Quick Lesson in Propaganda

Propaganda, n. 1. any organization or movement working for the propagation of particular ideas, doctrines, practices, etc. 2. the ideas, doctrines, practices, etc. spread in this way. (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary) Propaganda 3. a storyforming storytelling technique used to impact an audience in specific ways, often employed to instigate deliberation and or action. (Dramatica) Propaganda is a wondrous and dangerous story device. Its primary usage in stories is as a method for an...

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...

Acts

Each Class in the Thematic Structure has four Types in the level just below the Class. In the Physics Class, for example, the four Types are Learning, Understanding, Doing, and Obtaining. Because the Physics Class will be assigned as the Domain of one of the four throughlines, one of these Types will be that throughline's Concern. For this example, let us assume that Physics is the Objective Story Domain, and the Concern is Obtaining. Because a Concern is a Static Appreciation, it will be felt...

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...

Cant Serve Two Masters at the Same Time

Sounds good, but what if you want to create a Character who represents one view and then the other. For example, if you had a one-woman show, you would need to combine ALL 16 Motivation characteristics into one person. This is accommodated by the difference between a character and a player. In a one-woman show, even if it is a single story argument, there might be a multitude of characters but only one player. The key to keeping them separate is that the player changes from one character to...

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 Do Not Live By Motivations Alone

Like real people, characters are driven by Motivations, but they also aspire to different Purposes, employ different Methodologies in the effort to achieve those purposes, and use different Means of Evaluation to determine the effectiveness of their efforts. The old adage that one should create three dimensional characters falls short by one dimension. Fully realized characters are four dimensional possessing an Action and Decision Element in each dimension. In the following sections we will...

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,...

Characters Problems and Justification

Stories are about one character who is truly problem solving and a second character who believes they are problem solving but are in error. One will be the Main Character and the other the Obstacle Character. In terms of the Story Mind, these two characters represent our own inability to know in advance if the method we have chosen to apply to a problem will lead to success or failure. When our approach leads to failure Dramatica does not refer to the process as problem solving, but calls that...

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...

Complex Dimensional Patterns

Most stories tend to emphasize one dimension over the others. Character Motivations are often made most prominent. Still, many stories are written that compare the methods used by characters, question their purposes, or carry a message that a Means of Evaluation is actually the cause of the problem. Some characters become famous for characteristics other than Motivations, such as a notable detective who employs a methodology of Deduction. Being aware of all four character dimensions adds a...

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...

Creating a Sidekick

To balance the Skeptic, we're going to need a SIDEKICK. We could bring back her current lover but this time have him knowing how much ridding the world of scum-sucking pigs appeals to Jane so he remains steadfastly behind her. Or we might employ her Supervisor and mentor on the force who knows the depth of Jane's talent, wants to inspire other young idealists to take action against threats to democracy, or prove his theories and vindicate his name in the undercover world We'll use the...

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 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 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 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,...

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...

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 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.

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...

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,...

Interactions and the Rule of Threes

Objective Characters represent dramatic functions which need to interact to reflect all sides of solving the story problem. The first interaction sets the relationship between the two characters. The second interaction brings them into conflict. The third interaction demonstrates which one fare better, establishing one as more appropriate than the other. This is true between Protagonist and Antagonist, Protagonist and Skeptic, Skeptic and Sidekick -- in short, between all essential characters...

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...

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....

Matching Points Of View To The Chart

Perspective is created by the relationship between two things what is being looked at and where it is being seen from. In stories, what is being looked at is the nature of the problem and its ramifications. To define the story's problem we start with its Class, then find out what Type of problem it is within that Class. Next we see what Variation of that Type the problem is and then finally work down to the Elemental nature of the problem, which is reflected...

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...

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,...

Modes of Expression

Next, we want to consider a new concept four modes of expression through which the story's structure can be conveyed to an audience. The four modes of expression are Information p focusing the audience on knowledge. Q Drama p focusing the audience on thought. Comedy p focusing the audience on ability. Entertainment p focusing the audience on desire. The Dramatica Classes describe what the audience will see. The modes describe in what light they will see them. When we match the two categories,...

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...

Objective Throughline Characteristics

Elements are the most refined resolution of the problem in a story. Beneath each Variation are four Elements that make up the parts of that Variation and are also defined by its umbrella. One of the four elements under the Range is the Problem of the story in its most essential form. Another of the four will prove to be the Solution. A third element is the Focus of the story, where the Problem appears to principally manifest itself. The final element represents the Direction that is taken in...

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...

Out of sequence experiences changing temporal relationships

With this technique, the audience is unaware they are being presented things out of order. Such a story is the motion picture, Betrayal, with Ben Kingsley. The story opens and plays through the first act. We come to determine whom we side with and whom we don't who is naughty and who is nice. Then, the second act begins. It doesn't take long for us to realize that this action actually happened before the act we have just seen. Suddenly, all the assumed relationships and motivations of the...

