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...

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...

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 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 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...

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 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...

Drivers and Passengers in The Wizard of Oz Driver Characters

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

Elements of Star Wars Characters

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

Elements of the Top Five

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

Encoding 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 Subjective Characters

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

Encoding the Objective Story Theme

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

Encoding Theme for the Other Throughlines

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

Events and Domains

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

Example

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

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...

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...

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...

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 This Book Is Arranged

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

How to Do Handoffs

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

Introduction To Storyencoding

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

Introduction to Storytelling

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

Judgment Good or

Judgment determines whether or not the Main Character resolves his personal angst. The rational argument of a story deals with practicality does the kind of approach taken lead to Success or Failure in the endeavor. In contrast, the passionate argument of a story deals with fulfillment does the Main Character find peace at the end of his journey If you want an upper story, you will want Success in the Objective Story and a Judgment of Good in the Objective Story. If you want a tragedy, you will...

Main Character Range

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

Meaning Reversals shifting context to change meaning

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

Medium and Format

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

Melanie and Ashley

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

My Me is Not Your Me

When writing for others, if we assume they share our point of view, it is likely that we will miss making half of our own point. Far better are our chances of successful communication if we not only see things from our side but theirs as well. Overlaying the two views can define areas of potential misunderstanding before damage is done. Still, Call me when you get home is usually a relatively low-risk communication and we suggest you just write the note without too much soul-searching.

Nature of Impact

How you want to impact your audience Do you wish to play with your audience's Methodologies (how they go about doing things) Purposes (what they are striving for) Means of evaluation (how they measure their progress - their personal yardsticks) Pick only one as the area of primary impact. This will become the area of the storyform that you purposefully omit when storytelling. The remaining three areas will be used to support your intent by drawing attention away from the missing piece(s).

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...

Out of Body Experiences

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

Physics as Main Character Domain

A Physics Main Character is a person of action. For example, he might be doing something just to do it, or he might be trying to obtain or achieve something. Other activities of a Physics Main Character might be learning or seeking to understand something. At first learning and understanding might seem too internal to be Physics, but consider that these activities are applied externally. Learning is gathering information about something and understanding is seeking the meaning of something....

Picking the proper Classes for the Domains in your Story

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

Players and Characters

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

Plot Progression

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

Plot vs Storyweaving

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

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 as Subjective Story Domain

Psychology as the Subjective Story Domain has the Main and Obstacle Characters diverging over a manner of thinking. Phrases like, You always get this way when we argue, and No, I don't - it's you that keeps changing subjects, are referring not to a particular attitude, but a manner of thinking that is not appreciated between the Main and Obstacle Characters. When the way one goes about working something out becomes the issue between the Main and Obstacle Characters, the Subjective Story...

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...

Relationships of Subplots to Plot

Since subplots are essentially separate stories, they may or may not reflect the values and concerns of the principal story. This allows an author to complement or counterpoint the principal argument. Frequently a subplot becomes a parallel of the principal story in another storytelling context, broadening the scope of the principal argument by inference to include all similar situations. In contrast, the subplot may arrive at the opposite conclusion, indicating that the solution for one...

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,...

Signposts and Journeys

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

Story Costs

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

Story Goal

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

Story Reception

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

Storyencoding

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

Storyweaving

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

Strength in Paradigms

When we encounter something at the top level of the most recently determined givens, it can be a relatively small feat to rethink our conclusions. If one of our base assumptions was wrong, however, there may be no way to reconcile the occurrence with our understanding without completely dismantling the foundations of our whole belief system. Not an easy task It is much easier to discount the variance as an exception. Even more important, because we have not added the unusual incident to our...

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 Story Range

The Subjective Story Concern describes the area of shared concern for the Main and Obstacle Characters. The Subjective Story Range and Counterpoint describe why they come to blows over it. The Main Character will believe the Subjective Story Range (or counterpoint) is the value standard that should be used when looking at the Subjective Story Concern. As a result, The Main Character will see the Concern in a particular light. In contrast, the Obstacle Character will believe the other Variation...

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 Same Old Story

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

The Scope of Dramatica

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

The Sixty Four Element Question

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

The Subjective Story Throughline

As soon as the Main Character encounters his Obstacle, a skirmish ensues at a personal level in the midst of the battle as a whole. The two characters close in on one another in a theatrical game of chicken, each hoping the other will give in. The Main Character shouts at his Obstacle to get out of the way. The Obstacle Character stands fast, insisting that the Main Character change course and even pointing toward the fork in the road. As they approach one another, the interchange becomes more...

