Archetypes - software question

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kfitzgerald60
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Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 27, 2012 2:04 pm

Hello All - new user here.

Started using Dramatica to help with an existing story/screenplay. Created characters and assigned some archetypes, but not Protagonist or Impact character (guardian). Left these fields blank. Assigned main character/protagonist and guardian/impact character in later fields, but these archetypes keep showing up as blank unassigned fields. I thought of deleting them, but worried that they were tied to the software architecture so didn't.

I did one version where the guardian was the impact character, but found that this led me to a version that dealt with a subplot. I reworked things where the impact character is the contagonist. This is better and makes more sense, but I still have these unassigned fields for main character and impact character. I was not worried until I went to build characters. It's very complicated.

The motivation quad is not like the example in the book. I have different archetypes represented. Is this because of choices I have made regarding my characters or a bug in the software? Some of my characters will represent more than one archetype - the contagonist and the antogonist share the emotion archetype, and two characters function as the guardian/sidekick and guardian /skeptic. At present I do not have any character assigned to the emotion archetype.

I have not done anything yet about creating these complex characters because I'm not sure if there is a bug.

Should I replace all the info for my main character/protagonist in the unassigned field? If so, how should I rename it? If I do the same for my impact character, but want them to be the contagonist not guardian how should I proceed? It seems you cannot have more than one file open at a time. How do you transfer previously entered info when making major changes?

I've learned a lot about my story and my characters by using the software and am very pleased with the results, but I've hit a bit of a snag when it comes to using the software. Would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby phillybudd » Mar 27, 2012 4:15 pm

Hi K,

if you already have your story form in place and then assign the characters to various archetypes, their position in the grid will be assigned based on the story form.

Normally, assigning a character as Protagonist, for example, will place him/her in the Consider and Pursuit blocks within Motivation (squares 1 and 3 in the top row). However, I have created story forms from time to time that places the Protagonist in the Consider and Logic squares (squares 1 and 2 in the top row). I assume you are seeing something like the latter case, and that is what's confusing you?

Keep in mind that you can always reassign any character to any characteristic you wish (just drag and drop the character over the square). If you do this, you'll see in the archetype dropdown list that Protagonist (if that's a character you change in this way) will change to "Complex". All this means is that given the story form, your character has now moved out of the archetype that matches your story form. But this is usually desirable, at least for some of your characters, as they then start blossoming into more complicated people.

All of which was to say, no, it's not a bug! :-)

Perhaps Chris will offer some insights as to what the underpinning are that make this happen.

Jeff

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby phillybudd » Mar 27, 2012 4:19 pm

I didn't address all your questions here -- but you can open more than one file at a time. Go to Edit -> Preferences. Then in the General tab, look for the item "File menu can open multiple stories", and tick the checkbox. Now you can have multiple open files, but you must open them from the File -> Open menu. Clicking the Open File button in the dashboard will always only open one file at a time.

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 27, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi Jeff/phillybud

Thanks so much for your reply. It was really helpful. I am seeing the Consider (Prtg)/Faith (Side) in the top two squares; Disbelief (Skp) and Reconsider (Ant) in the bottom two squares. Now that I know this is normal I feel a lot better.

I'm still trying to get to grips with all the possibilities. Sometimes it's hard to understand the theory and answer the questions - in that you can rationalize anything! That's why I did two versions. I'm still not 100% sure who my impact character is, but I think I'll stick with the contagonist for now.

It was very interesting to see how the focus of the story changed when the dramatic function of the character changed. I already had a lot of existing story/plot material and character development, but it was amazing to shake it up and view it through different lenses.

When I answer the questions I'm constantly saying "Goodness, I didn't know that", and "How very interesting". My characters have told me all sorts of things I was unaware of, and their motivations have either helped justify the plot or send it in a new direction.

I'm scrambling to get a treatment done by Sunday, so may have to leave playing around with complex characters until later, but you've been a great help.

Thanks also for the info about opening multiple files.

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby stephenbuck415 » Mar 27, 2012 6:23 pm

HI kfitzgerald60.

kfitzgerald60 wrote:Started using Dramatica to help with an existing story/screenplay. Created characters and assigned some archetypes, but not Protagonist or Impact character (guardian). Left these fields blank. Assigned main character/protagonist and guardian/impact character in later fields, but these archetypes keep showing up as blank unassigned fields. I thought of deleting them, but worried that they were tied to the software architecture so didn't.


