Impact character as a buddy, not the love interest?

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.

Impact character as a buddy, not the love interest?

Postby CharlieKilo » Jul 19, 2012 2:24 pm

Wow. Dramatica has been so thought provoking for me. I'm an ENTJ personality type - always trying to understand and codify the system that underlies any effort - and so Dramatica is either going to be brilliant or catastrophic to my writing. (Best case: I finally understand how it all is supposed to work under the hood, and build on that framework to write something awesome. Worst case, I produce utterly systematic works.)

I suppose I am like most Dramatica rookies: a couple of insights have been slap-my-forehead-that-makes-so-much-sense-at-last revelations, other things are new and not intuitive to me and so I seek guidance from those further along the path. Here is the concern that's top of mind for me at the moment: my impact character.

I started developing this piece before I had ever heard of Dramatica. I had a bunch of cool characters that had awesome relationships with one another, but didn't really arc in any meaningful way. Understanding that the protagonist can be Steadfast really allowed me to write him in the way I'd envisaged him from the start rather than trying to bolt on some kind of immature flaw in the early scenes.

But I'm left with an Impact Character that's not working. I gravitated toward his love interest, but the way she's written I feel like I'm just bolting flaws onto her character, in order that the protagonist can make her whole again. It all feels a bit schlocky.

Then it occurred to me that there is another character, the hero's buddy, who really does change based on his exposure to the hero. The buddy starts in the same job as the protagonist, but in a state of conflict: play by the rules or do what feels right? The buddy ultimately chooses his path based on the example set by the protagonist. So...have I found my impact character? Or am I elevating the buddy above the love interest in terms of importance in the story, and have I downgraded the love interest from The Most Important Person In My Life to a bit part?

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Re: Impact character as a buddy, not the love interest?

Postby Chris Huntley » Jul 22, 2012 1:58 pm

A couple of things.

First off, how you structure your story can be enhanced or underplayed by how you choose to EMPHASIZE the characters and throughlines in the finished work. So your questions of diminishing or emphasizing has more to do with how you write it than how you structure it -- though the IC is in three of four throughlines, while an objective character such as a love interest may only be in the OS. That requires some heavy emphasis to overcome, but it is doable, especially if the love interest is at the center of the Overall Story throughline.

Secondly, yes - - it sounds like you found your IC.
Chris Huntley
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