed, it is nearly impossible to tie the Main Character's personal problem into the larger story without a truly major...

Tell Me A Message Mommy

This is the purpose and function of story to show that when something has previously served you well one hundred percent of the time, it may not continue to hold true, or conversely, that it will always hold true. Either message is equally valid and depends wholly upon the author's personal bias on the issue, which arbitrarily determines the slant of the message. Obviously, the outcome is not arbitrary to the author, but it is completely arbitrary to the story. Whether the Main Character is...

The Crucial Element

The point at which the Objective Story and the Main Character hinge is appropriately called the Crucial Element. In fact, the Crucial Element is one of the sixty-four Objective Character Elements we have already explored. When we look at the Objective Character Elements as the soldiers on the field (from our earlier example), there is one special Element from which the audience experiences an internal perspective on the story. This is the Main Character position in the Objective Story, and the...

The Freeform Author

While some authors write specifically to make an argument to an audience, many others write because they want to follow their personal muse. Sometimes writing is a catharsis, or an exploration of self. Sometimes authoring is a sharing of experiences, fragmented images, or just of a point of view. Sometimes authoring is marking a path for an audience to follow, or perhaps just presenting emotional resources the audience can construct into its own vision. Interactive communications question the...

The Main Character One of a Kind

There is only one Main Character in a story. Why is this Because each complete story is a model of the Story Mind which reflects our own minds, and in our minds we can only be one person at a time. At any given moment, we have a position in our own thoughts. Our state of mind in regard to a particular problem reflects the biases of the position on which we stand. If a story is to fully involve an audience, it must reflect this point of view. Dramatica is built on the concept that the structure...

The Main Character Throughline

For a story to be complete, the audience will need another view of the battle as well that of the soldier in the trenches. Instead of looking at the Story Mind from the outside, the Main Character Throughline is a view from the inside. What if that Story Mind were our own That is what the audience experiences when it becomes a soldier on the field audience members identify with the Main Character of the story. Through the Main Character we experience the battle as if we were directly...

The Same Old Story

This is beginning to sound like a lot of many stories we've seen before. Why have we seen this so many times Because it is simple and it works. Of course, we have limited ourselves in this example to the Archetypal Characters, not even taking advantage of the Complex Characters we could also create. When you keep in mind the Dramatica rules for mixing and matching characteristics to create Complex Characters, you have an astronomical number of possible people (or non-people) who might occupy...

The Scope of Dramatica

With all these forms of communication, isn't Dramatica severely limited in addressing only the Grand Argument Story No. The Grand Argument model described by Dramatica functions to present all the ways a mind can look at an issue. As a result, all other forms of communication will be using the same pieces, just in different combinations, sequences, or portions. In our example, we indicated that the less we said, the more the audience could use its imagination. A Grand Argument Story says it...

The Sixty Four Element Question

Each of the character dimensions contains sixteen Elements, as we have already seen with Motivations. Each character dimension is referred to as a Set of Elements. All four Sets come together to create what is called a Chess Set (due to its eight by eight grid) as illustrated below A good way to get a feel for the content of and relationships between character dimensions is through the Archetypal Characters. Beginning with the Motivation Set, when we superimpose the Archetypal Characters onto...

To Kill A Mockingbird

Objective Story Throughline The Objective view of To Kill A Mockingbird sees the town of Maycomb with its horns locked in various attitudes over the rape trial of Tom Robinson. Due-process has taken over, however many people think this case should never see trial. As the trial comes to fruition, the people of the town argue back and forth about how the defense lawyer ought to behave and what role people should take in response to this alleged atrocity. Main Character Throughline The Main...

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When authors describe their characters, they are often asked to state a characters' motivations. A common reply might be, The character Jane wants to be president. Often that is accepted as a valid motivation. In fact, becoming president is Jane's Purpose, not her motivation. Her motivation may be that she felt no control over her life as a child. Or she might be motivated by a love of the natural world, hoping to instigate a national conservation plan. She might be motivated by a desire for an...

Using the Quads to Gain Meaning

In Dramatica, a group of four Quads is called a Set. Note how the set above provides additional meaning. For example, when dealing with a problem of Action in terms of Drivers, one would have the choice to Pursue, Prevent, Help, or Hinder. When a Character represents the Drive to Pursue, it applies itself to achieving the goal. Although it may also want the goal to be achieved, a Help Character focuses its efforts on being useful to the Pursuit of the goal rather than instigating its own...

