Character Dimensions

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.
Graham
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Character Dimensions

Postby Graham » Jun 09, 2010 6:39 pm

Chris,

Regarding the 4 character dimensions of Motivation, Methodology, Means of Evaluation and Purpose:

What is the effect of not using all 4 dimensions in your characters? If I assign only Motivations to characters, will the characters feel one-dimensional? Or will the audience accept it because Motivations seem to be the most commonly used elements?

The story I'm working on now has a problem/solution of Trust/Test, which are means of Evaluation. If I were to use only one character dimension in this story, would it be better to use the 16 Means of Evaluation elements? Or, could I assign the 4 means of Evaluation elements for the Overall Story problem/symptom/response/solution, plus the 16 Motivations - would that feel similar to just using the Evaluation elements because of the nature of the Goal and other plot points?

I think the reason I'm asking is because I'm having trouble thinking of my characters in all 4 dimensions.

Thanks for your advice,

Graham

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 10, 2010 8:09 pm

I say use whatever works, even if that is a single layer of character elements. If your characters feel a little too lightweight, use the other dimensions to give specific characters more depth.

When you write something that has an emphasis on character, you may find it easier to use more character dimensions, especially if you write novels.
Chris Huntley
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Graham
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Re: Character Dimensions/Build Characters

Postby Graham » Apr 02, 2012 7:37 pm

Chris,

It's been a while since I worked on the story I referred to above, but I haven't stopped thinking about it. At the time I was focusing on the Main Character and Impact Character and trying to plot out the story using the storyform signposts and journeys. But after multiple draft outlines, I still wasn't satisfied with the way the story was turning out.

So I'm starting again, and this time I'm going to focus on the Overall Story characters too. Instead of the plot being imposed on the characters, I want the story to come from them. So I've decided to use all 4 character dimensions. I recently spent a few weeks reviewing the archetypes, and examining the positions of the character elements in the Dramatica Chart. And I used the Dramatica dictionary to re-read all 64 definitions and choose alternate words for some of the character elements, which has helped me to better feel what some of the terms might mean in my story.

In the Build Characters window I've created 8 complex characters. Within each dimension I've kept each archetype element pair together for now. For example, the same character will contain Consider and Pursuit (Protagonist motivations), or Probability and Inaction (Reason methodologies), etc., but not Protagonist motivations AND Protagonist methodologies. I hope this will make the characters complex enough to be interesting and still allow me to understand each of them as I write.

In reviewing my multiple drafts of this story, I found a lot of notes about things a character might say or do, and lines of dialogue. At the time I usually attributed these to the Main or Impact characters, and often I discarded earlier ideas. But now I realize that all of these actions, thoughts and dialogue can be used to create the Overall Story characters. As I come across a character item in my notes I decide if it's a motivation, methodology, means of evaluation, or purpose. Then in that dimension I choose which of the 16 elements I think best fits that idea.

So that's how I'm illustrating the 64 character elements in the Build Characters window. As always, thanks for all of your advice.

Graham

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby Chris Huntley » Apr 11, 2012 8:43 am

Sounds like you've got it under control. Nice.
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Graham
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby Graham » May 08, 2012 5:08 pm

Chris,

I''ve illustrated all 64 character elements, and when I review my illustrations in the Build Characters report, it's exciting that the characters are coming to life. There's no doubt that making them complex characters makes them more interesting. They seem more real to me now.

I had hesitated to do this before not because I didn't think it would work (in fact you showed in one of your workshops how effective complex characters can be), but because 8 OS characters each with 8 elements seemed like too many to get my head around. But for the type of story I want to write, it's certainly worth it.

While working on the character relationships I noticed that two of my characters, throughout all 4 dimensions, are never found together in the same quad. What would that mean in terms of my story?

Graham

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stephenbuck415
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby stephenbuck415 » May 09, 2012 12:38 am

Graham wrote:...(in fact you showed in one of your workshops how effective complex characters can be)....


Hi Graham.

What workshop might that be?

I have three audio CD's about Writing Characters of the Opposite Sex, but wanted to know if there might be another worth my while investing in.

Thanks,
Buck
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Graham
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby Graham » May 16, 2012 2:31 pm

See http://forums.screenplay.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4312 for a response to the above workshop question.

Graham
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Re: Character Dimensions

Postby Graham » May 16, 2012 2:48 pm

While working on the Build Character relationships I noticed that two of my characters, throughout all 4 dimensions, are never found together in the same quad. What would that mean in terms of my story?


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