The Main Character and Obstacle Character are required characters to complete a storyform.

I had to re-learn some common storytelling definitions when I began using Dramatica, and one of the first terms I had to re-learn was "character."

A character such as an archetype, the main character, or the obstacle character is not necessary a single person. Based on my understanding thus far, each is a role of traits that the audience experiences through the art of the story teller.

Melanie begins to describe the difference between players and characters here:
Players vs. Characters
http://dramaticapedia.com/2011/03/23/players-vs-characters-2/


kfitzgerald60 wrote:I did one version where the guardian was the impact character, but found that this led me to a version that dealt with a subplot. I reworked things where the impact character is the contagonist. This is better and makes more sense, but I still have these unassigned fields for main character and impact character. I was not worried until I went to build characters. It's very complicated.


I agree, and admittedly I was so intimidated by it at first that I delayed learning and using it until I had a reasonable command over the other tools... but now I swear I have that window open each time I write.


kfitzgerald60 wrote:The motivation quad is not like the example in the book. I have different archetypes represented. Is this because of choices I have made regarding my characters or a bug in the software?


I'm in alignment with Phillybudd's response. I couldn't describe it better, but agree that Chris could.


kfitzgerald60 wrote:Some of my characters will represent more than one archetype - the contagonist and the antogonist share the emotion archetype, and two characters function as the guardian/sidekick and guardian /skeptic.


My experience when working with others is that Archetypes and Characters are intuitively believed to be individual persons, but that's not the case in Dramatica Theory. To summarize my understanding of archetypes and characters in Dramatica Theory, they are really only a collection of elements that collectively respresent roles... it's an individual Player (yep, another Dramatica term) that acts out the element or element represented by the Archetype/Character, and, more than one Player can act out elements within an Archetype/Character.

However, there is one rule:

Two+ Players in the same scene cannot have the same element. Only one Player per element per scene.

If that rule is broken, the audience may become confused and the integrity of the story will be lessened.

So, all of that means the writer can do what you are doing (to a degree).


kfitzgerald60 wrote:At present I do not have any character assigned to the emotion archetype.


Just out of curiosity, are you building characters from a new, default story file, or have you gone in to the Structural Templates folder and used a Screenplay, Novel, or Short Story template? The reason I ask is because those templates come with pre-populated scenes and character icons. It may be worth your while to check that out. Using the Open Story button may open to the Structural Templates folder, but if not, it's located within the Dramatica installation folder.


kfitzgerald60 wrote:I have not done anything yet about creating these complex characters because I'm not sure if there is a bug.


Yep, Phillybudd is right. It's not a bug.


kfitzgerald60 wrote:Should I replace all the info for my main character/protagonist in the unassigned field? If so, how should I rename it? If I do the same for my impact character, but want them to be the contagonist not guardian how should I proceed? It seems you cannot have more than one file open at a time. How do you transfer previously entered info when making major changes?


Ugh. I'm sorry to say you've experienced one of my frustrations with that tool. I'm afriad that there's no easy way to move things around other than manually cut-and-paste while navigating to the different areas the information needs to go.

Along with being able to open multiple files as Phillybudd described, there are also two sets of vocabulary. Go to the Preferences dialogue box, choose Dramatica Terms, and you may choose between Layman's Terms and Original Dramatica Terms.


kfitzgerald60 wrote:I've learned a lot about my story and my characters by using the software and am very pleased with the results, but I've hit a bit of a snag when it comes to using the software. Would really appreciate any advice.


I'd dare to call that snag your first step onto the learning curve associated with Dramatica.

Here's some additional reading that may be helpful in understanding Dramatica concepts about characters:


Players vs. Characters
http://dramaticapedia.com/2011/03/23/players-vs-characters-2/


Can Two Characters Share the Same Traits?
http://dramaticapedia.com/2011/09/20/can-two-characters-share-the-same-traits
Q:I need help, I’m trying to assign characteristics to my characters, I have a multitude of characters, and many share the same characteristics but the software seems to only allow one character a set characteristic, example ‘temptation’ if I try to assign it to more than one character, it gets eliminated from the second. This is a severe limitation as my characters are not simple archtypes, but complex beings, is there a way around this?


