Search Results for l

Leap of Faith

Dramatica Term

just prior to a story's climax, a conscious choice by the Main Character to either Change or remain Steadfast with no way of knowing for sure which will best lead him to his goal or resolve his personal problem

No Main Character can be sure that he will succeed until the story has completely unfolded. Up until that moment, there is always the opportunity to change one's approach or one's attitude. For example, a Main Character may determine that what he thought was the true source of the problem really is not. Or he may reconsider his motivation to try and resolve it; whether he should give up or try harder. Again, there is no way for him to tell with certainty which path will lead to success. Nevertheless, when these scenarios close in on a single moment in the story, the moment of truth, where the Main Character has his last opportunity to remain steadfast in his approach and attitude or to change either or both, there will be a Leap of Faith. After that, all that remains is to see it to its conclusion, good or bad. That moment of truth is called the Leap of Faith because the Main Character must choose a course and then commit himself to it, stepping into the unknown with blind faith in a favorable outcome or resignation to an ostensibly poor one.


Type Understanding ↔ Learning

gathering information or experience

Learning describes the process of acquiring knowledge. It is not the knowledge itself. When a portion of a story focuses on learning, it is the gathering of an education that is of concern, not the education that ultimately has been gathered. Learning need not be an academic endeavor. One might learn to express one's feelings or learn about love. Learning does not even require new information as sometimes one learns simply by looking through old information from a different perspective or with a new approach. It is not important if one is learning to arrive at a particular understanding or just to gather data. As long as the focus is on the process of gaining information, Learning is the operative word.


Structural Term

one of the vertical strata of the Dramatica structural chart

The relationship between levels (Elements, Variations, Types and Classes) of dramatic units is similar to turning up the power on a microscope: each has a different resolution with which to examine the story's problem. Classes take the broadest view and have the greatest structural impact on Genre. Types are more detailed and most directly affect the Plot. Variations are even more refined, most intensely influencing Theme, and Elements provide the greatest detail available in a story, concentrating on the qualities or traits of Characters.


Plot Dynamic

the restricted amount of time or options that, by running out, forces the story to a climax

The Limit is what forces the story to a close. One of the functions of a story is to give the audience the value of experiences it has not had itself by living through the Main Character. As such, the Main Character in the story Changes or Remains Steadfast and hopes for the best, and we learn from his accomplishments or disappointments. Yet, even a Main Character would not jump into the void and commit to a course of action or decision unless forced into it. To force the Main Character to decide, the story provides all the necessary information to make an educated guess while progressively closing in on the Main Character until he has no alternative but to choose. This closing in can be accomplished in either of two ways: either running out of places to look for the solution or running out of time to work one out. Running out of options is accomplished by an Optionlock; a deadline is accomplished by a Timelock. Both of these means of limiting the story and forcing the Main Character to decide are felt from early on in the story and get stronger until the climax. Optionlocks need not be claustrophobic so much as they only provide limited pieces with which to solve the problem. Timelocks need not be hurried so much as limiting the interval during which something can happen. Once an established Limit is reached, however, the story must end and assessments be made: is the Outcome Success or Failure? is the Judgment Good or Bad? is the Main Character Resolve Change or Steadfast? etc.


Element Feeling ↔ Logic

a rational sense of how things are related

Logic is the mental process of choosing the most efficient course or explanation based on reason. The Logic characteristic exemplifies the theory behind "Occam's Razor," that the simplest explanation is the correct explanation. Therefore, the Logic characteristic is very efficient but has no understanding or tolerance that people do not live by reason alone. As a result, the character with the Logic characteristic often ignores how other's "unreasonable" feelings may cause a very real backlash to his approach.

syn. linear reasoning, rationality, structural sensibility, syllogistics

Logical Problem Solving Style


the Main Character uses logical problem solving techniques

A choice of logical selects a psychology for the Main Character based on causal relationships. A male Main Character solves problems by examining what cause or group of causes is responsible for an effect or group of effects. The effort made to solve the problem will focus on affecting a cause, causing an effect, affecting an effect, or causing a cause. This describes four different approaches. Affecting a cause is manipulating an existing force to change its eventual impact. Causing an effect means applying a new force that will create an impact. Affecting an effect is altering an effect after it has happened. Causing a cause is applying a new force that will make some other force come into play to ultimately create an impact. These are the four primary problem solving techniques of a logical minded character. It is important to note that these techniques can be applied to either external or internal problems. Either way, manipulating cause and effect is the modus operandi. 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 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 man, he/she would intuitively create a male psyche for that character. Yet by simply changing the name of the character from Joe to Mary and shifting the appropriate gender terms, the character would ostensibly become a woman. But that woman would not seem like a woman. Even if all the specific masculine dialogue were changed, even if all the culturally dictated manifestations were altered, the underlying psyche of the character would have a male bias rather than a female bias. Sometimes stereotypes are propagated by what an audience expects to see which filters the message and dilutes the truth. By placing a male psyche in a female 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.