Dramatica functions like a time machine. Speeding you past months of rewrites and dead-end alleys, the theory sheds light on bad story choices while it offers up potentially better ones. Unfortunately, learning how to use it slows time down to a crawl. You need to trick your brain into thinking it’s not using Dramatica in order to get back up to speed.
Discovering a character true to your voice is one thing. Making sure that character fits with everything else you want to say is quite another. Thankfully, writers of the 21st century now have a tool to make that process easy and productive.
Many writers rally against story theory. How can a construct of chains possibly compete with the intuition of the artist? Story gurus and theoreticians can pontificate all they want, but their uncertified claims lie dormant. The proof, it would seem, lies in a writing exercise designed to illicit the strengths of both the inspiration of the artist and the wisdom of the structuralist.
Learning to work with Dramatica challenges the mind. On an intuitive level writers sense the accuracy of its concepts and endeavor to incorporate these new understandings in their work. Unfortunately, trouble can sometimes arise when putting theory to practice.
When does story theory overcomplicate the writing process? The drive to understand all that is Dramatica sometimes works against Authors. In a case where too much knowledge can be a bad thing, suppressing the urge to overthink may prove beneficial.
‘Tis not a typo. If a functioning story resembles a single human mind trying to solve a problem then the duplicitous and haphazard nature of Pixar’s Brave suggests a split-personality. A psychotic mess of storytelling, this film of two minds exemplifies the need for a better understanding of story structure.
When we see things the way they appear, we don’t notice the distortion. Without a demarcation line marked TRUE in big bold letters, we have no idea the true nature of what it is we are looking at. This dissonance between the observed and observer pinpoints a major pain point for writers: the failed first draft.
A process for delivering meaning. Story exists as a carrier wave for an Author’s intent. Many want to say much, but much gets lost in the many ways of sending that message. Writers who comprehend the machine can convey their purpose with greater accuracy.
Protagonists fight for the central Goal of a story. Antagonists prevent it. Amidst this epic struggle a relationship develops between two principal characters, a relationship that reflects and balances out the more obvious fight between good guy and bad guy. To maintain this parity between big picture and bonding, Authors may find the idea of a Relationship Story Goal helpful.
A malaise threatens the landscape of screenwriting. A dark pretentious cloud of misunderstanding and misdirection, this fiend fogs the minds of would-be Authors and reduces the beauty of subtle complication to clickable buzz words. It’s name? The Trope.
Effective story structure is more than hitting familiar emotional beats or rising complications of plot. Structure exists to grant Audiences a better appreciation of the problems in their lives. The narrative’s ability to shift contexts while looking at the same thing presents an opportunity of understanding unheard of, and thus demands careful consideration.
Wants. Needs. Character Arc and Backstory. When it comes to developing a strong central character, many do the best they can with these simple-to-grasp, yet disparate concepts of story. Effective character development calls for a system of story points that function as a cohesive whole.
When granted a new understanding of story, writers tend to latch onto one or two key items. They sense the benefit of a new story point for their writing and quickly add it to their tool belt. The problem lies in assuming this new understanding a lone operator.
Format does not determine structure. Whether screenplay, novel, or play, a complete story calls for the same basic ingredients. Television series work the same–they simply take longer to simmer.
Audiences loved Gravity. Critics praised the film. And while the filmmakers’ peers loved Gravity–as evidenced by the 7 Academy Awards it won including Best Director and Best Cinematography–there was one award they kept from it.
Familiarity and ease of use comes with a cost. Making things simpler confuses something that needs a degree of complexity to be understood. Stories exist as analogies to our minds ability to solve problems. While those minds might be simple, the tools to examine them shouldn’t.
Monumental leaps in understanding herald the progress of man. Fire. The wheel. Indoor plumbing. Dramatica. The latest development in our understanding of narrative has the potential to improve things far better than the ability to cook our meat.