Physics as Objective Story Domain

An Objective Story Domain of Physics means the story's troubles are caused by an activity gone wrong. This might be an activity engaged in by people or existing in nature. Either way, the perpetuation of this activity is what generates all the difficulties faced by the Objective Characters. There is often the tendency to think of an activity in the large scale, making it macroscopic larger than life. But dry rot works as well as a marauding horde in creating problems big enough to drive a...

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 in Episodic Series

Plot is the aspect of episodic series most plagued with formula. This is because of a predictable Dramatic Circuit. A Dramatic Circuit is made up of a Potential, Resistance, Current, and Outcome. Each of these aspects must be present to create the flow of dramatic tension. Conventions have been established that often follow the order indicated above. Each episode begins with the potential for trouble either as the first act in a half-hour series or as the teaser in an hour series. In half-hour...

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...

Red herrings changing importance

Red herrings are designed to make something appear more or less important than it really is. Several good examples of this technique can be found in the motion picture The Fugitive. In one scene a police car flashes its lights and siren at Dr. Kimble, but only to tell him to move along. In another scene, Kimble is in his apartment when an entire battalion of police show up with sirens blazing and guns drawn. It turns out they were really after the son of his landlord and had no interest in him...

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,...

Sewing Together The Themes

In this section we have learned that the traditional premise is too blunt a tool to do more than describe the gist of a finished work. In contrast, Dramatica's concept of a thematic argument is explored through thematic conflict, development of the relative value of different standards, and concluded with an assessment of both the level of satisfaction and fulfillment. Such an approach is much more in line with the organic flow of a story's emotional impact as felt through Theme, and is much...

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...

Step By Step Slowly We Argued

So far we have only identified the difference between problem solving and justification in terms of the results they create. From this point of view, no character can tell for sure if he is on the right or the wrong track until he sees the results. This is fine for the characters, but an author will want to fashion a story so that judgment is passed on each action and decision as it is taken. This is what constitutes the theme of the story and builds the emotional side of the story's argument...

Step into the Fourth Dimension

In Dramatica, we refer to Motivation as a Character Dimension. Often it is said that characters must be three-dimensional to seem like real people. Dramatica sees four dimensions as necessary to flesh out a character. Motivations and Purposes are the first and last dimensions, but that is not enough. Motivation gives a character the force to move, Purpose gives a character a direction in which to move. But how is he actually going to get to where he wants to go For this, he needs a Methodology,...

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...

Storyforming Structural Appreciations

By answering the eight essential questions we greatly refine our understanding of the way our story will feel to our audience. The next task is to clarify what it is we intend to talk about. In the Theme section of The Elements of Structure we were introduced to the various Appreciations an audience will look for in the course of experiencing and evaluating a story. Now we turn our attention to examining the issues we, as authors, must consider in selecting our story's Appreciation's. We begin...

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 Author as Main Character

As an experiment, cast yourself in a story as the Main Character. Cast someone with whom you have a conflict as the Obstacle Character. Next, answer all the Dramatica questions and then go to the Story Points window. Fill in as many of the story points as seem appropriate to you. Print out the results and put them aside. Now, go back and create the same story again -- this time with your opponent as the Main Character and YOU as the Obstacle Character. Once again, fill in the story points and...

The Author Giveth the Audience Taketh Away

An author builds an argument that the Main Character was either justified or not in his actions, then proves the point by concluding the story with an outcome of success or failure and a judgment of good or bad. In this way, the author hopes to convince an audience that actions taken in a particular context are appropriate or inappropriate. The audience members hope to become convinced that when the proper course of action is unclear, they can rely on a more objective truth to guide them. In...

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 Four Throughlines

It is not enough, however, to develop a complete Story Mind. That only creates the argument the audience will be considering. Equally important is how the audience is positioned relative to that argument. Does an author want the audience to examine a problem dispassionately or to experience what it is like to have that problem Is it more important to explore a possible solution or to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of alternative solutions In fact, all of these points of view must be developed...

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...

The Story Mind

One of the unique concepts that sets Dramatica apart from all other theories is the assertion that every complete story is a model of the mind's problem solving process. This Story Mind does not work like a computer, performing one operation after another until the solution is obtained. Rather, it works more holistically, like our own minds, bringing many conflicting considerations to bear on the issue. It is the author's argument as to the relative value of these considerations in solving a...

The Thematic Argument

What moves Theme forward is the Thematic Argument. Why an argument Because unless the audience shares the author's bias on the story's issues, it will not accept a blanket statement that the author's proposed way of dealing with a particular problem is the best. The audience really does want to be convinced - it wants to learn something useful in real life while being entertained at the same time. But, unless an author can successfully make an emotional argument supporting his bias through his...

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...

TVBK jMPUTOglMIWmiSSW SfciXl Whats the Purpose

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...

Type of Impact Specific vs General

Do you want the impact on your audience to be of a specific nature, or of a broader, more general nature The more specific you make the propaganda, the more specific and predictable its impact will be on an audience. The upside (from an author's point of view) is that specific behavior (mental or physical) can be promoted or modified. The downside is that specific propaganda is more easily identifiable and therefore contestable by the audience. Specific propaganda is achieved by intentionally...