Eight Archetypes
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip0107.html
Q:I'm kind of new to this theory. I was reading the book and tried out the Demo program. I noticed that they mentioned eight archetypes. Are all of them present and needed for a story to be complete?


Illustrating Character Interactions (Build Characters Tool)
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip1005.html
Question: It says by highlighting a Character that has been assigned to the grid in character builder [The Build Characters window in the Dramatica Pro and Writer's DreamKit software], you can see a basic description of that characters dramatic relationship.
But if two characters are in a scene and one has hinder and the other as Logic (motivation grid and thus are not adjacent) according to Dramatica there is No character interaction between there character traits or should I say Dramatica can not represent this.

Building Characters
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip0204.html
I've been working for some time now on my current script and I have a question that probably only you can answer.
I seem to be having a really hard time getting a handle on the number of elements in the 64 Element Set that should be used in creating my characters .... I would appreciate if you could enlighten me on this. .


"Flavoring" Character Elements
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip0211.html
Q: I have a question regarding the character elements. Basically: Is the character representing the elements supposed to already have and utilize them in the story, or is it something they’re supposed to gain?


Weaving Characters Into Scenes
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip1110.html
Q: I am wondering which characters may appear in any of the 4 throughlines and which - maybe - must not appear at all. For instance: In scenes of the Main Character/Impact Character throughline: do both of these two characters HAVE TO appear in any of these scenes? Or does at least ONE have to appear? Or, in the Main Character throughline, must the Impact Charactrer not appear at all? (Respectively in the IC throughline: must the MC not appear?)


Impact Character as Protagonist
http://www.dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_month/tips/tip0410.html
Q: I'm wondering if you could point me to examples of a stories where the Impact Character is also the Protagonist?
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kfitzgerald60
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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 28, 2012 8:03 am

Hi Stephen

Thanks so much for the detailed reply. I didn't realize there was so much on line help available through dramatica.com and dramaticapedia.com - great to know.

I've read all the articles you sent links for and found them very helpful.

I am using an existing screenplay storyform. I did level one, then skipped to level three. I also tested out two different characters as the impact character (or should I say players - still wrapping my head around that one).

I think my confusion stems from the fact that I created some characters using the archetypes provided, but also created unassigned characters. I assigned archetypes for some of those unassigned characters in a later field. I did this for my protagonist/main character even though I knew that was her dramatic function, but I wanted to hedge my bets. Perhaps I should have used the protagonist/main character archetype right from the get go.

I also didn't initially assign a character to the guardian/impact archetype because I was not sure who the impact character is. I think this was a good idea because I was able to do a test version with one character (who fulfills some of the guardian archetype functions) as the impact character, and discovered that relationship focused on a subplot. I learned a lot of useful information, but then decided to use a different character (who functions as the contagonist) as the impact character.

This worked much better, but I still have both protagonist/main & impact/guardian fields left blank in the create characters menu. In the build characters window the protag/main and contag/imp characters are denoted with a dot and a diamond, which I assume means they have been assigned these functions anyway.

I partly took this route because I plan on creating complex characters anyway. Some characters fit into the broad strokes of the archetypes, but I'm looking forward to tweaking them. Very useful info about how the emotion archetype doesn't actually have to be a single character - that helps a lot.

I'm going to play around a bit more with the build characters window so I have a better sense of how it works.

As mentioned earlier I was a little nonplussed to see different elements showing up from the examples in the book. But now I know there is no bug, that's good. I'm still puzzled as to why the contagonist and guardian are not showing up in the driver quads.

Anyway, I'll keep exploring.

Thanks again,

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 28, 2012 8:42 am

Addendum - scratch that last bit about quads. What I have is a top quad of Protag/Consider - Side/Faith - Skp/Disbelief - Ant/Reconsider; and a bottom quad of Reason/Logic - Guard/Conscience - Cont/Temptation - Emot/Feeling.

If this is normal I'm good to go.

Thanks

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby stephenbuck415 » Mar 28, 2012 11:11 am

Yes, it's normal, and if you are a little overwhelmed, welcome to the Dramatica community! LOL. In addition to those resources, there's more than a few of us having Dramatica discussions in the Google+ streams. Just search for #dramatica or #dramaticatheory and you'll find a group of us to chat with... you might get faster responses.

