I have Characterpro 5, which helps create characters based on the Enneagram, and have studied it extensively through Poetics and other such books, and am wondering if there is a way to carry over the information into my use of Dramatica.
There is no direct correlation between the nine Enneagram personality types and Dramatica's eight archetypal characters, through there is some crossover.
2 - The Helper --- Guardian
5 - The Investigator --- Reason
6 - The Loyalist --- Sidekick
1 - The Reformer --- Elements of the Reason archetype
4 - The Individualist --- Emotion
8 - The Challenger --- Antagonist
IF YOU STRETCH IT
3 - The Achiever --- (Skeptic?)
7 - The Enthusiast --- (Contagonist?)
9 - The Peacemaker --- (Protagonist?)
The primary difference between the Enneagram personalities and the Dramatica archetypes is the result of evaluations made from two vastly different points of reference AND looking at two different things.
The Enneagram looks at integrated personality types and organizes them by dominant traits.
Dramatica sees the entire collection of problem-solving functions as the basis for a SINGLE integrated persona and organizes the elements by problem solving functionality.
That's why there are obvious points of intersection and areas of equally clear divergence.
Melanie Anne Phillips suggested to me that the Enneagram personality types could be built in Dramatica's Build Character window and saved using the "Typecast" feature. If anyone is up to the challenge, I'd be happy to make them available to other Dramatica users by posting them to Dramatica.com. Let me know if you're interested!
Is it my imagination (or ignorance) or does Dramatica have a very narrow approach to story telling? For example, how do you fit your characters into Dramatica's archetypes? I have no Main character... they are all equally important. I have no hero; but I do have one character who is probably more evil than the rest. Is there some aspect of Dramatica that allows you to create a main character that is an antihero--or just plain evil. There is no "Helper" or "Skeptic" or "Guardian" etc. In fact the Dramatic types make very little sense to my story. The instructions suggest something about creating complex characters, but this seems so tedious. Is there another way to fit an unconventional story line into this program?
Archetypes are simple by definition. If you'd like more complex characters, you'll need to move away from the convenience of archetypes and into the world of complex characters. Complex characters are not difficult to create--it's just a matter of choosing their component elements in the Build Characters window. "Complex" refers to the degree to which a character's internal and external characteristics are in harmony (archetype) or at odds (complex).
Personally, I think Dramatica's description of story is far from simplistic. It is rich in depth and breadth. Please do not use the StoryGuide as an indication of Dramatica's reach into your story. The StoryGuide is DESIGNED to be simple and linear because it is designed to be used by Dramatica newbies and therefore uses the archetypes instead of suggesting more sophisticated character choices. However, Dramatica need not be used in either a simple or linear manner. Look to any of the other Query System topic lists or the Story Points window to get a better idea of the Dramatica's scope.
For example, Dramatica does NOT describe characters such as a Hero or Villain. Those are storytelling conventions that are not very useful if you want to do something even slightly less conventional. Instead, Dramatica see characters as having functions in different areas (throughlines) of the story. By separating the functions, an author may combine the "pieces" in interesting ways to create non-traditional characters. By way of example, you may combine the Main Character with the functions of an antagonist or a sidekick or any type of complex character instead of the typical MC/protagonist pairing.
With that said, Dramatica IS best used to develop a particular form of story--one in which an author wishes to present an argument to an audience in the form of a story. If you're not interested in developing a "Grand Argument Story" then Dramatica may not be the tool for you to use. Otherwise, it's by far the best story development tool available and the only one that makes suggestions about your story based information you give it in areas of the story you DID NOT describe.
I'm working on a storyform for a new (short) story using archetypal characters, and I've noticed the MC Crucial Element fell in the wrong spot. That is, not within any of the Protagonist squares. It fell in a Reason square. Furthermore, the IC Crucial Element fell in the Emotion square, rather than any of the squares belonging to the Antagonist. My Reason character is yet unassigned. Should I just give my MC/Protagonist that role, too, so he gets the MC Crucial Element?
Character archetypes are like training wheels--they're handy when you are just beginning but very quickly become more trouble than their worth.
The crucial elements are determined by the storyforming choices, not the character archetype choices.
I recommend breaking out of the character archetypes and into complex characters as soon as you can. The crucial element assignments are as good a reason for doing so as any.
To change the element assignments, go to the Build Character window in the Dramatica software. Add the "Logic" element to the MC and "Feeling" to the IC. If there is any other element reassigning that makes sense to you, do it.
The most important thing to remember is that each OS element is an approach to resolving the OS problem. Assigning them to characters gives you (the author) a means to explore the elements--show them in action--so that the problem and solution elements eventually become clear to the audience.