Dramatica Elsewhere

A Take on Dramatica’s Archetypes

Posted on December 30, 2013

Author K.M. Weiland discusses the 8 Archetypes found in the Dramatica Theory Book, and offers her take on an additional one:

The fact that archetypes are both universally applicable and yet endlessly varying provides authors with both structure and flexibility. Character archetypes present important guidelines for creating a well-rounded cast that can provide optimum help for advancing your hero’s journey. But, depending on which approach you take, they can also be either frustratingly vague or claustrophobically limiting.

Her last provides an interesting point of discussion:

The Love Interest will be found in the vast majority of stories and is not mentioned in Dramatica’s list simply because it will almost always fit into one of the other archetypes as well. However, the Love Interest is worth mentioning independently of the other archetypes both because of its prominence in fiction and because of several important distinctions unique to the role.

K.M. continues to elaborate on this character, outlining specific traits of this important character. While she is right in saying that this character will fit into one of the other Archetypes, she is wrong in saying that it is not a character "explicit in Dramatica's presentation. Her definition of the Love Interest perfect describes Dramatica's concept of the Influence Character -- a key and important character present in every complete story.

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Why I Love Dramatica Pro Software for Writers

Posted on December 4, 2013

Dramatica user Roddy J Driver elaborates on his affection for the theory with key insights like this:

It should be noted that this program cannot provide actual story ideas, such as ideas for a romance or a horror novel; what it does is take the preliminary ideas you have rolling around in your head and then provide ample methods and structured formatting for you to flesh out the ideas in ways hitherto not yet invoked. The beauty of it is that this allows the writer to turn a simple story idea into something phenomenal.

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Exploring the Influence Character

Posted on August 31, 2013

Story enthusiast Marc takes a look at Influence Characters. While he starts out covering the usual suspects (Ben in Star Wars, Buzz in Toy Story, Morpheus/Trinity in The Matrix) the interesting part happens when he starts offering up new examples of this important character in more recent films.

Everyone intuitively gets that a story has a main character, but what often gets overlooked is a special little story element known as the Influence Character. In contrast to the Main Character, the Influence Character is not the lens through which the audience experiences the story. Instead, the Influence Character challenges and prods the Main Character to consider another path, thereby also forcing the audience to rethink their point of view. The tension between these two characters creates much of story’s overall dramatic tension.

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A Lecture on Narrative Psychology

Posted on August 27, 2013

In a previously unreleased lecture on Narrative Psychology, Dramatica co-creator Melanie Anne Phillips discusses how stories fit into the communication process:

When we seek to communicate we can’t reach our audience directly – mind to mind . Rather, we must transmit our message through a medium. To do this, we fashion a symbolic representation of what we have in mind in the hope it will affect our audience the same way it does us. In effect, we create a model of what we are thinking and feeling for the audience to embrace. Which symbols we use depends upon our personal experiences and the culture in which we are working. But beneath the specific symbols are the essential human qualities that are the same in all of us – all cultures and all times.

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Dramatica Theory and Real World Problems

Posted on August 13, 2013

The Dramatica system and its problem-solving algorithms can be applied with equal success to the analysis of real-world situations as well, specifically in determining the motivations behind the actions of a target group and in the prediction of their future actions and potentials for action.

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New Developments in Objective Characters

Posted on July 25, 2013

Revisiting the idea of breaking down character into psychology, personality, persona and perception, Dramatica co-creator Melanie Anne Phillips outlines some new developments in the area of Objective Characters:

...new understandings indicate that even archetypal objective characters such as Protagonist, Antagonist, Reason or Emotion, who are not the main character (not the individual grappling with the story’s central message issue or moral) may still suffer internal dissonance in fulfilling their structurally mandated role within the greater Story Mind.

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The False Narrative

Posted on July 5, 2013

Melanie spends some time discussing stories that aren't really there:

Ultimately, rather than focusing solely on truth, awareness of the value and function of false narratives opens new perspectives by which one may become liberated from a singular point of view so that any consideration might be more flexible in the knowledge that while one narrative may appear to be definitive, there may be others which, even if in complete apparent contradiction with one another, may all, in fact, be equally and simultaneously both true and false.

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What Goes Where?

Posted on May 23, 2013

Author Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt offers a fantastic look at how Dramatica's approach to structuring a story can help 'seat of their pants' writers figure out what goes where:

If you find it freeing to have a basic structure set up so that when you come to write/revise a scene you don’t have to worry that you will forget to connect X to Y, because that’s already decided, and now you just have to deal with the scene that brings up X – you can at least consider Dramatica.

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