Can you explain why Dramatica forces certain choices?

There is something inherent to the built-in logic of the Dramatica story engine that I find somewhat disturbing....perhaps someone there can shed some light on this for me.

If one makes certain selections, for instance: Main Character Problem - Avoidance Unique Ability - Self Interest Critical Flaw - Openness ....then the only allowable story outcome is FAILURE.

This bothers me, because it means that to deal with that particular combination of MC characteristics, there is NO VALID STORYFORM in which the goal of the story can succeed. Yet success or failure happen at the end of the story.

If there is only one valid way to tell a story dealing with this particular set of characteristics---that it ends in failure---then what does that do to the suspense and surprise of the story? Shouldn't success or failure be unguessable until the MC reaches that point near the end where he has to make a leap of faith, and change or remain steadfast? If a successful outcome can't even be imagined as part of a viable storyform at that point, then how can an audience be convinced it could turn out any other way? If the Dramatica theory is correct and success is ruled out (in this case, for instance), won't the audience unconsciously recognize that and find the ending predictable? This seems to me to be a built-in bias in the software, or am I missing something?

In order to create any system, you must establish givens. The mere establishment of givens creates blind spots (areas that cannot be explored because they are too closely associated with the givens and, therefore, are not available to be considered) and paradoxes (areas that appear to break the rules established by the system).

When we put together the Dramatica model of story for the software, we chose to give it a Western cultural bias--that is, we chose the givens that are closest to those found in current, popular, American stories. It is one of those blind spots that you have found in your Avoidance/Self Interest/Openness = Failure storyform.

What this means is that in current American culture, people (MCs) that have a personal problem growing from Avoidance that also are uniquely suited to help the achievement of "big picture" goals because of personal Self Interest, will ultimately be unable to use their unique ability effectively which leads to a failure to achieve said goals if their personal Openness undermines their personal Self Interests.

Does this mean that there are no stories (storyforms) that exist where those story points might lead to Success? No, it does not mean that. It means that you won't find them in typical "American" stories. In order to tell a story like that you would need to find an alternative set of cultural givens, establish those givens and describe how the new set of givens impacts the relationships of items in the structural model (including the language/labels used to describe the items within the model).

I know this sounds like a cop out--who knows, maybe it is--but that's my best shot at describing why those set of items are only found in a FAILURE story.

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