Search Results for f


Variation Fantasy ↔ Fact

belief in something real

Fact is something that is truly real as opposed to just seeming to be real. Of course, from a character's subjective view, when something seems to be real it is impossible to tell from actual fact. No matter how strongly a belief, understanding, or knowledge of something is held, subjectively there is always the possibility some change in the situation or additional information will prove it to be unfactual. Optical illusions are a good case in point. The moment a character accepts something as fact is the moment a thematic conflict might begin to grow. Nevertheless, Fact represents beliefs that turn out to be real.

syn. belief in the genuine, ultimately real beliefs, truly real beliefs, authentic notion, authentic idea, correct knowledge, correct beliefs


Plot Dynamic

the original goal is not achieved

Every objective storyline in a Grand Argument Story has at its beginning a desired outcome to be sought after. Ultimately, the characters will either achieve that outcome or Fail to do so. The reasons for Failure (and in fact the Failure itself) may not be bad. For example, in the course of trying to arrive at an outcome, the characters may decide it was wrong to want it or learn that achieving it would hurt people. Whatever the reason, be it nobility or no ability, if the outcome desired at the story's beginning is not achieved, the story ends in Failure.


Element Disbelief ↔ Faith

accepting something as certain without proof

Faith is a belief in something without the support of proof. Since the future is uncertain, Faith in one's ability to arrive at one's purpose is a very strong motivator. However, when one has Faith, it cannot be argued with since it does not rely on logic or proof. The danger of Faith is that it does not allow one to determine if obstacles are signs that ones motivations are misplaced, because the obstacles seem to be tests that must be overcome through steadfast belief.

syn. acceptance without proof, steadfast belief, confidence in unproven, credence, unquestioned trust



that which has been shown to be erroneous

Falsehood does not mean incorrect but in error. In other words, what is presented may be absolutely accurate and yet not reflect what is really going on. Perhaps only a portion of the truth is expressed or more information than is pertinent causes one to misconstrue. A danger is that Falsehood can get away from the control of its creator. Once an error has been passed off as truth, some will continue to accept it as truth even if it is recanted by the person that gave the False account.

syn. erroneousness, untruth, erroneous notion, mistaken, astray, dishonest


Structural Term

a grouping of units specific to Dramatica

In the Dramatica structure, all units are divided into four major groups according to their most general natures. These groups are Elements, Variations, Types, and Classes. Each of these groups is called a Family.


Variation Fact ↔ Fantasy

belief in something unreal

Fantasy is something that although seemingly real, truly is not. Fantasies exist subjectively so they can either be misinterpretations of the meaning of actual things or internal fabrications of meanings that are not accurate. Neither one can be consciously intentional or one would be aware of the untruth of the Fantasy. Fantasies are not necessarily bad. In fact, they can be the best way for a character to clarify the nature of his goal. Maintaining the Fantasy allows one to practice responses so that Fantasy might actually turn into fact. Of course, when one lets a Fantasy grow such that it extends beyond the goal and into the means of evaluating progress toward the goal, the Fantasy can become self-sustaining and only imagined progress is ever made.

syn. false belief, faith in the imaginary, delusion, erroneous conviction


Variation Destiny ↔ Fate

a future situation that will befall an individual

The distinction between Fate and Destiny is an important one. Destiny is the direction one's life must take, Fate is any given moment along that direction. So whereas one can have many Fates, one can only have one Destiny. Fate describes a state of situation and circumstance that exists at a particular point in time. In other words, Fate is something of an outcome, or perhaps a step -- just one of a number of Fates along the path of one's Destiny. Characters often either make the mistake of assuming that they have only one Fate and are therefore stuck with it, or they mistakenly believe they can achieve their destiny without "passing through" unattractive fates that lie along the path. The nature of a Fate is that no matter how you try to avoid it, it tracks you. All options that you might exercise still lead to that Fate. That is what also defines Destiny as the limitations on free will that force you to arrive at your Fate no matter how you alter what you do or what kind of person you are. If we all knew the future, there would be no free-will.

syn. inevitable events, unpreventable incidents, eventual events, destined occurrence, destined events, unavoidable situations


Element Logic ↔ Feeling

an emotional sense of how things are going

Feeling is the mental process of seeking the most fulfilling course or correct explanation based on emotion. The Feeling characteristic believes "ya gotta have heart." It cares not for what is efficient or even practical as long as it is "feels" right. This makes the Feeling characteristic very empathetic to the emotional atmosphere in a situation, yet apt to ignore or pay little attention to necessities.

syn. empathy, emotional sensibility, affective outlook, sentiment, emotional assessment


Overview Appreciation

women will tend to empathize with the Main Character in this story; men will tend to sympathize

Although there is much common ground in a story that is appreciated equally by women and men, some dramatic messages speak to one group more profoundly than the other. One particular area of difference is the relationship of female and male audience members to the Main Character. In some stories an audience member will feel Empathy with the Main Character, as if he/she were standing in the Main Character's shoes. In other stories, an audience member will feel Sympathy for the Main Character, as if the Main Character is a close acquaintance. The dynamics that control this for women and men are quite different. "Female" indicates that as a result of this storyform's dynamics, female audience members will tend to empathize with the Main Character. Male audience members will tend to sympathize.