Were Both Alike You and I

The Main and Obstacle Characters are counterparts. They represent the two principal sides to the argument of the story. Because they are dealing with the same issues a case can be made that they are not too far apart. This often results in such familiar lines as We're both alike, We're just two sides of the same coin, I'm your shadow self, and so on. In contrast, though they are concerned with the same things, they are coming at them from completely opposing views. This leads to common line...

What are the Guardian and Contagonist

Finally we come to the remaining pair of Archetypal Characters. The first of these archetypes is a common yet often loosely defined set of functions the second archetype is unique to Dramatica. The first of these characters is the Guardian. The Guardian functions as a teacher helper who represents the Conscience of the Story Mind. This is a protective character who eliminates obstacles and illuminates the path ahead. In this way, the Guardian helps the Protagonist stay on the proper path to...

What Are You Talking About

Without theme, a story is just a series of events that proceeds logistically and ends up one way or another. Theme is what gives it all meaning. When encoded, theme will not be a universal meaning for all things, but a smaller truth pertaining to the proper way of dealing with a particular situation. In a sense, the encoding of theme moves the emotional argument of the story from the general to the specific. It the argument is made strongly enough, it may influence attitudes in areas far beyond...

What Is A Sequence

Sequences deal with a quad of Variations much as Acts deal with a quad of Types. The quad we will be interested in is the one containing the Range, as that is the item at the heart of a throughline's Theme. Returning to our example story about an Objective Story Throughline in the Physics Class with a Concern of Obtaining, we shall say the Range is Morality, as illustrated in the quad below. If Morality is the Range, then Self-Interest is the counter-point. Theme is primarily derived from the...

What is an Antagonist

The Archetypal Antagonist is diametrically opposed to the Protagonist's successful attainment of the goal. Often this results in a Protagonist who has a purpose and an Antagonist comes along and tries to stop it. Sometimes, however, it is the other way around. The Antagonist may have a goal of its own that causes negative repercussions. The Protagonist then has the goal of stopping the Antagonist. For purposes of establishing a consistent way to analyze how all Archetypal Characters relate to...

Whats In a Pair

Finally, we can use our Chess Set of Elements to learn something more about our character's relationships. In each quad of Elements, we find not only Dynamic (diagonal) Pairs, but horizontal and vertical pairs as well. Horizontal Elements are called Companion Pairs, and vertical Elements are Dependent Pairs. Each kind of pair describes a different kind of relationship between the Elements, and therefore between the characters that represent them. In addition to the three types of pairs, we can...

Why Reason and Emotion Characters

Having briefly described the Protagonist and Antagonist, we can already see how they represent basic functions of the Story Mind. The Protagonist represents the drive to try and solve a problem the Antagonist represents the drive to undermine success. These two characters teeter back and forth over the course of the story as each in turn gains the upper hand. Even in the most Archetypal terms this conflict is an insufficient process to fully describe an argument, for it fails to address many...

Why We Justify

It is important to note that no one justifies because they are stupid or mean. They are simply adopting the best approach they can conceive, based on their life experience. Neither justification nor problem solving are intrinsically good or bad. In fact, they are really the same process, the only difference being how things ultimately turn out. With the value of hindsight we can judge if the decisions made and actions taken were appropriate, but we cannot judge this as the effort is happening...

Witch and Wizard Ways

But what about the Witch and the Wizard What is it that makes them diverge from the Archetypal molds Could it be a similar swapping of Elements As it turns out, it is a similar swapping, but not exactly the same. To be the Archetypal Contagonist, the Wizard would have to be temptation and hinder. To be the Antagonist, the Witch would have to be reconsideration and prevent. But rather than swapping an Action Element for another Action Element, the Witch ends up with both Action Elements and the...

Writing for Oneself

In the Great Practical World of the Almighty Dollar Sign, it might seem trite or tangential to discuss writing for oneself (unless one expects to pay oneself handsomely for the effort). In truth, the rewards of writing for oneself DO pay handsomely, and not just in personal satisfaction. By getting in touch with one's own feelings, by discovering and mapping out one's biases, an author can grow to appreciate his own impact on the work as being in addition to the structure of the work itself. An...