Practical advice on how to use Dramatica to create real-world stories.
Stephen Greenfield, Dramatica's Chief Software Architect, developed these questions to provide quick answers to the most commonly asked questions, issues and controversies about the theory. There are many misconceptions about the software and theory, typically circulated by people who have never even examined the software.
Questions from the skeptical.
Questions about the Dramatica Software
Basic questions writers ask about Dramatica.
Due to its all-encompassing nature the Dramatica theory of story can be quite overwhelming to the uninitiated. Whether you're a seasoned pro looking to expand your toolset or a bright-eyed newbie, this section offers some helpful tips on what to do when you first "meet" Dramatica.
In this section you'll learn about the Protagonist and Antagonist, as well as Dramatica-specific interpretations of character such as the Main Character and Impact Character.
Dramatica sees Archetypal Characters as a perfect alignment of characteristics present within the same Player. Often used as a shorthand in stories that are more focused on spectacle or experiences, the Archetypal Characters represent an excellent set of building blocks for writers to craft and populate their stories.
Dramatica sees the Main Character as the Audience's eyes and ears into a story. Through them, we get to experience what it is like to encounter the story's problem from a personal perspective. Without this essential throughline, a story will lack a sense of engagement with those who experience it.
The Influence Character is the character who possesses an alternative approach towards the story's central problem. This character is responsible for shocking the Main Character out of their malaise and challenging them to grow and develop over the course of the story. Together, the two characters form a meaningful relationship essential to the story's meaning.
The Overall Story Characters are a dispassionate look at the motivations, methodologies, evaluations and purposes of the Players within a story. You can think of these as chess pieces upon the board of narrative fiction. Each element has its own set of moves and rules within which it can operate. Combining them into new and unique groupings is the playground for the creative writer.
The Dramatica theory of story is based on a deceptively simple, yet extremely complicated concept that all complete stories are really an analogy to a single human mind trying to solve a problem. The processes of problem-solving and justification within the mind are also present within what Dramatica refers to as a Grand Argument Story. Here you'll learn what all this means and how it applies to more effective storytelling.
In this section you can find out how the Dramatica theory was developed and how the creators arrived at some of the more compelling concepts within.
Plot is so much more than simply "what happens". Story Goals, Consequences, Requirements, subplots, act progressions are only a small portion of the story's engine. Here you'll find answers on how to apply these concepts to your own work and insure that what you want to say to your audience is in fact being communicated clearly and meaningfully.
The storyform is the keystone for any Dramatica analysis. Here you can find out about the elements that determine the underlying structure of your story and what they mean in terms of the bigger picture.
Having discovered the storyform that fits the story you want to tell, you can now move onto the actual "storytelling". In this section, you can find out how to illustrate your underlying story structure to make it interesting and more importantly, distinctly yours.
Once you have formed your story and figured out the best way to illustrate it, the next step is finding a unique and imaginative way of weaving it all together. Here you'll learn how to craft the different threads of your plot together to make a complete and compelling story.
A catch-all for general questions about the theory, the software and the application of both towards writing in several different mediums.
When setting out to write a complete story, an author needs to consider several questions. Twelve of them stand out as being of utmost importance. With the answers to these firmly in grasp, an author primes the engine of their work, creating a holistic image of their story's meaning.