Articles

In-depth posts on story structure & story analysis

Articles

Writing a Scene with Subtext

Meaningful story structure accounts for the storyteller. If our understanding of psychology is correct and we see who we are, then a productive model of organized thought (structure) must consider the observer.

James R. Hull

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How to Classify the Atomic Elements of Story Structure

Effective story structure is more than an outline of what happens. For the order to mean something beyond the superficial, it must communicate something intrinsic to both the order and relationship between individual Storybeats.

James R. Hull

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Understanding the Purpose of Backstory

After twenty years in the animation industry and five more helping writers 1-on-1 develop their stories, one thing is clear--writers will do anything to avoid writing real conflict.

James R. Hull

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The Influence Character is Not a Character

Too many writers new to Dramatica and Subtext write the Influence Character Throughline as if the Main Character in their story.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Confirmation Bias of Pattern Matching

Many paradigms of story structure look at stories and identify common patterns. The Dramatica theory of story runs against the grain by looking to the psychological concept first and then looking to published works for confirmation.

James R. Hull

Articles

Intuition: Trusting The Intelligence Within

A recent discussion in the Discuss Dramatica forums illuminates the unfortunate consequence of a deductive mindset.

James R. Hull

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The Deduction Trap

As a theory of story, Dramatica tends to attract scientists and mathematicians. With its claims of connections to General Relativity and its discovery of "Quad"-ronometry, many find themselves compelled to strike down any claims of viability.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Mathematical Balance Between Logic and Emotion

The quest for perfect story structure often leads one to lean heavily upon scientific method. Deduction and definitions set stable ground for those uneasy beneath the umbrella of their own subjectivity.

James R. Hull

Articles

Finding the Source of Conflict in Your Story

The most challenging thing about writing a story is making choices. You can't write everything in your head and hope it all works out in the end.

James R. Hull

Articles

Time and Space in Dramatica: Rewriting the Story Limit

Appreciating the flow of consciousness through a story

James R. Hull

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The Relative Vibrations of Ford v. Ferrari

Reducing involved theoretical concepts to get to the heart of a story

James R. Hull

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Adapting Character Motivations to the Story Goal

The specific type of conflict defines the drive of a narrative

James R. Hull

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The Complete Guide to Justification

Appreciating the building blocks of effective narrative

James R. Hull

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Addressing the Recursive Nature of Dramatica

Down the endless rabbit hole of a narrative model

James R. Hull

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The Bias of the Current Dramatica Model (2020)

Wrapping your head around your head

James R. Hull

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Building Greater Sources of Conflict

Improving stories through greater inequity

James R. Hull

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Constructing Sources of Conflict for Your Story

Understanding the essence of narrative drive

James R. Hull

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The Basic Concepts Underlying the Dramatica Theory of Story

The formula for predictive psychology

James R. Hull

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Dramatica and a Narrative Model of the Mind

Setting the record straight

James R. Hull

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Writing a Story About Learning

Understanding the act of learning as a Source of Conflict

James R. Hull

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The Inside-Out Approach to Writing a Story

Developing a story with purpose

James R. Hull

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Why Story Structure Sometimes Feels Too Restrictive

The tendency of the Holistic to drift away from narrative structure

James R. Hull

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Writing with Methods

The cognitive functions of thematic intent

James R. Hull

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On Becoming a Therapist to Your Characters

Making a meaningful connection between Author and Audience

James R. Hull

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The Three Essential Components of Every Storypoint

Making a meaningful connection between Author and Audience

James R. Hull

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The Role of the Goal in a Holistic Story

The sophistication of holism lies in the eyes of the beholder

James R. Hull

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Understanding the Emotional Ladder of Relationships

Spiraling up from one emotional state and down to the next

James R. Hull

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Identifying Types of Plot in a Story

Understanding the relationship between Plot-level Concerns

James R. Hull

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The Path of the Write-ientious

Your premise is you.

James R. Hull

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The Myth of Writer's Block

The way through lies in knowing your artistic intent.