Female Mental Sex

Character Dynamic

the Main Character uses intuitive problem solving techniques

A choice of Female Mental Sex creates a Main Character whose psychology is based on assessing balance. A Female Mental Sex Main Character resolves inequities by comparing surpluses to deficiencies. The manner employed in resolving the inequity will involve creating a surplus where a surplus is desired, creating a deficiency where a deficiency is desired, creating a surplus so a deficiency is felt elsewhere, creating a deficiency so a surplus will be felt elsewhere. Through the application of one's own force, hills and valleys can be created and filled either to directly address the inequity or to create a change in the flow of energies that will ultimately come together in a new hill or disperse creating a new valley. These are the four primary inequity resolving techniques of an intuitive character. It is important to note that these techniques are applied both to others and to oneself. Either way, manipulating surplus and deficiency describes the approach. When selecting intuitive or logical, typically the choice is as simple as deciding if you want to tell a story about a man or a woman. But there is another consideration that is being employed with growing frequency in modern stories -- putting the psyche of one sex into the skin of another. This does not refer only to the "sex change" comedies but also to many action stories with female Main Characters (e.g. Aliens) and many decision stories with male Main Characters (Prince of Tides). When an author writes a part for a woman, he/she would intuitively create a female psyche for that character. Yet by simply changing the name of the character from Mary to Joe and shifting the appropriate gender terms, the character would ostensibly become a man. But that man would not seem like a man. Even if all the specific feminine dialogue were changed, even if all the culturally dictated manifestations were altered, the underlying psyche of the character would have a female bias rather than a male bias. Sometimes stereotypes are propagated by what an audience expects to see which filters the message and dilutes the truth. By placing a female psyche in a male character, preconceptions no longer prevent the message from being heard. The word of warning is that this technique can make a Main Character seem "odd" in some hard to define way to your audience. So although the message may fare better, empathy between your audience and your Main Character may not.

Fixed Attitude

Class Situation ↔ Fixed Attitude

a fixed mindset

The Fixed Attitude domain describes a fixed mindset. This can be a bias, prejudice, or even a "positive" opinion about anything at all. The key is that the attitude is fixed, meaning it is accepted as a given and not re-evaluated. Often the Fixed Attitude domain is represented by a group of people who share a common bias for or against something.

syn. attitude, fixation, position on an issue, fixed point of view, disposition

Flashbacks and Flashforwards


storytelling techniques for developing the story and the backstory simultaneously

Often the purpose of telling a story is not just to document the effort to solve a problem but to convey understanding as to how such a problem came to be in the first place. If the author wants to develop both story and backstory simultaneously during the course of the storytelling by alternating between them, two primary techniques are available: the Flashback and the Flashforward. In the Flashback, the story proper is assumed to take place in the present. Flashbacks then reveal key episodes in the development of the problem (the Backstory), sometimes in the past, to underscore or contrast specific points in the story as appropriate and as desired. In the Flashforward, the Backstory is assumed to take place in the present and the story is revealed to the audience in episodes illustrating the future outcome of forces presently put into play. In either case, by the end of the storytelling, both Backstory and Story have been fully illustrated to the extent desired to convey the intended message.



the principal symptom of the story problem

When a Main Character is at odds with his surroundings, a problem exists between himself and his environment. The actual nature of this gap between Main Character and environment is described by the Problem Element. The nature of what is required to restore balance is described by the Solution Element. This is the Overall view of the problem. The Main Character, however, is not privy to that view but must work from his personal view instead. From this view, the problem does not appear to be between the Main Character and the Environment, but wholly in one or the other. Sometimes a Main Character is a "Do-er" type and will perceive and first try to solve the problem in the environment. Other times a Main Character is a "Be-er" who will first try to solve the problem by adapting to the environment. A "Do-er" focuses the problem in the environment; a "Be-er" focuses the problem in himself. The Symptom Element describes the nature of how the problem appears to the Main Character when he places it wholly in one area or the other.



the indications that the consequence is growing more imminent

Whether or not the Consequences ever befall the Main Character, there are Forewarnings that indicate their approach and help force the limit of the story and bring the Main Character to the moment where he can be assessed in terms of his Main Character Resolve. These Forewarnings could be a quick look at a growing crack in the dam which no-one sees, or it could be a mad scientist installing the final component in his doomsday device; however it is represented, its nature will be described by the storytelling of Forewarnings.


Type Progress ↔ Future

what will happen or what will be

A story focusing on the Future concerns itself with what will be. This does not require the story to be "set" in the Future -- only that the Future state of external and/or internal issues is the subject that is being addressed. A character centered on Future may be trying to discover what will be or may be trying a achieve a particular state of affairs down the line. In both the Story and Character sense, the end is more important than the present although it still may not justify the means.

syn. what is to come, what will be, prospect, prospective