Character Cannot Serve Two Masters

An author can create characters for any purpose, to be played like cards at particular points in the hand. The only rules of character construction caution against any character containing more than one Element of a dynamic pair. In addition, it is best to avoid assigning a character more than one Element from the same quad as the character would then represent conflicting points of view on the same issue. At first, this might seem desirable as it would create internal conflict. But in the case...

Leap or a Creep

As a final thought in this brief introduction to Subjective Characters, the leap of faith story is not the only kind that occurs. Equally reflective of our own mind's processes is the slow change story where the Main Character gradually shifts his perspective until, by the end of the story, he is seen to have already adopted the alternative paradigm with little or no fanfare. Usually, in such stories, a particular dramatic scenario occurs near the beginning of the story and is then repeated (in...

Place to Start

Mastering the craft of writing requires a skill in communication and a flair for style. Through communication, an audience receives meaning. Through style, an author achieves impact. The Dramatica theory of story explores both aspects of the writing process providing structural guidelines for clarifying communication and artistic techniques for enhancing style. Accordingly, this book is divided into two principal sections The Elements of Structure and The Art of Storytelling. Separating these...

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...

Simple Example of Problem Solving

Imagine a waitress coming through the one-way door from the kitchen into the restaurant. Her nose begins to itch. She cannot scratch her nose because her hands are full of plates. She looks for a place to lay down the plates, but all the counter space is cluttered. She tries to call to a waiter, but he cannot hear her across the noisy room. She hollers to a bus boy who gets the waiter who takes her plates so she can scratch her nose. Problem solved Or was it justification What if she could have...

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 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...

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,...

Additional Type Level Appreciations

At the Type level, each of the four throughlines has one additional appreciation. It is called a Stipulation, because it stipulates how the growth of each throughline will make itself known. The Stipulation provides a category in which the progress of each throughline can be charted. For example, an Objective Story Stipulation of Obtaining might be seen in the characters gathering cash receipts in their efforts to afford tuition. In the Main Character Throughline, a Stipulation of Obtaining...

Additional Variation Level Appreciations

At the Variation level each of the four throughlines has two additional appreciations. They function roughly the same way in each throughline, but are most similar in between the Main and Obstacle Character Throughlines and between Objective Story and Subjective Story Throughlines. Both Main and Obstacle have a Unique Ability and a Critical Flaw. In the Main Character, the Unique Ability represents some trait or quality that has the potential to allow that character to resolve his Problem. The...

All right Buddy Wheres the conflict

As an example of the concept of Evaluation, imagine two business partners who share motivations, methodologies and purposes. They might agree on what drives them (a motivation to be independent), what they want to achieve (a purpose of creating a thriving business), and how to achieve that (word-of-mouth advertising as a methodology). Still, they might argue if sales are up but satisfaction is low because one evaluates based on gross sales and the other evaluates based on customer satisfaction....

An Alternative Point of View

There is also one other very special character who represents the argument for an alternative point of view. The character who spends the entire story making the case for change is called the Obstacle Character, for he acts as an obstacle to the direction the Main Character would go if left to his own devices. As with each of us, the last thing we tend to question when examining a problem is ourselves. We look for all kinds of solutions both external and internal before we finally (if ever) get...

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...

Antagonist and the Obstacle Character

Just as the Protagonist is often doubled up with the function of the Main Character, the Antagonist is sometimes (though less frequently) combined with the Obstacle Character. The Obstacle Character is fully explored in the Subjective Characters section of this book. For now, a simple description of the Obstacle Character will serve our purposes. Just as the Antagonist opposes the Protagonist in the Objective Story, the Obstacle Character stands in the way of the Main Character in the...

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...

Area of Impact

What part of your audience's world-view do you wish to impact i View of the world around them - objective reality (Objective Story) fiew of relationships (Subjective Story) Choose one of the perspectives. This will be the domain in which to place the hole in the storyform. The area of impact determines which part of your audience's world-view the propaganda will infect.