James R. Hull

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Walking the Path of Virtue

Getting to know your creative impulse

James R. Hull

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Cracking Open the Mind of the Storyteller

Breaking a few eggs on the path to greater understanding

James R. Hull

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Writing the Story That Is You

Getting to know your creative impulse

James R. Hull

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Decoding the Structure of a Personal Tragedy

Rewriting the meaning of an ending

James R. Hull

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Dialing In the Consequence of a Story

The effect an outcome plays in the loudness of failure.

James R. Hull

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The Relationship between Character Growth and Consequence

The effect character arc plays in what it means to fail.

James R. Hull

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Returning to The Heart of the Matter

Giving up on Dramatica.

James R. Hull

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Moving Beyond the Oppression of Linearity

Understanding the path of much resistance.

James R. Hull

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Story Structure that Eats the Author Alive

The greatest danger facing any writer is structure for structure's sake.

James R. Hull

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The Effect of Premise on Narrative Structure

Encoding meaning into the order of events.

James R. Hull

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The Ambiguous Author and the End of All Meaning

What it means to write with purpose.

James R. Hull

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The Debilitating Scourge of the Trope

How to cure oneself from a tragic virus of the mind.

James R. Hull

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Writing a Meaningful End to Conflict

Tying the climactic moment to a premise.

James R. Hull

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When Synthesis is Not Enough (Hint: Always)

The model of our mind that is a story.

James R. Hull

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The Purpose of an Ending: Star Wars and The Matrix Revealed

The effects of linearity & holism on structure

James R. Hull

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Story Structure We Can All Agree Upon

The unpredictability of values.

James R. Hull

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Theme Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Exposing the narrative elements of a story.

James R. Hull

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Understanding the Purpose of Narrative Structure

Structure is order, and order is meaning.

James R. Hull

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Skyfall: Finding the Synthesis in Dramatica

A modern understanding of conflict resolution.

James R. Hull

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A Synthesis in Search of a Solution

Presuming conflict to be a problem.

James R. Hull

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The Illusion of Fixing Problems

Moonshots require something more than synthetic solutions.

James R. Hull

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The Seductive Nature of Synthesis and Subject Matter

When a problem isn't a problem.

James R. Hull

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The Curse of the Hegelian Dialectic

The rational alone is unreal.

James R. Hull

Articles

Craig Mazin Loves Dramatica

The theory that defines the structure of a narrative argument.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Holistic Experience of Watching the Matrix

The difference between thinking holistically and holistically thinking.

James R. Hull

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Defining the Structure of a Premise

Order is everything.

James R. Hull

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The Holistic Approach to Working Through Conflict

Justifying as a means of solving problems.

James R. Hull

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Disconnection and the Holistic Mind

The first casuality of separation is an isolated self.

James R. Hull

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Heading Towards Being Present or Eventual Stagnation

A realignment of purpose that sends the mind in a new direction

James R. Hull

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A Holistic Understanding of Premise

Free your Storymind

James R. Hull

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Writing a Relationship that Counts towards a Premise

Balancing the objective with subjectivity.

James R. Hull

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Perspectives and Players in a Functioning Story

Understanding the purpose of a character.

James R. Hull

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Separating the Relationship from the Individuals in a Relationship

You and I are not We.

James R. Hull

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Re-Imagining the Key Relationship of Any Story

Measuring the dynamics of growth by the space in-between characters.

James R. Hull

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Separating Subject Matter from Story Structure

Digging deep to find intention.

James R. Hull

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How a Steadfast Character Changes the World

Appreciating a different way to solve conflict in our lives.

James R. Hull

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How to Illustrate Effective Narrative Conflict

Coding the machine within the machine.

James R. Hull

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The Narrative Structure of Christopher Nolan's Memento

Supporting premise through experience.

James R. Hull

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King's Canyon: Another Incomplete Blacklist Script

Propaganda masquerading as a story.

James R. Hull

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Unveiling the Narrative Elements of Story Structure

The very words we use hold us back.

James R. Hull

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Understanding How Character Arc Works

The purpose of growth is to support the premise, not the character.

James R. Hull

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Why Your Script is on the Blacklist

Gender politics factor little when it comes to writing a complete story.

James R. Hull

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The Problem with Writing a Story about Characters

Characters are not real people.