In Dramatica Pro 4, the archetypes will always appear in this sequence:
Upper Left: PRO / REA / ANT / EMO
Upper Right: same
Lower Left: SIDE / GRD / SKP / CON
Lower Right: same

The variable in the Build Characters quads is the Crucial element. The Brainstorming tool may be a quick way to generate a few sample storyforms that would allow you to see how the OC Crucial and MC Crucial is assigned to different locations on the quads.

The same concept applies to the Theme Browser.

The Class, Type, Variation and Element items within the Theme Browser will always remain in the same position, however it's the storyencoding variables that will appear in different locations. For example, in the attachment below, PHYSICS > UNDERSTANDING has the storyencoding variables of OS CONCERN and GOAL, and within that is contained MC CRITICAL FLAW, OS ISSUE, OS SOLUTION, OS DIRECTION, OS PROBLEM, and OS FOCUS. In another storyform, the position of PHYSICS > UNDERSTANDING will remain in the same place, but it may or may not contain storyencoding variables.

Now with those static positions in mind, in the Build Characters window notice the position of the items in the quad PURPOSE, EVALUATION, METHODOLOGY and MOTIVATION. That corresponds with the largest Build Characters quad, so the first upper left quad containing PRO / REA / ANT / EMO represents PURPOSE, the upper right PRO / REA / ANT / EMO represents EVALUATION, and so on. Switch to the Theme Browser and the PURPOSE, EVALUATION, METHODOLOGY and MOTIVATION can be applied there as well. Upper Left, Purpose. Upper Right, Evaluation, etc. Click on an element within a variation in the Theme Browser, and inside the explanation will be a description of how the characters interrelate. In the screen shot sample below, PHYSICS > UNDERSTANDING > INSTINCT > KNOWLEDGE is attributed to the PURPOSE function of the characters. Jump diagonally to LEARNING > PRECONDITIONS > NONACCEPTANCE and see that element (and related quad) is attributed to EVALUATION.

Even though we work with Dramatica Pro 4 in a linear manner, it's really a tool that allows us to develop and view our story with 4-Dimensions.
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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 28, 2012 3:25 pm

Hi Stephen

Thanks for the info. I will look at it more fully this evening.

In Dramatica Pro 4, the archetypes will always appear in this sequence:
Upper Left: PRO / REA / ANT / EMO
Upper Right: same
Lower Left: SIDE / GRD / SKP / CON
Lower Right: same

I do not have this sequence - I have:
Upper Left: PRO / SIDE / ANT / SKP
Upper Right: same
Lower Left: REA / GRD / EMO / CON
Lower Right: same

Perhaps I have not read your post carefully enough, but I'm still puzzled. If this is not correct I have a theory as to why this may be. I created some of the characters using the archetypes, but then later changed them. For example the character that was the guardian is now the skeptic; emotion has become contagonist; contagonist is now guardian. Does that explain things?

I tried to attach screen grabs but got a message that the files were too large - need to be 0 pixels. Don't know how to prep the files.

Thanks

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby stephenbuck415 » Mar 28, 2012 3:44 pm

Oh, apologies. I'm illustrating using the default screenplay template. If you use that template, the sequence I provided is how they will appear... however, those positions can be customized.

You're not doing anything wrong, it's just part of the learning experience. The focus of my replies involved using the default setup within the template rather than your specific needs (sorry about that).

I think the maximum size of screen print attachments is 600x800. I played it safe by creating a height of 600 so that the width would be less than 600.
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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 28, 2012 7:12 pm

Thanks Stephen

K

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby Graham » Mar 28, 2012 7:32 pm

The position of the character elements in the Build Character window depends on the OS Domain in your storyform. If Consider and Faith are next to each other, then I believe your OS Domain is Situation.

Also, PURPOSE, EVALUATION, METHODOLOGY and MOTIVATION each have 16 character elements. When you choose one of these 4 dimensions, you see the 16 character elements that comprise it. And all 64 of them are arranged according to your OS Domain.

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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby stephenbuck415 » Mar 29, 2012 12:43 am

I stand corrected, thank you!
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Re: Archetypes - software question

Postby kfitzgerald60 » Mar 29, 2012 10:46 am

That's exactly what I have.

Thanks Graham

K


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