Associations in Space and Time

When we see something occur enough times without exception, our mind accepts it as an absolute. After all, we have never seen it fail This is like saying that every time you put a piece of paper on hot metal it will burn. Fine, but not in a vacuum You need oxygen as well to create the reaction you anticipate. In fact, every time we believe THIS leads to THAT or whenever we see THIS, THAT will also be present, we are making assumptions with a flagrant disregard for context. And that is where...

Author as Audience

With the author at one end of the communication chain and the audience at the other, it is not unusual for an author to cast himself in the role of audience to see how the story is working. In other words, many authors approach their story not so much as the creator of the work, but as its greatest fan. They look at the blended result of Storyforming, Storyencoding, Storyweaving and Reception and judge the combined impact even as they write it. This can be extremely valuable in making sure that...

Authors Intent

Simply having a feeling or a point of view does not an author make. One becomes an author the moment one establishes an intent to communicate. Usually some intriguing setting, dialog, or bit of action will spring to mind and along with it the desire to share it. Almost immediately, most authors leap ahead in their thinking to consider how the concept might best be presented to the audience. In other words, even before a complete story has come to mind most authors are already trying to figure...

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...

Building a Mind for the Audience to Possess

When an audience looks at the Objective Characters, they see the Story Mind from the outside in. When an audience empathizes with the Main Character, they see the story from the inside out. In order for the audience to be able to step into the shoes of the Main Character and look through his eyes, he must possess a complete mind for the audience to possess. And that perhaps is the best way to look at it the audience takes possession of the Main Character's mind. That's why you hear people in a...

Building Paradigms

The second reason characters hold onto outmoded views is that they have built other views upon the outmoded ones. In fact, this is how we learn. We see something as an unerring truth, stop considering it every time we see it and accept it as a given. Then, we assemble our givens, look for patterns and accept the relationships between givens as being givens in their own right. Layer upon layer we weave an intricate web of interconnections, some based on the order in which things are expected to...

Building size changing scope

This technique holds audience interest by revealing the true size of something over the course of the story until it can be seen to be either larger or smaller than it originally appeared. This makes things appear to grow or diminish as the story unfolds. Conspiracy stories are usually good examples of increasing scope, as only the tip of the iceberg first comes to light and the full extent is ultimately much bigger. The motion picture The Parallax View illustrates this nicely. Stories about...

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...

Character Dynamics

Both structure and dynamics can be seen at work in characters. Structural relationships are seen most easily in the Objective Characters who serve to illustrate fixed dramatic relationships that define the potentials at work in a story from an objective point of view. Dynamic relationships are seen more easily in the Subjective Characters who serve to illustrate growth in themselves and their relationships over the course of a story. The Subjective Characters are best described by the forces...

Characters as the Authors Contentions

All the ways of considering each problem are represented by a story's characters. Because they represent parts of the argument, Objective Characters must be called in the proper order and combination to support each of the author's contentions. This all sounds very complex and manipulative. It is. But as authors, when we are on a roll we don't stop to consider each aspect of what we are doing. Rather, it all synthesizes together into the smooth flow of creativity that we feel through our...

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 in Episodic Series Keeping Characters Alive

Unlike single stories that are told from scratch, television stories have carryover. That which is established becomes embedded in the mythic lore of the series, creating an inertia that strangles many fine concepts before their time. This inertia can be a very good thing if it forms a foundation that acts as a stage for the characters rather than burying the characters under the foundation. To keep a limber concept from succumbing to arthritis in this concrete jungle, creating characters who...

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...

Communicating Concepts Through Symbols

How can essential concepts be communicated Certainly not in their pure, intuitive form directly from mind to mind. (Not yet, anyway ) To communicate a concept, an author must symbolize it, either in words, actions, juxtapositions, interactions -- in some form or another. As soon as the concept is symbolized, however, it becomes culturally specific and therefore inaccessible to much of the rest of Even within a specific culture, the different experiences of each member of an audience will lead...

Communication

The process of communication requires at least two parties the originator and the recipient. In addition, for communication to take place, the originator must be aware of the information or feelings he wishes to transmit, and the recipient must be able to determine that meaning. Similarly, storytelling requires an author and an audience. And, to tell a story, one must have a story to tell. Only when an author is aware of the message he wishes to impart can he determine how to couch that message...