James R. Hull

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Writing Characters as Facets of a Single Human Mind

Breaking down the personality of a story.

James R. Hull

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Developing Complex Characters that Defy Expectation

Fascination involves moving away from Archetypal concepts of characterization.

James R. Hull

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Writing Characters Who Break the Mold

Moving away from the familiar and into the unexpected.

James R. Hull

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Understanding the True Motivations of Your Characters

Moving beyond morality to determine drive.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Definition of a Protagonist and Antagonist

Something more than simply the good guy or the bad guy of a story.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Lingering and Lasting Effects of a Story's Outcome

A discovery out of left field ignites the development of new story theory.

James R. Hull

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On Building a Narrative Argument for Your Story

Moving beyond the general to make a difference in your storytelling.

James R. Hull

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Writing Short Stories with Dramatica

Your Audience knows you're not telling them a complete story.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica: A Specific Approach to Understanding Narrative Structure

The problems of the generalist stand out upon closer examination.

James R. Hull

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Uncovering the Major Plot Points of a Complete Story

Tying Act Turns to the source of conflict ensures integrity in the narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Rethinking an Analysis of The Florida Project

A film that stays with you does so through a substantial and meaningful story structure.

James R. Hull

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Understanding the Continuum of a Narrative

The meaning of time and space and their impact on the order of events

James R. Hull

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How to Build a Narrative Argument

Support now exists for writers looking to strengthen their story's thematic argument.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica: The Journey Towards a Better Understanding of Story

With an objective theory as your guide, a path to greater clarity exists.

James R. Hull

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Not Your Usual Approach to Developing Stories

An innovative tool that helps you write a complete story in under an hour.

James R. Hull

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Unravelling the Story Structure Of Tangled: The Series

Thoughtful children’s programming delights old and young with purpose and meaning.

James R. Hull

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The Same Story: Aliens And Blade Runner: 2049

Stories that argue the same approach to resolving an inequity share the same narrative structure.

James R. Hull

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The Power of Implied Story Points to Frame a Narrative

A single story point does not a story make; the totality of all story points relate in a great schematic of meaning.

James R. Hull

Articles

How To Use Dramatica The Right Way: Part Two

The Dramatica theory of story: extra effort not included.

James R. Hull

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How to Use Dramatica the Right Way: Part One

Make it harder to learn in order to make it easier to understand.

James R. Hull

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Training the Next Generation of Storytellers

Accuracy and consistency in our understanding of the mechanism behind story paves the way for a brighter tomorrow.

James R. Hull

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Your Story is Schrödinger's Cat

Quantum theory and its application in the telling of great stories.

James R. Hull

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The Fugitive: When A Situation Isn’t A Situation

Returning to original terminology clears up misrepresentations of conflict found in narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Finding The Plot Of Your Story Through Theme

Determining the progression of events is easy once you identify the family of Thematic issues present in your story.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Storyform Of A Complete Story

Figure out what it is you want to say and the rest is easy.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Influence Character Of A Complete Story

The Influence Character is not a character, it is a perspective.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Domains And Throughlines Of A Complete Story

A balance of all four Throughline perspectives guarantees the integrity of a narrative.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Protagonist And Antagonist Of A Complete Story

Narratives develop integrity by ignoring commonly accepted value judgments of good and bad.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Goal And Consequence Of A Complete Story

A look towards the initial inequity sets the stage for a meaningful narrative.

James R. Hull

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Why You Need Four Acts Instead of Three

The middle of a story requires greater definition than the beginning or the end.

James R. Hull

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Narrative Structure Gives Purpose to Story

Story structure may not be everything, but every story needs structure.

James R. Hull

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Generating Dramatic Tension Within Each Act of Your Story: Part Five

The right to write rests within anyone possessing the inclination to say something meaningful and true.

James R. Hull

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Generating Dramatic Tension Within Each Act of Your Story: Part Four

The path through narrative begins on one side of the internal/external fence and ends on the other.

James R. Hull

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Generating Dramatic Tension Within Each Act Of Your Story: Part Three

When it comes to increasing pressure on the characters in a story, look to the negative influences available within the structure.

