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the primary dramatic mechanism of a story
The nature of a story will be one of four possibilities: Actual Work Story, Actual Dilemma Story, Apparent Work Story, or Apparent Dilemma Story. A story can be appreciated as a structure in which the beginning, middle, and end can all be seen at the same time. From this point of view, the Overall and Relationship storylines can be compared. The Overall Story Throughline determines if the solution to the problem can be found in the environment or if the problem is actually caused by a character flaw of the Main Character himself. The Relationship storyline determines if the Main Character will remain steadfast in the belief the problem can be solved in the environment or will change in the belief that he himself is the cause of the problem. When the Main Character remains steadfast, he spends the entire story doing work to try and solve the problem. This is called a Work Story. If the Main Character is correct in believing the solution to the problem lies in the environment it is an Actual Work story. If the steadfast Main Character is wrong and is the true cause of the problem, it is an Apparent Work story since he believes Work is all that is necessary and that is not the case. When the Main Character changes, he has come to believe that he is the real cause of the problem. This is called a Dilemma Story because the Main Character spends the story wrestling with an internal dilemma. If the Main Character is correct in believing that he is the source of the problem, then it is an Actual Dilemma Story. If he is incorrect and changes, even though the problem was truly in the environment, it is an Apparent Dilemma Story. Each of these four combinations creates a different mechanism in order to arrive at the climax with the appropriate match up between the true location of the problem and the Main Character's assessment of where to find the solution.
that which is required
Needs are always based upon a purpose. It is often assumed that Need describes something absolutely required in an objective sense. But Need is really a subjective judgment of what is lacking to fulfill a requirement. To illustrate this, we might consider the statement, "We all need food and water." This statement seems to make sense, but is not actually correct. In truth, we only need food and water if we want to live. For a paralyzed patient who wishes to be allowed to die, the last thing he Needs is food and water. Clearly, need depends upon what one subjectively desires. That which is required to fulfill that desire is the subjective Need.
syn. subjective necessity, urge, demand, imperative
- Negative Feel
the problem is closing in on the objective characters
Overall, stories feel like "uppers" or "downers." This is not a description of whether or not things turn out okay in the end, but a sense of direction created by the kind of tension that permeates the story up to the moment of climax. When the focus is on characters doggedly pursuing a Solution, the story feels positive. When the focus is on characters being dogged by a relentless Problem, the story feels negative. Another way to appreciate the difference is to look at the Main Character. An audience can sense whether the author feels a Main Character should or should not change. If the character is growing toward the proper choice, the story feels positive. If he is growing toward the improper choice, the story feels negative. Both these views are created by the friction between the Objective view that indicates what is truly needed to solve the problem and the Subjective view of the Main Character as to what seems to be the solution to the problem.
both men and women will tend to sympathize with the main character in this story
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. "Neither" indicates that as a result of this storyform's dynamics, neither male and female audience members will tend to empathize with the Main Character, both will sympathize.
a decision to oppose
The character containing the Non-Acceptance characteristic will not compromise. He stands his ground regardless of how unimportant the issue may be. Certainly, this characteristic nips attrition in the bud but also loses the benefits of give and take relationships.
syn. run counter to, reject, decline, repudiate, resist, refusal to compromise
not within tolerances
Non-Accurate describes a concept that is not functional for the purpose at hand. There may be some value in the concept in other areas, but for the intended use it is not at all correct. The Non-Accurate characteristic will find the exceptions to the rule that ruin an argument. This makes it nearly immune to generalizations. Unfortunately this can also make it unable to accept any explanation or concept that has an exception, even if the exception has no real effect on how the concept is being applied. Anything that is not right all the time for every use is rejected as Non-Accurate.
syn. not within tolerance, insufficiency, inadequacy, deviancy, deficient to the purpose
Dramatica Story Expert
the next chapter in story development