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Dramatica: The Gift that Keeps Giving

Daily wisdom designed to develop further the Dramatica theory of story.

As of late, I fill my mornings with Wisdom. Inspired by a post recommending starting your day with “Water, Wisdom, Walking, Workout, and Writing” I take to The Daily Stoic or Godin’s latest This is Marketing to tick off one of these five and start my day off in the right direction.

My arms are still recovering from yesterday’s Workout. 😆

This morning, it dawned on me that there exists a wealth of Wisdom not about centuries-old philosophy or current business trends, but a rather complex and beautiful theory of narrative psychology: Dramatica.

Mornings with Melanie

Melanie Anne Phillips, co-creator of the Dramatica theory of story, is the most fascinating person in the world. While her personal life is chronicled well in a video we recorded on Dramatica: Past, Present, Future, and Beyond, it’s her thoughts and musings on the Dramatica theory of story that strikes my interest this morning.

In 2019, I plan on setting Seth and Seneca aside to focus on her writings. Dense and voluminous as they are, Melanie’s work calls for short, bite-sized observations and reflections. If you're familiar with the scope of her work, you know that taking this approach sets one up for a lifetime of work and discovery.

A gift that keeps on giving.

My findings will take the form of short blog posts here on Narrative First, and will serve as the foundation for further development of the Dramatica theory of story.

I’m calling them Mornings with Melanie.

And I hope you’ll join me.

The Dynamic Model and Resolve

The idea that there exists an as-yet-to-be-explores area of Dramatica excites me. Having witnessed countless examples of the accuracy of the current Structural model in books and film, I find compelled to develop this Great Unknown.

Turning to Melanie’s self-published book Narrative Dynamics, I’m struck by her puzzle over what is there if nothing exists, and her revelation that:

structurally [nothing] is black, and dynamically it is grey

and the following notion that:

[this] solves the problem of a mind that cannot choose between two mutually exclusive but equally valid solutions by invoking the forces from outside the closed frame of reference for the thought problem by realizing that each solution is the only one, depending upon the external context

For some reason, I connect this with the Main Character Resolve and the idea of the Leap of Faith.

That both Direction and Solution, from the perspective of the Main Character, seem valid “solutions” because both are correct.

It’s the external context of the Overall Story Throughline that determines the objective Truth.

Or, if you prefer, the Author’s Truth.

Never Trust a Hero.

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