James R. Hull

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Generating Dramatic Tension Within Each Act Of Your Story: Part Two

For Two-Act structures, tension exists with the juxtaposition of two key plot points.

James R. Hull

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Generating Dramatic Tension Within Each Act Of Your Story: Part One

Understanding how your characters feel requires stepping out of their shoes and looking at them from a dispassionate objective view.

James R. Hull

Articles

Dramatica: A Fractal Model Of Story Structure

Acts within Acts within Acts within Acts; the structure of a story cascades into an unending pattern.

James R. Hull

Articles

Finding The Major Dramatic Question Of Your Story

An accurate account of the tension within a story requires writers to take an objective view of their story.

James R. Hull

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Identifying The Number Of Acts In Your Story

The number of Acts in your story depends on the underlying thematic material you wish to explore.

James R. Hull

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The Difference Between Becoming And Being In Dramatica

Apply oneself to the study of the differences in the types of conflict found within a complete narrative.

James R. Hull

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The Purpose Behind Every Great Story

By reflecting ourselves, a great narrative challenges us to grow beyond our own preconceptions.

James R. Hull

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Rethinking And Revisiting The Reservoir Dogs Analysis

As understanding grows, so too does the appreciation of a well-crafted and thoughtful narrative.

James R. Hull

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The Crucial Element to Telling a Great Story

The most important part of any story exists at the intersection of the objective and subjective points-of-view within the narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Finding Your Own Unique Voice When Writing for Nanowrimo

Learn how to connect your heart's deepest desires with the structure of your story to create a compelling and meaningful narrative.

James R. Hull

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Finding Inspiration for Nanowrimo Within a Great Story

If moved by a particular story, Authors can use the storyform at the heart of it to relay the same meaningful message to their own Audiences.

James R. Hull

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Brainstorming a Brand New Genre for Nanowrimo

By combining our Gist Collections, writers can challenge their preconceptions of story to create something never seen before.

James R. Hull

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Creating a Story from Scratch for Nanowrimo

Enthusiasm and dedication can take you only so far--a strong foundation and meaningful story structure will give you purpose and direction.

James R. Hull

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How to Find the Narrative Code Within a Great Story

Great writers need to be great analysts in order to fully understand the mechanism of their stories.

James R. Hull

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The Varied Scene Illustrations of Ex Machina

Great stories blend structure and experience in their attempt to reach out and connect with another.

James R. Hull

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Ex Machina: The Narrative Code Hidden Within the Machine

In order to unlock the thematic message locked deep inside a story, both Author and analyst must maintain an objective point-of-view.

James R. Hull

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Writing Perfect Scene Structure with Dramatica

Advanced narrative theory now offers writers an opportunity to achieve the ultimate structure for their stories.

James R. Hull

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Unlocking the Empathy of Your Audience

The combination lies in the application of a key Dramatica concept--the Main Character's Approach to solving personal problems.

James R. Hull

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The Essential Ingredients of Every Complete Story

Instead of relying on taste, Authors should look to what they have to work with in order to create the most delicious story.

James R. Hull

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The True Nature of Story

Wrapping up our series on Audience Appreciations, we elevate our understanding of narrative and begin to see it as a complex web of relationships.

James R. Hull

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The Refusal of the Call: The Resistance or Flow Through a Narrative

The Main Character's personal problems define the flow of energy through a story.

James R. Hull

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How To Tell If Your Main Character Faces Overwhelming Or Surmountable Odds

Understanding the science behind narrative opens up the channels of communication between Author and Audience.

James R. Hull

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Predicting Who Will Listen To Your Story

Slight adjustments to the structure of your story can guarantee a larger audience.

James R. Hull

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Using Dramatica To Assess Narratives In The Real World

By understanding the structural and dynamic appreciations of narrative, the storytellers of today can be masters of their own destinies.

James R. Hull

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9 Steps Towards Telling Your Story

Create a framework of narrative around the events in your life and transform the inconsequential into something truly meaningful.

James R. Hull

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Transforming Real Life into a Story

Turning the events of our lives into meaningful narrative requires an understanding of how our minds operate.

James R. Hull

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Star Trek: The Case For Writing A Screenplay With Dramatica

If it worked the first time, why change it up?

