We just uploaded the Dramatica storyforms for Arrival and The Yellow Birds to our Storyforms section here at Narrative First—and boy oh boy, were we delightfully surprised.
The storyform we published for our initial analysis of Arrival called for an Influence Character Unique Ability of Prediction and an Influence Character Critical Flaw of Suspicion. If there were ever two more descriptive words of the Alien Heptapods influence over the actual story of Arrival, those two would be them.
The Influence Character Unique Ability is the one thing that makes the Influence Character able to uniquely challenge and impact the Main Character to change his or her way of approaching problems. Unbridled by time, the Aliens come from the future and are uniquely able to predict the future for Louise…Prediction, therefore, is a wonderful indicator of this ability.
The Influence Character Critical Flaw is the one thing that weakens or lessens the impact the Influence Character has over the Main Character. Clearly, their silence and enigmatic ways make the Aliens suspicious of nefarious and underhanded schemes…Suspicion, therefore, makes sense as the kind of thing that would dampen their ability to inspire Louise to change her way of thinking.
When we set out to do an analysis of a film, we often find ourselves away from our computer—at least, one with Dramatica Story Expert installed. We wrote our analysis of Arrival during a story meeting and finished it up afterwards in a nearby coffee shop. Finding out after the fact that the selections we made implied these two very important story points only confirms that the choices we made were accurate.
This is the best part about a holistic approach to story structure—error checking inherent to the system. If one part of the understanding fails, the entire thing falls apart. If, on the other hand, all the parts “sing” then you know you found the most accurate definition of the story’s dynamics.
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