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Posted: Apr 19, 2008 8:47 am
I am a new user to Dramatica, I purchased it about a month ago and have been working with it to develop a novel I have had for a long time. This software is a miracle!
Any way, I find myself using the short story template to storyform and develop several sub-plots I want to weave into my main story, and was wondering if anyone ever tried this approach to develop "back story" for sub plots, and what general views are concerning backstory development as well as sub plot developement
Also, I was wondering if any one ever tried to create a seperate storyform swapping their protagonist and antagonist roles just for the exercise of developing the same 'story' but from the antagonist perspective where he sees himself as the protagonist. I feel this is helping me develope my characters a little better by fleshing out different perspectives. Any one find this constructive or not?
Posted: Apr 24, 2008 2:10 pm
Welcome to the world of Dramatica. I agree that the software and theory are invaluable aids.
I am not an expert, so please consider Mr. Huntley's response as the last word on your questions.
You ask two questions and I'll tell you my experience about trying several storyforms first. I did exactly what you did - swap protagonist and antagonist roles. Additionally, I tried several storyforms and I moved individual elements between characters also. As I did this, I completed the story guide to find out what storyform seemed most natural to me. I settled on one and never looked back. But it took a while to get to the final storyform and distribute the elements just right. Better to do it up front than after the entire story is written!
Regarding sub-plots, I have four in my story: MC, IC, OS, and M/I. Each are distinct but connected. For example, my OS story goal is The Future and every character is concerned about the future. The IC Concern is Obtaining and he influences the MC to obtain something that affects the future of everyone in the story. The MC's Concern is Changing Ones's Nature; he needs to do this to assure a better future for his loved ones. And the MI story is an argument over whther it is best to obtain, or is it best to be happiest with what one has. Does one obtain more fossil fuels or does one change one's nature to go green? And what are the future consequences of each choice?
Because my OS is situation and signpost 1 is the past, I have ample opportunity to weave backstory naturally in the first act ("The Past" and "The Past" to "How Things are Changing.") Because the MI first act is "Memories" and "Memories to Impulsive Responses" there is ample opportunity to explore a subjective look at the past throughout the first act as well. Funny how that works out. But the bottom line is my backstory is woven throughout the first act in pieces no more than three paragraphs long. But that is just me. I am sure that others will share their thoughts.
Posted: Apr 28, 2008 9:12 am
While I wouldn't characterize the four throughlines as "subplots," per se, they do look like that from a traditional perspective on story. The reason I wouldn't characterize them that way is that all four throughlines are essential to a complete story, whereas sub-stories are often added to enhance the main story by exploring character, plot, theme, and genre to varying degrees of completeness. Sub-stories provide great ways to spice up the work without burdening the main story with extraneous material. They also provide ways to have characters in the main story behave in unexpected manners which provides additional entertainment value AND can get you out of apparent dead-ends in the main story (and thus move the plot forward).
Swapping protagonist and angtagonist is a useful exercise. I highly recommend playing with the perspectives in your story to find what works best for the story you want to tell. You might find that the unexpected is exactly what you're looking for.
Posted: May 02, 2008 10:44 am
Well, its been a week or so, and I have been focusing all my energy on my "short story" template, which is really a sub-plot in my main novel, and it has worked out really well for me. Where as before, my sub plot consisted of several related scenes, now I have story formed and developed an entire 17 chapter 'short story' with all the plot points, signposts, journeys etc. fleshed out.
WOW, what a difference. I feel my sub-plot is now rock solid. Great exercise. Great software.
Posted: Jun 30, 2008 9:04 pm
I like the idea of using the short story template for structuring a sub-plot. I'm working on a story in which the backstory is critical to understanding the future impact of the main story conflict . I don't want to "info dump" backstory throughout main story , however, I'm thinking that it will fit nicely as a type of sub-plot confined primarily to the MC/IC. Do you think this is a viable approach? Thanks.