James R. Hull

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The Difference Between Star Trek And Star Wars

If you remove what you think is the source of conflict from a story and there is still trouble, you haven't properly identified the source of conflict.

James R. Hull

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Understanding the Personal Goal of Your Main Character

The Dramatica theory of story makes it easy for Authors to determine what is of utmost concern to their Main Characters--if you understand what Dramatica is asking.

James R. Hull

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When Backstory Is Not Backstory

Writers can determine what is necessary and what isn't by looking to the storyform of their narrative.

James R. Hull

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Writers Who Write The Same Main Character

Writers gravitate to that emotional irritant deep within them and use a story to help work through solving their own personal problems.

James R. Hull

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The Forces Of Influence Felt Between The Two Principal Characters Of A Story

In addition to actual concrete connections, there are forces of influence that bind the Main Character and Influence Character of a story together.

James R. Hull

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Finding Connections Between The Two Principal Characters Of A Story

Look for meaning in Dramatica's story points and you will be hard pressed to find it; look for an answer as to where to go next in your story and you will find nirvana.

James R. Hull

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The Veil Between Author And Audience

Writers get into trouble when they try to understand what their story means while they are creating it.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica And The Importance Of Relationships

The key to really getting Dramatica is to understand that it is all about the narrative relationships the theory models.

James R. Hull

Articles

How To End Writer's Block Forever

Know what it is you want to say and learn to use a tool that keeps you on the straight & narrow as you write that first draft.

James R. Hull

Articles

Discovering the Story You Never Knew

A strong and resilient system for looking at narrative makes it easier to play at writing.

James R. Hull

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Finding Your True Self Through Writing

Continuing last week's article on generating story ideas, we take a look at how to get up close and personal with your deepest intentions.

James R. Hull

Articles

Generating An Abundance Of Story Ideas

If you want to write something unique and original, identify your story's deep meaning and then write similar stories as a means to brainstorm a better, fresher approach.

James R. Hull

Articles

Screenwriting With Outliner4D And Dramatica On A Mac

Keep track of your story's rich thematics with the powerful Outliner4d.

James R. Hull

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How To Write A Television Series

Crafting a serialized narrative is easy once you know the storyform.

James R. Hull

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The Problem With Reverse-Engineering Dramatica

Unraveling the mysteries of story theory is another way of avoiding writing.

James R. Hull

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The Fault In Our Stars: An Anatomy Of An Analysis

An effective analysis of a film requires an objective sounding board. Dramatica offers that opportunity.

James R. Hull

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A Method For Generating Conflict

Position one truth against another and you'll find the foundation for a great narrative.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica's Definitions Are Not Your Own

Dramatica improves commonly understood concepts of narrative in an effort to improve our understanding of story.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica And What It Means For Story

Look closely and you will see more than a rebranding of ancient texts.

James R. Hull

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How An Inequity--And A Story--Is Made

Human psychology dictates story structure.

James R. Hull

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The Actual and Apparent Nature of Story

Is the dilemma facing the Main Character real?

James R. Hull

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A Collaborative Environment Unlike Any Other

Dramatica keeps a room full of writers focused and productive.

James R. Hull

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Using Dramatica in the Real World

Using story theory to fix broken stories.

James R. Hull

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The Fallacy of the Two Hander

No such thing as a two-hander, just a misunderstanding of story.

James R. Hull

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The Idea of the Script Consultant

They're not as sinister as the professionals make them out to be.

James R. Hull

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All You Ever Needed to Know About Dramatica

Dramatica differentiates itself by making the optional essential.

James R. Hull

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Outlining a Television Series with Dramatica

By crafting purpose and meaning into every episode, the writer/producer guarantees an Audience for the entire season.

James R. Hull

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Always Be Reading

James R. Hull

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Screenwriting with Fountain

James R. Hull

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Outlining Screenplays with Dramatica and Fountain

James R. Hull

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Always Be Writing

James R. Hull

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Understanding Dramatica's Complex Terminology Made Easier

Big or small, appreciations of story structure point to the same thing.

James R. Hull

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Don't Use Other Movies as Reference

Complete stories do not share the same structure.