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...

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...

Writing for Someone Else

What if you are writing not for yourself but to reach someone else It might be that you hope to reach a single individual which can be done in a letter to a friend, parent, or child. You might be composing an anecdote or speech for a small or large group, or you could be creating an industrial film, designing a text book, or fashioning a timeless work for all humanity. In each case, the scope of your audience becomes more varied as its size increases. The opportunity to tailor your efforts to...

Whats in a Scene

At the scene resolution, the effects of Types and Variations can be felt like the tidal pull of some distant moon. But scenes are not the resolution at which to control those forces. Scenes are containers that hold Elements -anything larger cannot get crammed in without breaking. So the richness we feel in scenes is not solely due to what the scene itself contains, but also to the overall impact of what is happening at several larger scales. What then does a scene contain Scenes describe the...

Premise and the Thematic Argument

One of the most familiar attempts to describe the nature of the thematic argument relies on a concept called the premise. A premise usually takes this form Some activity or character trait leads to a particular result or conclusion. An example of this would be Greed leads to Self-Destruction. a premise can be very useful in describing what a thematic argument is about in a nutshell, but provides very little information about how that argument will proceed. In regard to the example above, there...

Grand Argument Stories

The question arises Is telling a story better than telling a non-story No. Stories are not better than any other form of communication -- just different. To see this difference we need to define story so we can tell what a story is and what it is not. Herein lies a political problem. No matter how one defines story, there will be an author someplace who finds his favorite work has been defined out, and feels it is somehow diminished by not being classified as a story. Rather than risk the ire...

Grid of Dramatica Genres

Where What it is p Information Universe p an examination of events and situations with an emphasis on the past, present, progress, and future state of things e.g. Documentary, Historical and Period Pieces . How it works p Information Physics p an examination of how specific processes work with an emphasis on instruction e.g. Educational, Informational, Instructional . What it means p Information Mind p an examination of opinions and points of view with an emphasis on the context in which they...

Summary On Selecting Static Plot Appreciations

We have examined some of the considerations that go into selecting Static Plot Appreciations. Independent of any other dramatics, any Type might be selected for any of these appreciations. When additional structural appreciations are already chosen, however, one must consider their impact as well in making a selection. In Western culture, the Goal is most often found in the Objective Story Domain, however, it might be equally appropriate in any of the four Domains. In conjunction with the eight...

Archetypes Have Their Place

Archetypal Characters have their place, mind you. If an author's focus is on Plot or Theme, he may want to create easily identifiable Archetypes as a shorthand to save space and time. As soon as the edges of an Archetypal Character are sketched out, audiences who have seen these Archetypes time and again will fill in the rest, pending information to the contrary. In this way, an author can free up time or pages for aspects of the story which may be much more interesting to him. As a result,...

Archetypal Characters

Many episodic series rely on Archetypal Characters who can be counted on to respond in the same way from episode to episode. This caters to the strengths of television series with a loyal audience the ability to create friends and family on which one can rely. The first few episodes of a series usually bring in the Villain of the Week essentially a new Archetypal Antagonist each time while the Archetypal roles are becoming established for the regular cast and the mythic lore is being outlined....

Dramatica and Communication Theory

Exploring all avenues of communication is far beyond the scope of this initial implementation of the Dramatica Theory. To be sure, Dramatica as a model of the mind has much to offer in many diverse areas. However, for the practical purposes of this software product, we cannot cover that much ground. Rather, we will briefly touch on major perspectives in the author audience relationship that can also serve as templates for translation of the Grand Argument Story perspective into valuable tools...

History of Success

The Main Character came into the story with a tried and true method for dealing with the kind of problem featured in the story. That method has always worked for the Main Character before it has a long history. Suddenly, a situation arises where that standard approach doesn't work, perhaps for the first time ever. This marks the beginning of the story's argument. As the story develops, the Main Character tries everything to find a way to make it work anyway, holding out in the hope that the...

Principal Characters in Rear Window

If there is anything that can be seen as typical about a Hitchcock film it would be his forefront use of thematics. Rear Window is no exception. As with Gone With the Wind, the enjoyment of the story comes largely from what happens between the lines. But unlike GW7W, the characters in Rear Window are relatively complex. At first glance, it may seem that there are quite a few characters, what with the neighbors and all. There's the Composer, trying to sell his first hit song. There's Miss Lonely...

Functions of Dynamic Pairs

We can easily see how these Archetypal pairs represent a broad analogy to a human mind dealing with a problem. The Protagonist represents the desire to work at resolving the problem. Its Dynamic Pair, the Antagonist represents the desire to let the problem grow. As with the Archetypal Characters, we all face an internal battle between making decisions based upon Reason or upon Emotion. Like the functions of the Sidekick and Skeptic, the Story Mind will contain a struggle between Faith and...