Fiction writing is as diverse and complex as any other form for story telling. So if you've got the next lunch time "book" in you or the new century's first Great American Novel, ask your question, give some insight or just plain gab about the craft.
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Postby szore » Apr 19, 2008 9:04 am

Hello all,

I am a new Dramatica user, and I find myself using the short story template to storyform and develop my sub-plots in my novel. Also I am taking my protagonist and antagonist and switching their roles in a new storyform where the Protagonist sees himself as the good guy. Does anyone else do these things and is it productive? Any thoughts or advice on how to used dramatica to deepen your characters or story? Please share



Re: Sub-Plots

Postby senlewis » Dec 27, 2008 11:10 am

It depends on what you want to happen in the story. You can make a story where the protagonist thinks he's the good guy and only gloss over some of traits but later as the story advances, show some of the inconsistancies and have another character notice it and discover that something is not right.

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Re: Sub-Plots

Postby forty » Aug 13, 2010 7:53 am

Subplots are allies' and enemies' challenges that undergo the process of resolution. They follow the same path of resolution as the hero's / main character's path. You can relate it to sitcom (teh A-story, the B-story etc).

So give them more challenges.

Depth is achieved by giving the characters multiple challenges and classes of challenges.
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Re: Sub-Plots

Postby Pieta » Nov 05, 2010 5:04 am

Shakespeare does it in Macbeth. It's hard though, because you end up with a grisly tale and you get absorbed in the MC point of view, kind of like doing Red Dragon from Lecters point of view. It's bad enough that it's from the point of view of the messed up profiler; even worse from the villain's point of view. I remember the first time I read Macbeth how grisly it felt, but it was Halloween so I allowed for a little of that. I heard they did one Halloween episode from the villain's point of view -- Halloween 6 or something like that. Here I think they're starting with an advantage because they've already done every other type of thing they can do, and people are already die hard worshipers anyway and are willing to be dragged in the mud.

There are some histories, like of Napoleon, Alaxander the Great, Richard II, etc, but in these the MC is made out to be probably better than they really are. If we saw how many innocent people were murdered by Napoleon just for being in the area we might be grossed out. So one easy way to do it is to exaggerate the purity or goodness of your character so your audience won't feel grossed out as they walk behind him and watches his day to day activities. I'm sure Napoleon looks back on his deeds as noble, but I'm sure he'd do so with Rose Colored Sunglasses.

I just watched a movie on LMN with Susan Lucci. She played a conniving wife who manipulated a boyfriend into killing her husband, then had sex with his lawyer so he'd get the boyfriend put in prison for murder, then she manipulated another guy to sell her assets so she could skip the country. It ends with her in another country getting ready to start a relationship with another rich man, even teaching her daughter how to manipulate men as her mother taught her. You kind of hope she'll get away, at least I did. I guess it's because the cops were outmanuevered by Lucci, and they had a respect for her manipulations and the way she cleanly outmanuvered them that passed on to the viewer (Since she's seen through their eyes).

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Deepening a story line.

Postby adambein » Mar 19, 2016 4:02 pm

1. Most of the time the Protagonist IS the good guy. I believe an exception is clear in the James Bond films. Maybe you typed that wrong and what you mean is the opposite of what you typed?

If it was me, I'd consider the following:
2. Pick up a copy of Melanie Anne Phillips' 'Writing your novel step-by-step'.

3. Pick up a hard copy of 'Dramatica, A New Theory of Story' Chris Huntley, Melanie Anne Phillips. Read it 6x.
3a. Under the chapter of 'Characters', figure out which classification you've missed.
3b. Under 'The Elements of Structure' chapter, figure out which throuthline you've missed. Each throughline needs to be assigned.
3c. Under 'Genre', make sure you've assigned the proper genre, AND the proper sub-genre, and the essential elements of each, AND you know the optional elements/non-essential elements of each & whether or not you're going to be including them, annnd if you'll be blending the genre you're using with a bit of another genre (and thus, THAT genre's essential and non-essential elements). If it were me, I'd research the types of genres, then research the sub-genre of the genre you're gonna use, and then maybe see if another smidgen of some other genre can be tossed in-or not.

4. If you've started writing acts and events and sequences-stop. Jot 'em down I say, but stop. Some'd say 'No, let your inner muse run free!'. Those ppl are the kind of ppl who like really crappy modern dance presentations. You don't wanna be one of those ppl. Nobody wants to hang out with those ppl too much. You want structure, you want framework, you want proper assembly. Assemble before you write I say. Kinda like building a house. <insert house building frame-making first eye-rolling boring metaphor discussion here>

3d. Your choice of themes will assist in assembling the story. But when it comes to theme, since it's more smoke-y of a concept (I think), hold off on choosing the theme cuz I think theme choices rise to the surface and sink to the bottom as your story's other elements start coming into focus. Sure, it'd work backwards too-one could pick a theme up front and then rationalize it, but I've got a feeling that you ain't settin' out to write a story from a theme from the get-go unless for sure, one is creating a story based on a theme FROM the get-go. Most ppl say "I want to write a Western!" Few ppl say "I want to write a story about human dignity-in the genre 'Western'!". Hold off on theme, rational choices'll appear-but you'll still have to get a list of themes and pick one.

5. Things like your genre and character choices (and other stuff) will automatically bring other options to the table and rule out other elements. Melanie's book 'Write Your Novel Step-by-Step' will make it so that your choices, made in order, will let those options too rise to the surface.

6. Look for items that can facilitate 'synergy'. That's when 1 + 1 = 3. That crops up from Melanie's book. You'll start looking for mechanisms and essential elements and some will pop up & become apparent even if you don't look-provided you follow the directions and in order too. Logical choices and logical elements that are missing are noticed-that's a good stage to get to.

7. Get involved in a game that is of a similar vein to what you are writing. This'll get you yourself into the environment you're character's in. ; ) Plus, you can watch the behaviour of others in situations.

8. Pick up 'Writer's Dream Kit 4.0' from Dramatica. It's not expensive, it makes super spiffy neat reports that you can print out and peruse when you've got the inkling, it comes with multiple downloads (yay!), you can easily hand a 6 page report to someone at a coffee shop and ask 'em for their thoughts/opinion, you can tweek choices, you can see what you're intentionally or unintentionally missing element-wise,'s quick & dirty, and it makes an excellent gift-with multiple downloads-ha! Buy it for your friend and then get a copy for yourself. O.O Sneaaaky.

9. Post questions on this forum.

10. Listen to Melanie's and Chris' podcasts. They are free and they're on iTunes. Download them to your iPod. Join Melanie's Facebook group and go to her website. Read the Dramatica free comic book and watch Melanie's free videos. Listen to Jeff Goldsmith's podcasts in which an audience and he watch a film and then the Writer comes out on stage afterwards and is interviewed/answers questions. I utilized the perspective taught to me from this podcast to pitch a tv show and it worked-the show went into development. For 6 months. Where it died. A slow miserable death. <shaking head>

11. Attend the classes Melanie offers. $100/1 day.

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