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2 minutes
September 25, 2016

The Dramatic Components Of Scenes

The smallest elements of structure loop back to the largest elements.

Continuing our deep dive into Scene Creation with Dramatica, we take a look at How Scenes Relate to Dramatica’s Story Elements:

One more bit of information, the “spiral” nature of the structure (recently described with insight by Armando) is such that the Type (Plot) level of the structure determines the dramatic circuits of ACTS, the Variation (Theme) level determines the dramatic circuits of SEQUENCES, the Element (Character) level determines the dramatic circuits from one SCENE to the next, and the spiral effect takes us back to the top Class (Genre) level which determines the dramatic circuits of the EVENTS within each Scene.

I’ve heard Melanie, co-creator of the Dramatica theory of story, describe this spiral effect before—where the bottom of the model loops back onto itself. Not sure exactly why that happens, or how one visualizes that, but it is interesting that each scene carries a Situation, Attitude, Activity, and Mentality.

So, each Event in a Scene will have a 1,2,3,4 for sequential order, a P,R,C,O, for context, and be a Situation (Universe), Attitude (Mind), Activity (Physics), and Mentality (Psychology). In other words, the four required Events for every complete dramatic movement at the Scene level will be something Situational, Attitude illustrative, Active, and exhibiting Mentality.

I’ll try and cover a few examples this week to illustrate this concept. Again, it’s strange to me to go into this much detail when it comes to writing. And Melanie herself explains in the article her fears over it leading to “writing by the numbers”.

However, if a greater understanding of the elements of scene structure leads to greater storytelling—why not look into it? Isn’t that what Dramatica is all about?

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