James R. Hull

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The Secret Behind Great Character Relationships

Look to the dynamics of a relationship: the ebb and flow, the growth and the dissolution.

James R. Hull

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On the Need for Plot Points

An objective view of story helps an Author better understand the events that drive their narrative forward.

James R. Hull

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Dramatica Success: The Skeptic's Worst Nightmare

When theory moves beyond the theoretical and finds triumph in practical application.

James R. Hull

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Structure Is Not What Happens When

A comprehensive understanding of story structure leads one to appreciate what is behind said, not what is seen.

James R. Hull

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When Stories Feel Like Other Stories

Stories that argue the same basic message do so with a similar structure.

James R. Hull

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Expanding the Playground

Broaden the depth of your storytelling by leaning heavily on story structure.

James R. Hull

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Finding Your Main Character

The very best way to get to know the most important character of your story is to write something else.

James R. Hull

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The Main Character Playground

A new writing exercise for writers promises to unlock their creativity.

James R. Hull

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The Tragedy of James Bond the Antagonist

It can be misleading to suggest that Bond works against a successful resolution.

James R. Hull

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The Crucial Element of Screenwriting in Action

The connection point between subjective & objective throughlines highlights a key narrative element.

James R. Hull

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On Dramatica's Extraordinary Sense of Perception

The theory feels like magic because it is based on psychological processes we don't usually consider.

James R. Hull

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The Schizophrenic Stories of Pixar's Brave

Two directors resulted in two stories masquerading as one.

James R. Hull

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The Wormhole Between Author and Audience

A hidden report in Dramatica bridges the gap between the two sides of a story.

James R. Hull

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The Mechanism of Story at Work

The purpose of Acts is to set different contexts for the resolution of a story's central problem.

James R. Hull

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The Relationship Behind Every Great Story

Understand what must be done for the relationship to succeed and you will find the source of conflict between them.

James R. Hull

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Unraveling the Uselessness of the Trope

Many writers waste their time codifying what essentially boils down to opinion.

James R. Hull

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Problems of Character Reflected in Story

The personal issues of the Main Character reflect issues in the larger world.

James R. Hull

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A Blueprint for Effective Character Development

A convincing Character Arc consists of two key appreciations of story structure

James R. Hull

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The Problem with Problems of Character

Complete stories balance sources of conflict with instances of resolution.

James R. Hull

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The Story Structure of True Detective

Form does not determine structure; the same psychological process that fuels film also runs through the bloodstream of television.

James R. Hull

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Bringing Gravity to Gravity

A missing piece of narrative structure, key to establishing a complete story, left this film with little left to offer except one helluva' ride.

James R. Hull

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Dumbing Down Dramatica

Narrative theorists managed to dilute their insights by making their work more palatable.

James R. Hull

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The Science of Storytelling

The Dramatica theory of story is the most comprehensive understanding of our need to tell stories.

James R. Hull

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The Toy Story Dilemma

Does Woody really have a change of heart...or does he strengthen his resolve?

James R. Hull

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Tying the Towers of Story Structure Together

James R. Hull

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A Separation: Predicting Greatness

James R. Hull

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A Separation: Blueprint of a Masterpiece

Look no further than this gem from Iran for a lesson in superior storytelling.

James R. Hull

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Screenwriting: Beating the Odds

James R. Hull

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A Positive Spin on Problems

James R. Hull

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Story Consultants: The Snake-Oil Salesmen of Screenwriting

Flimflammers or people who have grown tired of incomplete and pointles stories?

James R. Hull

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Directly Solving Problems Indirectly

James R. Hull

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Losing Sight of the Main Character

Without a properly defined Main Character Throughline, Audiences quickly lose interest.

James R. Hull

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Genius Doesn't Know Genius

Do as I do, not as I say.

James R. Hull

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Why The Main Character's Approach

The central character of a narrative focuses their initial efforts on the source of their personal problems.

James R. Hull

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Flipping Perspectives

An effective character arc measures both the growth and resolve of the point-of-view.

James R. Hull

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A Reason for Rules

Structure grants meaning and gives purpose to a complete story.

