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New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Jan 31, 2011 12:12 pm
by Leonides02
Hello all,

I'm an experienced reality TV show writer (yes, it's all fake) and an aspiring novelist living (surviving?) in Los Angeles. I'm now a rookie Dramatica Pro user as well, having installed the software about a week and a half ago.

First I have a comment, then a question.

Here's the comment:

I'm an intuitive writer by nature, so I compose my rough drafts without any plan beyond a vague inkling for the characters and what will happen to them. Although I enjoy the spontaneity of this "method," and although it lends the work a certain immediacy, the story's structure definitely suffers for it. My rough draft tends to meander and its themes are unfocused. To combat this, I thought a program / theory like Dramatica would help me. At first, I must admit, I was disappointed.

Like a good rookie I started out using the StoryGuide (Level 3) and it's funny how it sneaks up on you. I'm plowing through the questions, and for most of the way I'm thinking, "This was NOT worth $240!" I was getting frustrated with all the nagging. Dramatica wouldn't leave me alone about the theme, about the story form, about what the characters mean to the story -- nag, nag, nag! "This isn't helping me," I thought. "It's hindering me. Dramatica, you're MY contagonist!"

Then, at some point on the third or fourth day of use, I closed the program and smiled. It was a self-satisfied smile because the story was really and actually taking shape in my head. Suddenly, I realized that -- even just half-way through the StoryGuide -- I knew approximately seven bazillion times more about my story now than after I wrote the damn thing. Needless to say, I'm no longer disappointed.

Okay, sorry for the rant. Here's my question:

At the beginning of the StoryGuide, Dramatica warns us to work on one plot at a time. It also says not to worry, because the other plot can be woven in later. Now, I'm not talking about a subplot, but a secondary plot. Cool. My novel consists of three plots:

Plot "A" is the main plot, and takes up a majority of the story. It's the Main Character's tale.

Plot "B" is a secondary plot. The MC of Plot "B" is the Impact Character of Plot "A," and her solo tale ends when she joins the MC in Plot "A" and gets absorbed into those events.

Plot "C" is related to Plot "A" at its inception, then diverges wildly into its own tale, rejoining Plot "A" at the very, very end.

So, my question is: How do we do this in Dramatica Pro? Should I work on each plot as separate story files and then just weave them together on my own? Or is there something in the software that can help me do this?

I mean, the whole point of secondary plots is to get a different POV for the overall story, and to contrast each other, right?



Re: New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Jan 31, 2011 5:23 pm
by Chris Huntley
Assuming they are different "stories," each with its own plots, characters, and themes, then yes, put them in separate documents.

HOWEVER, in Dramatica each complete story has four throughlines that form one complete story when woven together: the Overall Story throughline, the Main Character throughline, the Impact Character throughline, and the MC/IC Relationship throughline. Could it be that the IC substory is really just the IC throughline of the main story?

Here are a couple of Dramatica tips that take about multiple story works and substories:

Re: New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Jan 31, 2011 6:04 pm
by Leonides02
Hi Chris, thanks for your response. Those links are very helpful.

You're quite possibly right regarding the IC throughline. Maybe more details will help clarify (for myself, mostly):

The IC (we'll call her Jill) is not alone in her story before she joins the MC's throughline. Jill has a sidekick, an antagonist (who is pursuing her, though they do not meet), a problem, and a goal: Reaching a certain physical destination. Jill gets 90% of the way there in her own story, but then falters. This is where the MC steps in and rescues her, and their MC / IC Throughline begins.

To me this does seem like its own secondary story, but I'm new to the theory. I'm afraid that if I seperate them and it's a mistake I'll be stripping something from the main story. Part of me also doesn't want to devote characters from the IC's Throughline to the "character elements" since most of them don't last into the later part of the novel.

Re: New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Jan 31, 2011 8:32 pm
by Leonides02
I just had a thought:

I wonder if I should make Jill the IC of the secondary story I was thinking of as "hers." I could elevate her sidekick (we'll call him Bob) to Main Character status, and have her be Bob's Impact Character, just like she is for the MC's throughline. She does make Bob change, for certain, so it fits. Now, bob meets a grisly end, but he succeeds in a) changing and b) achieving his goal of seeing Jill off on her destination.

Since Bob ends up dead, and has no impact on my other story, this would definitely make his a secondary plot. It might also cement Jill's role as Impact Character in the minds of the reader. I mean, she already changed one man; why not a second?

Re: New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Jan 31, 2011 9:37 pm
by Chris Huntley
That sounds like it would work just fine.

Re: New User, Comment, & Secondary Plots

Posted: Feb 01, 2011 12:53 am
by Leonides02

Yep.... I like it, I like it.... Thanks again, Chris.