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The Legacy Of Dramatica

A new section on the central site sets the stage for a look at the development of a thought-provoking theory of story.

Excellent news today for fans of the Dramatica theory of story! In addition to the new classes and workshops to be offered soon by Narrative First and Storymind, historical documents covering the creation of Dramatica are now being published at dramatica.com/legacy.

When I built the new site at Dramatica.com I always envisioned having a repository of the creation of the theory itself. It is fascinating to hear the ideas and concepts Chris and Melanie worked through on their way to what we now know as Dramatica. Many of the core principals can be found in these documents.

A few choice nuggets from the first document Story:

Because this is a system of interrelationships between elements rather than their content, any fixed view of the elements can only be partially correct.

Even here in the beginning Melanie and Chris stress the importance that what they're talking about is not the elements themselves, but rather the interrelationship between these elements. The elements of story are simply touch points between the actual inequity that drives a story. This is why you need all four Throughlines: each describes the inequity from a different point of view.

It is this perspective that a critic will take in evaluating a work: not just that the Author created a work meaningful to himself that was structurally sound, but a work that moved the audience as well. And the sophisticated Author will take that perspective as well during the creation of his work.

This paragraph is fantastic. This perspective is the one we take when we look at our story through the eyes of Dramatica. That's why it feels like it works better as an analysis tool rather than a creation tool. We are working as our own critic of our story.

These two paragraphs on the "Fourth Perspective" say it all:

When you sit in the role of Author, you evaluate the relationships between your Character, your Story, and your audience. When you sit in the role of Audience, you evaluate the relationships between the Character, the Story, and the Author. When you sit in the role of Character, you evaluate the relationships between, Story, Audience (how others see you), and Author (the all seeing God). But there is a fourth perspective, the one we spoke of earlier--the view external to all minds. You gain that perspective when you sit in the role of the Story. When you view Character, Audience, and Author all at once from the Story perspective, you can evaluate the relationships between the three observers.

That fourth perspective is Dramatica. Though they call it Story here in this document (strangely enough a few years prior to McKee's manhandling of that title), the intention is the same: to define narrative from a completely different point of view.

Read it and re-read it and enjoy. I'll be putting up more as they come in!