James R. Hull

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The Scientific Study of Story

James R. Hull

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Narrative Science and the Evolution of Story

James R. Hull

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Starlight and Character Arc

Comparing the phyiscal universe to our internal universe.

James R. Hull

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Change Your Character Doesn't Need

James R. Hull

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Perfect Story Structure

James R. Hull

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Avoiding the False Moment

James R. Hull

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The Shawshank Analysis

The love for this film stems from our shared psychology.

James R. Hull

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The Goal of Every Story, The Goal of Every Author

Focus determines narrative structure.

James R. Hull

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Rearranging the Broken Psychology

Seeking resolution by changing how others think, not what they think.

James R. Hull

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Overcoming Difficult Situations

Story goals that find characters breaking free of being stuck in the external world.

James R. Hull

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Uprooting the Fixed Mindset

Story goals that find characters breaking free of being stuck within their own mind.

James R. Hull

Articles

Achieving Story Goals That Are Not Achievements

Clearly defining the type of Goal needed to resolve a story.

James R. Hull

Articles

Unlocking the Structural Code of the Story Goal

Understand that the Goal of a story is more than something that is won or lost.

James R. Hull

Articles

The True Champion of Chinatown

The identity of the real Protagonist in this narrative will shock you.

James R. Hull

Articles

Why Theory Matters

James R. Hull

Articles

Protagonist and Antagonist: Beyond Hero and Villain

Considering their functional purpose within a story helps establish a sound and effective narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Unraveling Tangled

James R. Hull

Articles

The Inciting Incident of Star Wars

Every complete story begins with the creation of an inequity, an inequity that requires resolution.

James R. Hull

Articles

Distrust the Process

Nothing worse than winging it. If you have no purpose, you have no purpose telling stories.

James R. Hull

Articles

Conflict of a Different Nature

Seeking internal conflict within a predominantly external medium.

James R. Hull

Articles

Drawing the Audience In

The path towards empathy requires a clear Main Character personal Throughline.

James R. Hull

Articles

Exotic Story Structure Often Unexplored

Moving off the beaten path of narrative structure and into uncharted territory.

James R. Hull

Articles

Naturally Structuring a Story for Conflict

Forcing a narrative into a predetermined structure plasters a story with artificiality.

James R. Hull

Articles

Not-So Familiar Patterns of Story Structure

Shifting the conflict experienced by the Main Character into a different area creates a unique kind of story.

James R. Hull

Articles

Familiar Patterns of Story Structure

Exploring the same kind of conflict within a narrative results in a common structural conceit.

James R. Hull

Articles

A Conflict Unlike Any Other

A complete story sources conflict from four different distinct areas.

James R. Hull

Articles

The End of the Three-Act Structure

James R. Hull

Articles

Chasing the Protagonist

The Protagonist: more than someone who wants something 'badly enough to drive a story.'

James R. Hull

Articles

To Tell a Tale, To Craft a Story

James R. Hull

Articles

Blockbuster Films and the Main Character

James R. Hull

Articles

The Magic of the Storyform

James R. Hull

Articles

Harry Potter and the Amulet of Story Structure

The first film may have provided a clue to the narrative structure of the entire series.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Religion of Story Structure

James R. Hull

Articles

Story Goals and Why They Exist

James R. Hull

Articles

The Sound of Music: Making History Meaningful

James R. Hull

Articles

Female Main Characters Who Think Like Female Main Characters

James R. Hull

Articles

Black Swan and Star Wars: Cousins of Story Structure

These two disparate films share common thematic elements—and it has nothing to do with the Hero's Journey.

James R. Hull

Articles

How to Figure Out Your Character's Arc

James R. Hull

Articles

The Difference Between Neo and Sarah Connor

One is a Protagonist. The other is not.

James R. Hull

Articles

Dysfunctional Families and Their Stories

James R. Hull

Articles

Framing Devices and What They Mean

James R. Hull

Articles

Dramatica: Mad Libs or Madly Accurate?

James R. Hull

Articles

Forget the Cat, Save Yourself!

James R. Hull

Articles

Understanding the Arc of a Main Character

James R. Hull

Articles

The True Nature of the Inciting Incident

Stories begin with an inequity, one that isn't tied to the central character.

