Story Structure for Professional Writers

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Feedback from Writers

Letters of recommendation from novelists, playwrights & screenwriters.

on The Narrative First Site

Dramatica can be Positively Inscrutable at Times

Firstly, thank-you for the many articles on your site. As you know, Dramatica can be positively inscrutable at times, so without them, if I hadn't given up on Dramatica entirely, I probably would have ended up being thoroughly frustrated.

-- Anonymous

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I Know My Book Is Good

I just finished writing my first novel, Gable Street. I've been through nine revisions, and one of my ongoing struggles has been trying to make my story fit inside the traditional paradigms. It just didn't, so I gave up and wrote it the way my own psyche was telling me to write it.

With it all wrapped up at last, I set about to write the synopsis and queries. I have struggled for months with no success. Funny that one can write an 83,000-word novel and not be able to condense it. According to the story gurus that's because I must not be a good writer. I reject that notion. I've written a very good book.

So the reason I'm writing to you is to thank you for this blog site. Now that I've found Dramatica, I know my book is good, and I also know why I've struggled to write a synopsis. It's because the same gurus who tell you that you must have three acts, darkest moment, final battle, etc. etc/, also tell you how to write a synopsis. I didn't even understand what the story goal of my novel was until I found this site. The deficiency was not in my story, it was in the three-act template and the one-dimensional, narrow, linear narrative touted by the gurus. Now that I know that, I know who my protagonist is (surprisingly not my main character), and that there are four story through lines, I can describe my novel to agents. Using Dramatica to analyze my contents, everything fell into place.

Thank you so much for all these insightful and well crafted articles. They have made all the difference for me. When I write my next book, I'll be starting with Dramatica and maybe story structure will come clear in less time. It's also gratifying to know that we can trust our own psyches to lay out the story for us if we just listen to it, because that's what I mostly did.

-- Carolyn Hunt

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Until I Stumbled Across Your Site

I'd been trying to implement Dramatica in my writing for years. By the end, Dramatica was nothing more than a bungled mystery of vague concepts and seemingly unnecessary complexities suited to navel-gazing than actually getting any writing done...

...until I stumbled across your site.

So thanks for sharing all these great insights. SO helpful.

-- Wil Arndt

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Your site is like Mind Botox

Your site is like Mind Botox. My mind looks and feels a bit better and you've taken a few decades of 'learning frustration' away. Appreciate it!

-- Anonymous

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Spectacular! Spectacular!

Thanks! I do feel as though I'm recognizing things with greater clarity and speed than before. For example, I think I had Moulin Rouge's Domains/Concerns locked in my head by the time they finished the "Spectacular! Spectacular!" pitching song. The method to your madness is working!

-- Anonymous

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on Dramatica

Algorithms to Augment Storytelling

At times Dramatica can feel like such a powerful tool but there's a gap that you have to cross in applying it to your story. This week I just realized that Dramatica, the theory and software, represents a new kind of creative tool. We're using algorithms and computers to augment our storytelling. Dramatica reveals that the structure of stories is more complex than we thought, so we're relying on computers to reveal the patterns of the stories we want to tell.

-- Luke Coleman

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on The Dramatica Mentorship Program

A Priceless Education

Honestly what I love about all of this is that you and I are having this conversation and I'm applying it in real time. The education this way is priceless.

-- Anonymous

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I Understood My Book for the First Time

I worked on my book for two years. I was miserable the whole time because I didn’t know what it was about. Then I started to work with Jim. Before a month had gone by, I understood my book for the first time, and I’m finally excited to write it! Thank God for Jim!

-- Anonymous

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My Confidence as a Writer Grew

In fact I would definitely say my confidence as a writer grew with this playground...I felt a sense of accomplishment I haven't felt in years by completing it!

-- Mike Lucas

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on Dramatica Guru Consulting

A Real Pleasure to Work With

Dramatica is incredibly robust and can transform your story into something truly special...but it has a steep learning curve.

You can spend countless hours reading and rereading books and articles and poring over story analyses and still be at a loss as to how to actually use Dramatica to make your story better.

Or you can work with Jim to quickly learn how your story fits into the Dramatica model and discover where it works, where it doesn't, and how to make it the best it can be.

I can't recommend Jim's mentorship enough.

It has helped me understand Dramatica better than ever before and Jim has been a real pleasure to work with. He's thorough, patient, and knowledgeable, and has helped make my story so much more than it was when I first came to him.

-- Mike Matthews

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The Screenwriter's Paddle

Getting to the middle of a script often felt like being up shit creek without a paddle -- no idea which direction to go, each direction seemingly equally as shitty. Then I heard about the screenwriter's paddle -- Dramatica. But using a paddle, for some reason, is much, much harder than it looks on TV. Thankfully Jim Hull knows how to use a paddle. So if you're stuck on your story, contact Jim, the best guide on shit creek.

-- David Collard

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Thank God for Jim

Thank God for Jim!

-- Brian Davis

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Rid yourself of writer's block. Forever.

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