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...

The Top Five

The purpose of characters is to show how aspects of the Story Mind deal with a problem. And this is what determines that the neighbors are not Objective Characters. Aside from Thornton, they all have their own little stories, but only interact with each other peripherally, if at all. Their private stories enhance the thematic atmosphere of the overall story but neither advance nor clarify the plot. If we eliminate all the neighbors who do not interact, we pare our list down to five actual...

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...

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 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 Exactly Is Theme

It seems every author is aware of theme, but try to find one who can define it Most will tell you theme has something to do with the mood or feel of a story. But how does that differ from genre Others will say that theme is the message of the story. Some will put forth that theme is the premise of a story that illustrates the results of certain kinds of behavior. Taking each of these a bit farther, a story's mood or feel might be anger. A message might be nuclear power plants are bad. A premise...

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...

When to Use Dramatica

For some authors, applying Dramatica at the beginning of a creative project might be inhibiting. Many writers prefer to explore their subject, moving in whatever direction their muse leads them until they eventually establish an intent. In this case, the storytelling comes before the structure. After the first draft is completed, such an author can look back at what he has created with the new understanding he has arrived at by the end. Often, much of the work will no longer fit the story as...

Who are WE and what are WE doing

When considering the Subjective Story perspective, it is best to use the first person plural (We) voice to evaluate the Classes. We refers to the Main and Obstacle Characters collectively. If the Subjective Story's Domain is Universe (e.g. The Ghost & Hamlet's pact in Hamlet or Reggie & Marcus' alliance in The Client), consider asking What is it like to be in our situation What is our status What condition are we in Where are we going to be in the future What's so special about our past...

Who is Me

A simple note is stuck to the refrigerator door Call me when you get home. Who is me It depends on who you are asking. Ask the author of the note and he would say it was myself. Ask the recipient of the note and they would say, It's him. So the word me has different meanings depending upon who is looking at it. To the author, it means the same when they wrote it as when they read it as an audience. To the intended audience, however, it means something quite different. In life, we assume one...

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...

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...

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,...

Recap of Archetypal Characters

Now that we have become familiar with Archetypal characters and some of their limitations, let us recap our list of the eight Archetypal Characters as a prelude to resolving the inconsistencies we saw in The Wizard of Oz and Jaws PROTAGONIST The traditional Protagonist is the driver of the story the one who forces the action. We root for it and hope for its success. ANTAGONIST The Antagonist is the character directly opposed to the Protagonist. It represents the problem that must be solved or...

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...

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...

Prerequisites

Prerequisites determine what is needed to begin meeting the Requirements. When selecting Prerequisites, keep in mind they are to be used in your story as essential steps or items that must be met or gathered in order to attempt a Requirement. As such, the appropriate Type of Prerequisites is much more heavily influenced by the Type of Requirements than the Type of Goal. Prerequisites may open the opportunity for easy ways to bring in Dividends, Costs, or even Preconditions which we shall...

Characters in Absentia

The function of characters in a scene is not to establish their physical presence, but to represent their points of view on the topic at hand. As long as they fulfill that mandate and throw their two-cents into the mix, their actual presence is not required. As authors, how can we represent a character's point of view in a scene without having to haul him in and place him there Perhaps the easiest way is to have other characters talk about the missing character and relate the opinion that...

Archetypal Characters

Just because characters are Archetypal does not mean they cannot be fresh and interesting. Archetypal Characters have just as many diverse characteristics as Complex Characters. The only difference is how these characteristics are divided among your story's characters. When an equal number are given to each character and when all the elements making up each character are from a single family of elements, Archetypal Characters are created. In this sense, an Archetypal Character set is like an...

Protagonist Guardian Contagonist Antagonist

In simple stories, the Protagonist, Antagonist, Guardian, and Contagonist are all major drivers of the story. Whatever the object of their efforts, Protagonist will be trying to achieve it, Antagonist will be trying to prevent its achievement, Guardian will act to aid the achievement, and Contagonist will act to hinder although Guardian and Contagonist may not be directly concerned with the goal itself or even each other . Regardless of their personal levels of awareness, each of these...

More Resolution

Dramatica Chart

So far, we have been able to roughly determine that a problem might be an external or internal state or process, represented by the four Classes. Already we can get a more refined view of the problem we will be describing in our story. We need only consider which of these four Classes best describes the problem about which we want to write. For example, if we have an idea for a story about people trapped underwater in a sunken ship, that would be an external problem, best described as a state...