Chris, I've been reading through "Dramatica for Screenwriters", and it does seem to have some good "exercises" that apply not only to screenwriters. For example, for the signposts of the OS you might write an abstract such as:
SIGPOSTS: The Present, How Things are Changing, The Future, The Past
The characters are concerned with the current situation, and this leads them to be concerned with how things are changing (the way things are going), which leads them to be concerned about what will be (the future), which leads them to be concerned with the way things were (the past).
(I assume I got that more or less right.)
In looking at the Plot Sequence report, I was wondering if it wouldn't be a useful exercise to write a similar abstract for the plot/theme discrepancies. I phrased my ideas as questions but obviously this could go in a hundred different directions.
Does something like this make sense?
SIGNPOST 1: The Present (Truth, Evidence, Suspicion, and Falsehood) What is true about the present? What evidence is there about that "truth"? What suspicions are there that it is not true? What is not true about the present?
SIGNPOST 2: How Things are Changing (Value, Confidence, Worry, and Worth) What objective value is there to the way things are changing? How certain are we as to how the way things are changing will affect our future? How worried are we as to how the way things are changing will affect our future? How useful or desireable is the way things are changing to us personally?
SIGNPOST 3: The Future (Closure, Hope, Dream, and Denial) At what point in the future will this change come to an end? What expectations do we desire at that point? What about our expectations for that point in the future is unlikely? What are we denying about our future?
SIGNPOST 4: The Past (Appraisal, Reappraisal, Doubt, and Investigation) What initial understanding do we have about the past? Given what we know know, what reassessment must we make of the past? What are we uncertain about with regards to the past? What evidence can we find that will show us the accuracy of our assessments?
Come here to ask questions or give advice about the theory that forms the basis of Dramatica.
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- Chris Huntley
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This might sound like a lame answer, but if you find it useful in developing your story, then use it. It should work, but the parts you would not explore, based on your questions, are the specific relationships between the thematic items themselves (e.g. Truth v. Falsehood, etc.).
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