Dramatica expert Jim Hull begins his new year of covering developments in the theory and its application to the film industry with a new article and a new name for his site—Narrative First.
He explains quite clearly the reason for this new direction:
The relatively few movies I’ve worked on that I am proud of—those that actually stand the test of time and warm the heart as much as they challenge the intellect—had one thing in common and one thing only: Something meaningful the Authors (directors/writers) were trying to communicate.
Melanie documents her exploration into further development of Dramatica:
Think now of Dramatica’s story dynamics – Change or Steadfast, Linear or Holistic, Start or Stop, Action or Decision to name a few. These are nodal points in the temporal flow: sweet spots in time. Each represents a point at which the processes and forces in the progression of a narrative combine in conjunction and define the nature and direction of the resultant vector of the dramatics. Each define a wave form and together define the complex wave form of a narrative’s dynamic fabric.
Melanie offers some helpful advice for creating characters:
Many writers are taught that they need to have a hero. Problem is, heroes in stories should be just about as rare as they are in real life. They do occur; they just aren’t the only option.
Common question asked, especially considering Dramatica's attention to detail. How can a rock or a wall exhibit the Motivation elements of Avoid/Prevent and Reconsider that Dramatica sees in an Archetypal Antagonist?
As Melanie explains Antagonists can come in all shapes and sizes: persons, places and things. The important part is that they function within the Overall Story the same way any typical "villain" would (avoiding or preventing things, forcing the Protagonist to reconsider, etc.).
Harder though is "handing-off" the Antagonist role from one entity to another. Much easier (and more common) to do that with an Influence Character:
Obstacle [Influence] characters are each carrying the next part of linear argument regarding value standards and/or worldviews, but the Antagonist represents a consistent force. It is much harder for an audience to shift its feelings from one Antagonist to another, than to “listen” to one character pick up the moral argument from another.
Theory co-creator Melanie Anne Phililps discusses what Dramatica is and how it sees each and every story has having its own unique "personality":
The central concept of the Dramatica theory is a notion called the “Story Mind.” In a nutshell, this simply means that every story has a mind of its own – its own personality; its own psychology. A story’s personality is developed by an author’s style and subject matter; its psychology is determined by the underlying dramatic structure.