Complex Arrangements of Character Elements

So far we have only explored sixteen different character Elements. One way to create complex characters is by assigning these sixteen Elements to characters in non-archetypal patterns. However, as great as the number of potential characters that can be created is, this limited set of sixteen Elements is still not sufficient to describe all the rich complexities of the Objective Characters we see in sophisticated stories. This is because these sixteen Elements only represent character...

Complex Characters

It is not the content that makes characters complex, but the arrangement of that content. We all know people who have one-track minds or are so aligned as to be completely predictable (and often, therefore, boring ) People who are more diverse contain conflicting or dissimilar traits and are much more interesting to be around. So it is with characters. Imagine building characters to be like playing Scrabble. There are a given number of letter tiles, no more, no less. The object is to create...

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...

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...

Context is a Sneaky Thing

Of course, one is more sensitive to the most recent patterns, so an equal number of false items (or alternative truths) is not really required when one is aware he has entered a new situation. However, situations often change slowly and even in ways we are not aware. So context is in a constant state of flux. If something has always proven true in all contexts up to this point then one is not conscious of entering a whole new context. Rather, as we move in and out of contexts, a truism that was...

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 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 a Skeptic

Two simple Characters down, six to go. Dramatica now tells us we need a SKEPTIC. Who might oppose the effort and disbelieve in the ultimate success of good Jane A rival special agent who doesn't want to be left in the dust by her glowing success Her current love interest on the force who feels Jane is in over her head Her father, the Senator, who wants his daughter to follow him into politics Good enough for us. So we have Jane who wants to stop the terrorists, pitted against her former lover...

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...

Dancing Toward Neutral Ground

The story unfolds as the Main and Obstacle Characters argue over direct vs. indirect, repetition vs. framework, strategy vs. analysis, and problem solving vs. justification. As the story progresses, it is the Obstacle Character's function to force the Main Character through all four of these conflicts, each representing a different level of justification (problem solving) until they both stand at the neutral point where one means of problem solving evaluation is as good as the next. This is the...

Deep Theory

The following section delves deeply into the inner workings of a Main Character and how that character grows over the course of a story. The material covered will address the following questions How does a Main Character come to have a particular problem How does that problem come to relate to the Objective Story as well If the Main Character has a problem, why doesn't he just solve it How can an Obstacle Character bring a Main Character to the point of change This discussion can get pretty...

Defining the Problem

We cannot move to resolve a problem until we recognize the problem. Even if we feel the inequity, until we can pinpoint it or understand what creates it, we can neither arrive at an appropriate response or act to nip it at its source. If we had to evaluate each inequity that we encounter with an absolutely open mind, we could not learn from experience. Even if we had seen the same thing one hundred times before, we would not look to our memories to see what had turned out to be the source or...

Describing The Storys Problem

When we seek to classify something, we try to narrow its definition, such as when we ask if something is animal, vegetable, or mineral. When classifying problems that might be of concern to the Story Mind, the first thing we might want to know is if the problem is an external issue (such as an intolerable situation) or an internal one (such as a bad attitude). External problems occur in the Universe (or environment), Internal problems occur in the Mind. Further, some problems don't have to do...

Dismissals

The Rule of Threes should be applied until all of the primary characters are played against each other to see what sparks are flying. Once we get the picture, it is time to dismiss the company. Dismissals can be as simple as a death or as complex as an open-ended indication of the future for a particular character. When all else fails, just before the ending crawl a series of cards can be shown Janey Schmird went on to become a New Age messiah while holding a day job as a screenplay writer. The...

Dividends

Dividends are benefits accrued on the way to the Goal. Goal, Requirements, Consequences, and Forewarnings are all Driver Appreciations in Plot. Dividends are the first of the Passenger Appreciations. As such, we see it used in storytelling more as a modifier than a subject unto itself. Still, since authors may choose to emphasize whatever they wish, Dividends may be lifted up to the forefront in a particular story and take on a significance far beyond their structural weight. No matter what...

