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 explore the story. The four audience points of view can be seen as I, YOU, WE, and THEY as the audience's point of view shifts from empathizing with the Main Character, to feeling the impact of the Obstacle Character, to experiencing the relationship between the Main and Obstacle Character, and then finally stepping back to see the big picture that has everyone in it (all of THEM). Each point of view describes an aspect of the story experience to which an audience is privy.

There are four Classes containing all the possible kinds of problems that can be felt in those throughlines (one Class to each throughline): Universe, Mind, Physics, and Psychology. These Classes suggest different areas to explore in the story. The areas can be seen as SITUATIONS, FIXED ATTITUDES or FIXATIONS, ACTIVITIES, and MANNERS OF THINKING or MANIPULATION.

In Dramatica, a story will contain all four areas to explore (Classes) and all four points of view (throughlines). Each Class will be explored from one of the throughlines. The combination of Class and throughline into a Domain is the broadest way to describe the meaning in a story. For example, exploring a Main Character in terms of his situation is quite different than exploring a Main Character in terms of his attitude, the activities he is involved in, or how he is being manipulated. Which is right for your story?

Pairing the appropriate Class with the proper throughline for your story can be difficult. An approach you may find useful is to pick a throughline, adopt the audience perspective that throughline provides, and from that point of view examine each of the four Classes to see which feels the best.

Each of the following sections present the four Classes from one specific audience perspective. For best effect, adopt the perspective described in the section and ask the questions as they appear in terms of your own story. One set of questions should seem more important or relevant from that perspective. NOTE: Selecting a throughline/Class relationship (or Domain) indicates much about the emphasis you wish to place in the context of your story. No pairing is better or worse than another. One pairing will be, however, most appropriate to what you have in mind for your story than the other three alternatives.

Dynamic Pairs of Domains

Each of the throughlines in a story can be seen as standing alone or as standing in relation to the other throughlines. When selecting which Classes to assign the throughlines of your story, it is extremely important to remember two relationships in particular among the throughlines:

The Objective Story and Subjective Story throughlines will always be a dynamic pair


The Main Character and Obstacle Character throughlines will always be a dynamic pair

These relationships reflect the kind of impact these throughlines have on each other in every story. The Main and Obstacle Characters face off throughout the story until one of them Changes (indicated by the Main Character Resolve). Their relationship in the Subjective Story will help precipitate either Success or Failure in the Objective Story (indicated by the Story Outcome).

What these relationships mean to the process of building the Domains in your story is that whenever you set up one Domainr you also set up its dynamic pair.

For example, matching the Main Character throughline with the Universe class not only creates a Main Character Domain of Universe in your story, it also creates an Obstacle Character Domain of Mind. Since Mind is the dynamic pair to Universe in the Dramatica structure, matching one throughline to one of the Classes automatically puts the other throughline on the opposite Class to support the two throughlines' dynamic pair relationship.

Likewise, matching the Objective Story throughline with Psychology to create an Objective Story Domain of Psychology will automatically create a Subjective Story Domain of Physics at the same time. The reasoning is the same here as it was for the Main and Obstacle Character throughlines. No matter which Class you match with one of the throughlines on the Dramatica structure, the dynamic pair of that class will be matched to the dynamic pair of that throughline.

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