on Dramatica Guru Consulting
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
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
Thank God for Jim!
-- Brian Davis
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.
I didn't want to write a book following a clear-cut formula
Hello...and let me thank you for making me discover Dramatica.
At first I was like "what? It's so complicated !!" but the more I learned about it, the more interested I became in this story theory. I was mainly working on the Three Act Structure before and I don't know, no matter how much I mastered it I couldn't outline my story the way I wanted to. It always felt flat and purpose-less, despite knowing the main goal and what it took to achieve it.
I didn't want to write a book following a clear-cut formula, I wanted to write something that felt unique and meant something (the theme had to be part of the narrative without feeling preachy, simplistic or thrown in just because and it was HARD). My current book was giving me troubles because my Main Character wasn't cut out to be the protagonist and I wanted to know how to effectively separate the two without the MC storyline feeling out of place. That's how I discovered your blog, Dramatica and all of that.
I'm outlining my novel with the software and I'm having a lot of fun : it conveys my story perfectly and helps me filling holes in the storyform, as well as making me see things in a way I didn't before.
So thank you again !
I haven't felt so relieved
I can't thank you enough for this site. I truly, from the bottom of my heart cannot. I've been struggling against a number of instructors recently. They kept pushing and pushing, indicating that I was failing to grasp how to create a compelling protagonist because my main character 'does not change', while the rest of the characters around her do.
I had at once the sense of: am I truly not grasping a concept which all screenwriters must master... or are they applying concepts that are not necessary to my story?
Then I read your articles about the Changed vs. Steadfast protagonists, the difference between a hero, main character, and protagonist, want vs. need (there was a television agent running a workshop - not a writer - who hammered this over and over using completed and well-known works without ever telling us how to work with it ourselves)... and it all makes so much more sense now why I couldn't see a problem with what I was doing.
Thank you one thousand times over. I haven't felt so relieved in recent memory. I know I have a lot to learn. A lot to practice and work on, but my protagonist's viability? At least in this instance, that isn't one of them, and I'm just damn lucky that this site is here and that I found it (by breaking down and searching for 'Save the Cat' by the way).
-- Kathryn Graham
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
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!
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
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!