James R. Hull

Articles

Triumphs of Tragedy: Black Swan and The Wrestler

James R. Hull

Articles

How to Fix Hanna

While this story lacked a significant change of perspective, the pieces were in place to accomplish this important task.

James R. Hull

Articles

Mildred Pierce

James R. Hull

Articles

What Story Structure Is and Isn't

James R. Hull

Articles

The Real Magic Behind Great Stories

James R. Hull

Articles

Heroes That Aren't

The central character of a story is a perspective, not a champion.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Mechanics Behind Want Vs. Need

The difference between the two lies within the concept of justification.

James R. Hull

Articles

Heroes Who Don't Change

Growth is one thing, significantly changing your point-of-view is another.

James R. Hull

Articles

Learning Heroes vs. Teaching Heroes

Understanding the importance of the Resolve of the Main Character.

James R. Hull

Articles

Writing a Screenplay with Dramatica

James R. Hull

Articles

What It Means to Fail

James R. Hull

Articles

When Failure Becomes a Good Thing

Sometimes, the efforts to resolve a situation would only make matters worse.

James R. Hull

Articles

How to Train Your Inciting Incident

James R. Hull

Articles

Applying Pressure to the Main Character

Keeping the balance between internal and external pressures.

James R. Hull

Articles

What You're Missing By Not Understanding Dramatica

An appreciation of narrative that moves beyond the superficial.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Delectable and Exquisite Themes of Ratatouille

James R. Hull

Articles

Meaningful Storytelling: An Analysis of Inception

James R. Hull

Articles

Sophisticated Story Goals

James R. Hull

Articles

The Structure of a Short Story

James R. Hull

Articles

The Antagonists of Inception

The Antagonist of a story represents the forces of reticence in the narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Accurate Story Structure Ain't Easy

James R. Hull

Articles

The Reason for Acts

James R. Hull

Articles

Organizing Your Screenwriting Life with the iPhone and iPad

James R. Hull

Articles

Four Acts, Not Three

The idea of a Three Act structure dates itself as an incomplete understanding of the flow of narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Plot Points and the Inciting Incident

Understanding when the problem of the story starts sets an author straight.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Illusion of Change

James R. Hull

Articles

When Film Analysis Goes Bad

James R. Hull

Articles

The True Definition of a Protagonist

James R. Hull

Articles

Successful Short Story Adaptations

James R. Hull

Articles

Avoiding The False Moment Of Character

Fixing a story requires a proper understanding of narrative structure.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Handshake and the Machine

Deus Ex Machina and the end of meaning.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Difference Between Neo and Luke Skywalker

While some contend these two share a similar heroic journey, an understanding of conflict personal to them proves otherwise.

James R. Hull

Articles

Not Everything Is A Hero's Journey

Time for this nonsense to finally come to a resounding end.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Pacific vs. Band of Brothers

The structural difference between triumph and tragedy.

James R. Hull

Articles

Avatar and the Broken Main Character

An unclear Resolve breaks empathy and trust with the Audience.

James R. Hull

Articles

Avatar and Star Wars: Spectacle Over Substance

The Archetypal Characters found in both blockbusters serve an important function.

James R. Hull

Articles

Dramatica: Story Theory for the 21st Century

Moving beyond Aristotle and remedial explanations of story structure.

James R. Hull

Articles

Why The MacGuffin Is A Joke

The idea of the MacGuffin was never intended to be, nor should it ever be, taken seriously.

James R. Hull

Articles

You Don't Know Jack

Effective story structure supports the Author's message.

James R. Hull

Articles

Up In The Air

Connecting the Main Character's personal problem with the story's larger problem creates a meaningful and lasting narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

The Main Character's Central Problem

Tying the personal problem to the bigger conflict facing everyone in a story.

James R. Hull

Articles

Narrative Drive and Weak Protagonists

The drive to resolve inequity fuels the engine of story.

James R. Hull

Articles

Redefining Protagonist and Main Character

Understanding the signficant difference between these two concepts of narrative.

James R. Hull

Articles

Writing Complete Stories

The secret to success lies in a consistent use of the Four Throughlines of narrative.

James R. Hull