Trying to figure out overall story

Discuss the practical use of Dramatica. Have questions about how throughlines should be used, how to create Complex Characters or even the various combinations of the 12 Essential Questions and how they will affect your story go here.
LisaA

Trying to figure out overall story

Postby LisaA » Aug 13, 2008 8:03 am

I think the throughline is activity, but I keep going around in circles. The MC has a lot to do--she needs to find out if there is a solution to her problem and get it before it is too late to solve her problem. The whole story is about her doing this--but she's doing this because somewhere, someone messed with her life because of a decision they made. So bad guy DECIDES to do something, does something, means MC has to take action to save herself and others. So the throughline is activity, right? Concern is obtaining, yes? Driver--I think action is the driver...Still trying to figure out terminology. Would love to attend a class, but I'm in Massachusetts.

This is a novel--a supernatural thriller (or maybe urban fantasy). I've done a first draft and am using this to help me write draft 2 and flesh out my story/create some structure.

Edited to add: I'm using Writer's Dreamkit.

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Trying to figure out overall story

Postby Chris Huntley » Aug 20, 2008 10:02 am

Make sure you separate your primary character's duties as Main Character (personal stuff) and as a participant in the "big picture," Overall Story throughline. It doesn't sound like you have separated those functions in your mind when thinking about her part(s) in the story. MC stuff has to do with her own personal problems. Overall Story stuff has to do with issues EVERYONE in the story is affected by or considers. You seem to identify the MC's personal stuff, but what happens in the larger context where she is only one player of many? For example, Scarlett O'Hara is the MC in "Gone with the Wind," but her personal issues are set against the background of an Overall Story that explores how Civil War ravages the South, specifically Georga.

STORY DRIVER: If the story gets it real "kickoff" from a decision, and it requires a decision to wrap things up at the end of the story, then it is decision story. Ask yourself, "If the initial decision didn't happen, would the story still go ahead in the same manner?" If no (corrected per post below), it is a decision story. If yes (corrected per post below), it is probably an action story or you haven't identified the inciting incident.

The same is true for an action driven story. Does an action act as the inciting incident? Are the act turns forced by actions? Does the story require an action to wrap things up successfully? If yes, action. If no, probably decision driven.

Also, separate out the backstory from the main story. Backstory is what happened BEFORE your story begins and is only necessary to understand why things are the way they are at the BEGINNING of the story. The reason you want to separate it is because it does not have anything to do with the choices you might make in identifying the storyform for the current story. Decisions may have been important in the past, but are new decisions relevant to driving the current story?
Chris Huntley
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HonuaGal

Re: Trying to figure out overall story

Postby HonuaGal » Sep 22, 2008 9:55 am

Hi Chris,

I've got the software, read the book and am now listening to the DUG podcasts. (They are very, very helpful BTW and I'm looking forward to the next one. Just wished I was in the LA area so I could attend.) I'm working on a story and think I'm on the right track, then I find myself completely drowning in the model definitions. For example, in your previous post you state:
STORY DRIVER: If the story gets it real "kickoff" from a decision, and it requires a decision to wrap things up at the end of the story, then it is decision story. Ask yourself, "If the initial decision didn't happen, would the story still go ahead in the same manner?" If yes, it is a decision story. If no, it is probably an action story or you haven't identified the inciting incident.

The bolding is where I got confused. I would think that if the initial decision didn't happen then the story would not go ahead, making it a decision story. i.e.: No decision, no story. The way I read what you wrote, the opposite is true.

Where am I going wrong?

.

HonuaGal

Re: Trying to figure out overall story

Postby HonuaGal » Sep 30, 2008 8:48 am

...Bump...

Another question...

I was listening to the DUG on "Lives of Others" this weekend and there was a discussion towards the end about the model throughline relationships with regard to MC as do-er (vertical) or be-er(horizontal). As it was audio, I couldn't quite follow this. I think it had to do with the MC relationship to the OS throughline, but I'm not sure. Could you explain this a bit more?

Thanks.

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Re: Trying to figure out overall story

Postby Chris Huntley » Sep 30, 2008 4:08 pm

My Bad! You are absolutely correct. I have corrected my post above and noted your post below as the impetus for the correction. Sorry about that.

I don't remember the conversation specifically, but I think it was probably discussing two different relationships that exist based on the Main Character Dynamics.

The first one has to do with MC Approach: Do-er or Be-er. A Be-er story puts the MC throughine in one of the internal domains (Fixed Attitude or Manipulation). A Do-er story puts the MC throughline in one of the external domains (Situation or Activities).

The second part has to do with the MC Growth: Stop or Start. A Stop story puts the MC throughline domain in a companion (horizontal) relationship with the Overall Story throughline domain (e.g. MC=Situation with OS=Activities). A Start story puts the MC throughline domain in a dependent (vertical) relationship with the Overall Story throughline domain (e.g. MC=Situation with OS=Manipulation).

I imagine the discussion concerned one or both of these dynamics as they related to the film.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

HonuaGal

Re: Trying to figure out overall story

Postby HonuaGal » Oct 03, 2008 7:34 am

Thanks, Chris. I was beginning to think I'd never get the theory down. :? I've been studying seriously on it since last spring and am still waiting for that "Aha!" moment when everything clicks. :lol:

I'm going to listen to that portion of the podcast over again and re-read a couple of parts in the book. Then I'll probably be back with more questions.


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