Documenting Oneself

Another purpose in writing for oneself is simply to document what it was like to be in a particular state of mind. In a sense, we jot down the settings of our minds so that we can tune ourselves back into that state as needed at a later date. The images we use may have meaning for no one but ourselves, and therefore speak to us uniquely of all people. The ability to capture a mood is extremely useful when later trying to communicate that mood to others. To bring emotional realism to another...

Domains and Beyond

As we have seen, each of these sixteen perspectives has a slightly different flavor as a result of the particular point of view linked with a specific Class. This alone is a more quantitative way to look at Theme than has previously been available, yet we still have three more levels of the thematic structure to explore Each level will have its own kind of perspectives. For convenience, we call the thematic perspectives created at any level appreciations, which simply means that is how we...

Dramatica as a Tool

None of the creative techniques an author might use are better or worse than others. They are simply different approaches to the creative process. The key is to find the ones that work for you. Sometimes what works is not to create a full argument, but to break the rules, shatter expectations, and play with the minds of your audience members. Even here Dramatica can help. Because it defines a complete argument, Dramatica can assist in predicting the effect that breaking an argument will have on...

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...

Emphasis Where Emphasis is

Encoding simply creates scenarios and events that illustrate the Storyform's dramatic appreciations. In the Encoding stage, no illustration is more important than another. The emphasis is provided by the nature of the illustration. For example, a Goal of Obtaining might be encoded as the attempt to win a fifty dollar prize or the effort to win the presidency of a country. Further emphasis is set in the third phase of communication, Storyweaving, when the illustrated appreciations are actually...

Encoding Genre

As previously discussed, Genre is only slightly influenced by a storyform. This is because only four appreciations have a structural influence on Genre the four Domains. Once each Domain has been encoded, all the rest of the nebulous realm called Genre consists of storytelling preferences. We have already explored the meaning of each Domain appreciation in the Genre portion of The Elements of Structure. In the next section on Storyweaving, we will touch on many writing techniques that help to...

Encoding Mental

Both Males and Females use the same techniques, but in different contexts. As a result, what is problem solving for one may actually be justification for the other. In fact, for the four perspectives in any given story, in one Domain both male and female mental sex characters will see a given approach as problem solving, while in another Domain both will see it as justification. The third Domain would be problem solving for one mental sex and justification for the other and the fourth just the...

Encoding Objective Characters

Although encoding places the argument of a story in the context of real life, the storyform itself is not real life at all. It is an analogy to the mind's problem-solving process. We all know what it is like to face problems in our own lives. However, we have no way of knowing what our manner of dealing with problems looks like from the outside from a more objective viewpoint. Storyforms deal with only one problem, which is seen from two principal directions the inside and the outside. When we...

Encoding Plot

Encoding Static Plot Appreciations is very simple. One need only figure out what it is. How and when it is going to actually show up in the story is a completely different issue and is part of Storyweaving. The way to approach the encoding of Static Plot Appreciations is more or less the same for all of them. As an example, let us consider something fairly conventional a Goal of Obtaining. Obtaining what That is what encoding determines. The Goal might be to Obtain the stolen diamonds, a...

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...

Evil Twins

Many authors picture the Obstacle Character as a negative or evil twin. Although this can be true, it has little to do with the Obstacle Character's dramatic function. For example, if a Main Character is evil and needs to change, their Obstacle might be a virtuous steadfast character. Or both characters might be evil, with the resolve of one contrasting the change in the other. In any case, the function of the Main and Obstacle Characters is to show two opposing sides of the same issue. That is...

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...

Flashbacks and flashforwards sneak previews and postviews

There is a big difference between flashbacks where a character reminisces and flashbacks that simply transport an audience to an earlier time. If the characters are aware of the time shift, it affects their thinking, and is therefore part of the story's structure. If they are not, the flashback is simply a Storyweaving technique engineered to enhance the audience experience. In the motion picture and book of Interview With The Vampire, the story is a structural flashback, as we are really...

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.

