One of the best tips I can give to new Dramatica users is this: Test drive Dramatica BEFORE you try to fix your story's problems. Do not try to introduce yourself to Dramatica's concepts while struggling with your story. Learn what Dramatica has to offer. Then run your story through Dramatica's paces. Here's how to do this.
Put whatever story you're working on to the side for a moment and do the following:
- Open one of the structure template files (screenplay, novel, or short story) and SAVE AS... "Test Story."
- Click on the StoryGuide tile (the one that says "Start Here")
- Select Level One
- Get yourself an egg timer or one of those three-minute "hour glasses" that come with some board games.
- Pick a familiar fairy tale or decide to make up a story.
- Proceed through the Level One StoryGuide with the fairy tale or made-up story as your test story. The important thing is to get a sense of what Dramatica can do for you first--BEFORE you try fixing your own story's problems.
- Have fun. Don't take this "exercise" too seriously. This is only a test story, not a story in which you have personal investment.
- Spend no more than three minutes on ANY topic. Use the timer or hourglass if you need reminding.
- For fill-in-the-blank questions, enter one or two sentences, or leave it blank if you run out of time.
- For multiple choice questions, choose anything arbitrarily if you run out of time.
- Continue on through the StoryGuide until you reach the part where you begin creating and describing scenes or chapters. At this point you can choose to stop this exercise or continue until the end of the scene building.
Once you have gone through the Level One StoryGuide once, you'll have a better understanding of the basics of what Dramatica can do for your writing. Take what you've learned and go through the process with your own story.