MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

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.
RavinDave
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MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby RavinDave » Sep 06, 2010 12:17 am

Chris (et al.) ...

I'm perfectly comfortable with the concept of GROWTH. I understand the idea behind the four variants (when coupled with RESOLVE); change-start, change-stop, steadfast-start, steadfast-stop.

... but I'm not always comfortable with the encoding aspect. It often seems that I can force my intention into either by simply rewording it (which calls into question its utility). Lemme give you a concrete example before I lose you:

Harvey is a "Change" character. Harvey is a freshman at college. Harvey still has some bad habits (or holds some bad ideas) from high school that cause plenty of problems when he tries to apply them in the adult world.

Thus: The audience is waiting for him to STOP acting like a kid. ==> Thus: Harvey's a "Stop" GROWTH Character.

On the other hand, why isn't it just as valid to conclude:

Thus: The audience is waiting for him to START acting like an adult. ==> Thus: Harvey's a "Start" Growth Character.

Graham
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Re: MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby Graham » Sep 06, 2010 5:19 pm

It is just as valid. But not in the same storyform. For any one storyform, Dramatica recommends focusing on either STOP or START, but not both.

It's the author's choice. You can choose to use Dramatica's recommendation or not, or you can choose a different storyform.

But if you choose both STOP and START, you're probably making it harder for the audience to understand what your story is trying to say. By choosing one, the audience can better appreciate the Main Character's struggle.

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Chris Huntley
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Re: MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby Chris Huntley » Sep 06, 2010 7:03 pm

MC Growth has to do with where you think the growth needs to be. The analogy I use is to think of a glass. If it is full of castor oil and you need to drink it, you will be focused on what is there (stop) more than how much is gone. On the otherhand, if the glass is half full of gold and need gold, the amount you have is unimportant compared to how much is missing (start).

Objectively, there is no right or wrong, but the nature of how the character will grow differs greatly.
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RavinDave
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Re: MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby RavinDave » Sep 06, 2010 11:38 pm

Graham wrote:It is just as valid. But not in the same storyform. For any one storyform, Dramatica recommends focusing on either STOP or START, but not both. ...


But my point is that (at least in my example and many others I can imagine) they are logically equivalent, so it's arbitrary to call one START and the other STOP.

It's like saying: To get from the dining room to the adjoining kitchen you need to either exit the dining room door or enter the kitchen door -- but you can only do one or you lose focus. (Pssst! It's the same door.)

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Re: MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby Logomancer » Sep 07, 2010 8:40 am

I think logically, you're correct; "start acting like an adult" can be equal to "stop acting like a child."

I think, like Chris was pointing out, it's a matter of focus. Is your story focused on the main character giving up something childish and irresponsible? Or, focused on the main character engaging in adult behavior.

Is the main character trying to change a bad habit of binge drinking on Saturday night with his Frat Boy friends? or is he trying to land a "real" job at a financial firm that will support him? Both have the end result of the main character becoming an adult, but the story you tell (shed semi-alcoholism versus get a great job) to get the main character there is different.

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Re: MC GROWTH: Bogged Down in Language

Postby Chris Huntley » Sep 09, 2010 10:23 am

I think logically, you're correct; "start acting like an adult" can be equal to "stop acting like a child."


But you see, if the growth needed is for you to start acting liken an adult, it is a Start character. If the growth needed is for you to stop acting like a child, it is a Stop character.

You only get to focus on one half of the equation during the story. Which you choose influences the way the Main Character grows. It's a big difference if the MC has a chip on their shoulder (STOP) vs. a hole in the heart (START). Different growth pattern; different character development process.

For example, Scrooge tells Bob Cratchit, "I haven't lost my senses, I've come to them." In other words, "I'm not a Stop Character, I'm a Start Character."
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