16 Elements, 28 Characters

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Wednesday

16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby Wednesday » Jan 30, 2011 8:06 am

I'm a newbie with a question, so please be gentle? I know that all 16 character elements must be inhabited, and that's not a problem.

I have 28 characters total. Should all 28 be assigned characteristics on the chessboard or only the major/essential secondary characters for a total of 16? If all 28 should be assigned characteristics, how does one use Dramatica's Build Character feature to do so? Or is it done manually/outside of the software? The extra characters' motivations/purpose, etc. affect sub-plots that affect the Main and Impact Characters.

I thought of copying the current file, deleting all but the Main Character and Impact Character, and assigning complex characteristics to the remaining ones, but thought that might double up characteristics to the point it won't work psychologically.

Thanks in advance for your help. I love this software as it's opening up a lot of character development that would have been inaccessible otherwise (haven't gotten to the scene development yet), but am struggling to wade through and understand the manual's complexity. Am about to start Melanie's videos on YouTube for more information, but thought I'd ask here about the extra characters/elements as I couldn't locate info on them elsewhere.

~Wednesday

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stephenbuck415
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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby stephenbuck415 » Jan 30, 2011 9:39 am

28 characters is a lot. Novel or Screenplay?

I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not, but Melanie has a Dramatica Unplugged series available for purchase at www.storymind.com. I found it to be one of my more worthwhile investments when it comes to understanding Dramatica.
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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby Wednesday » Jan 30, 2011 10:41 am

stephenbuck415 wrote:28 characters is a lot. Novel or Screenplay?

I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not, but Melanie has a Dramatica Unplugged series available for purchase


Novel. Perhaps I should add that many of the secondary characters at the beginning of the novel have left the stage completely and permanently in the middle of Act 2; they're replaced by the secondaries I'm trying to build now as the subplots move on. So I think the 12 characters rotating in at the middle need treated the same way as the ones they're replacing, but I'm not sure how to make the software accommodate that through the Building Characters feature.

Thank you so much for the head's up on Unplugged. I have her Storymind software in addition to Dramatica and will look into the Unplugged series. For years, I've sensed something was wrong with story structure as I was taught at uni and in every book I could study. Dramatica and Storymind are the only two tools I've found in 15 years of searching, often in desperation, to fix what I sensed was missing.

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phillybudd
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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby phillybudd » Jan 30, 2011 11:37 am

The character building screen is for your 8 major roles: Protagonist, Antagonist, Contagonist, etc.

Unless all 28 characters are intended to play some part of those structural roles, you should limit the character building screen to just your major characters.

That said, it is possible for multiple players to fulfill a single role. You might have two players (characters) who simultaneously fulfill the Guardian role, for example, in which case you would split the Guardian characteristics between them.

It sounds however as though your 28 characters are doing some kind of hand-off over the course of the story, so the character who is the Guardian is replaced by another character later on. You might do a search on here for "hand-off" as I think this has been discussed before. It's entirely possible and doesn't affect the story structurally, but it has to be done carefully.

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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby Chris Huntley » Jan 31, 2011 11:40 am

Actually, there are 64 elements*, plenty to handle 28 characters. This is especially true if you have hand-off characters, meaning characters that are present during part of the story then absent themselves. When this happens, another character or characters must pick up the functions held by the first character so that the functions remain part of the story from beginning to the end. This increases the number of elements available per character because hand-off characters share the same elements.

For example, in A Christmas Carol, the four ghosts (Marley, Xmas Past, Xmas Present,and Xmas Future) hand off their story functions from one to the next.

* 64 elements consist of four sets of 16 elements: Motivations, Methodologies, Purposes, and Standards of Evaluation. If you are using Writer's DreamKit, you only see the 16 motivation elements. Dramatica Pro lets you assign all 64 elements.
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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby stephenbuck415 » Jan 31, 2011 6:39 pm

Hi Wednesday.

I'm writing a epic historical fantasy spanning three trilogies, and am using Dramatica, Outline 4D, and Screenwriter to put it all together.

You may be able to keep track of your characters and traits using the Scene List. Mappings within the Scene List appear in Dramatica Reports, and they also appear as notes if the Dramatica file is exported and then read inside Movie Magic Screenwriter.
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Re: 16 Elements, 28 Characters

Postby Wednesday » Jan 31, 2011 7:08 pm

Chris Huntley wrote:... hand-off characters share the same elements.


**Lightbulb** THAT'S the key I needed. I suspected they shared the same elements, I just didn't know whether to have them share them in the Build Characters "Notes" screens or elsewhere. The name, physicalities and voice change, but the elements remain the same? Got it.

stephenbuck415 wrote:Hi Wednesday.
You may be able to keep track of your characters and traits using the Scene List. Mappings within the Scene List appear in Dramatica Reports....


That's also a key I needed. I can structure the scenes without confusing or losing the elements. Thanks so much for your help.

Three trilogies? Did you know when you began you were writing nine books? My writing partner and I are up to three books for this world, and I desperately want it to stay that way. We can write only one at a time, but we're having way too much fun world- and culture-building for all three.

Thanks again for your help. I love this software.


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