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.
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Postby VTFischwire » Oct 14, 2010 10:57 pm

So this is not a question but rather an observation that I want to check the accuracy of. I was watching family guy the other day and after about 5 minutes Peter caught his father-in-law having an affair. This of course was the inciting incident which the story then revolved around.
From this I ascertained that an inciting incident while it does start the problem of the story and starts the story revolving around a situation, activity, manipulation, or fixed attitude, doesn't necessarily need to happen at the beginning of the story.
For example a town can be racist and hate people of color, we can see this through comments spoken by the people and other storyweaving techniques and then towards the end of the first act or where ever a black family moves to town which is the inciting incident that causes the story's problems. The thing that takes them out of the functioning but flawed world and makes them reevaluate their prejudices.
Am I correct in thinking that people can exist for awhile with their problem, happy and content, before the actual inciting incident?
Also would the time before be considered back story or could it be worked into the dramatic structure?

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Postby Chris Huntley » Oct 15, 2010 2:30 pm

The inciting event kicks of the OS throughline and need not happen as the first thing in a story, but it should be relatively early on and clearly before the Act 1 transition.

You have three other throughlines to explore, so there is plenty to weave before the inciting event if you want. There will also come a point (somewhere after the inciting event but before the Act 1 transition) where all four throughlines collide. If the inciting event is presented later on, this "collision" of throughlines often happens at this point.

For example, Star Wars begins with several events that can be seen as inciting events: Stealing the Death Star Plans (mentioned in the title crawl); Boarding the Senate cruiser and capturing Princess Leia; the escape of the robots... But, the moment of no return happens when Luke discovers the hidden message from Princess Leia to Obi-wan Kenobi in R2D2. At that point, all four throughilnes have become linked together.

People can exist for a while with their problem, but if you spend more than an introductory amount of time or space, the audience will wonder what is going on.

This prologue time may or may not be considered backstory. If it relates to something that has already happened that is a precursor to the main story's events, then that would be backstory. If not, it would be considered the story's set up for upcoming events.
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