Frank Kennedy Suellen OHara Gerald OHara and Prissy

Scarlett's screaming sister Suellen plays nicely as FEELING and UNCONTROLLED, making her the Emotion Character. Her choice of husband, Frank Kennedy (who is snatched by Scarlett) is again, an opposite. Kennedy, by virtue of his steadfast business development and religion of practicality defines LOGIC. And also by virtue of his steadfast business development and resistance to diverging from his plans demonstrates that he represents CONTROL (restraint). Kennedy fits nicely as the Reason...

Genre

Previously, we have seen that the characteristics which build the Objective Characters reside at the Element level of the Thematic Structure. Theme itself emanates most strongly from the Variation level. Plot is generated in the Types. It should not be a surprise, therefore, to find that Genre is most influenced at the Class level. In fact, matching a point of view to a Class creates a story's Domains, and it is these Domains that have the greatest structural impact on Genre. As one moves up...

Genre in Episodic Series

Series can be comedies, action stories, love stories -- whatever. The key point to consider is that Dramatica Domains work in any Genre. To keep a high concept from bottoming out, rotate through the Domains, using a different one each week. There are only four Domains a Situation, an Activity, a Manner of Thinking and a State of Mind. A Situation Comedy (Situation) is quite different from a Comedy of Errors (a Manner of Thinking). Whatever Genre the series is cast in, bouncing the episodes...

Genre Plot Theme and Character

In each of the four stages of story communication, authors have recognized four aspects of storytelling at work Genre, Plot, Theme and Character. In other words, first there must be a Storyforming stage in which Genre, Plot, Theme, and Character are designed as dramatic concepts. Next is the Encoding stage where Genre, Plot, Theme, and Character are symbolized into the language of the culture. Stage three, Storyweaving, sees the author blending the symbolic representations into a seamless flow...

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...

Goes Into Like Theme Goes Into Scenes

We have spoken of the three and four act appreciations of story. It was illustrated how both divisions are valid to specific tasks. When dealing with scenes, we find that no scenes ever hang between two acts, half in one and half in the other, regardless of a three or four act appreciation. This is because there are exactly 24 scenes created at the Element level six per act in a four act appreciation, eight per act in a three act appreciation. In both cases, the scenes divide evenly into the...

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 Dramatica Fits In

The study of Reception theory is well documented in many books, articles, and essays. The process of storytelling is brilliantly covered by many inspired teachers of the art, including Aristotle himself. Dramatica provides a view of story never before seen so clearly an actual model of the structure and dynamics that lie at the heart of communication - the Story Mind itself. By using the structure of story as a foundation, the process of communication becomes much more accurate, giving the...

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,...

In Summary

These eight Plot Appreciations are the touch points between plot and Theme. Without them, the plot would simply be a series of events that held no particular meaning. With them, the plot supports the thematic argument, and through it touches the other Thematic Appreciations including those such as the Main Character Problem, which lie at the heart of what drives a story's characters. In this manner, Theme stands as a bridge connecting character to plot so that what characters do thematically...

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...

Introduction To Storyweaving

Of the Four Stages of Communication, Storyweaving is most like what authors usually think of as the writing process. It is here that we gather everything we know about our story and decide how to present it to our audience. Some authors are planners and like to work out everything before they write a word. For them, the Storyweaving process is simply determining the most interesting way to relate a story that, for them, is already complete in their minds. Another breed of author consider...

Introductions

Each of the characters must be introduced before the three interactions occur, and they must be dismissed after the three interactions are complete. These two functions set-up the story and then disband it, much like one might put up a grandstand for a parade and then tear it down after the event is over. This often makes it feel like there are five acts in a story when three are truly dynamic acts and two have been borrowed from the structure. The introduction of characters is so well known...

Its Elemental

Finally, we have arrived at the most basic and precise level of understanding in regard to a story's problem the Element level. It is here that the source of difficulties experienced in each throughline can be found. The Objective Story Problem is something that will affect all of the characters and all that they do. In contrast, the Main Character's Problem will be the source of his drive. Ultimately, it may turn out to be (or reflect) the Objective Story Problem, or have the potential to...