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 all stages of communication are working together, but it carries hidden dangers as well.

When an author adopts the audience perspective, he compresses all four stages together. Thus, Genre, Plot, Theme, and Character become complete, yet their components become nebulous and much harder to define. This makes it very easy to tell if something is going wrong, but much harder to determine which part of the process is at fault.

To avoid this problem, Dramatica suggests first building a Storyform that spells out the dramatic appreciations necessary to fashion a complete argument in line with one's intent. Then, referring to this structure while encoding (or symbolizing) the storyform, an author can make sure that missing or inconsistent pieces of the storyform are not masked under clever storytelling.

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