Signpost and Journey questions

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.

Signpost and Journey questions

Postby jfeaz » Dec 20, 2013 3:55 pm

Hey all!

I'm having a little trouble with my plot progression illustration, so I have a few questions.

1) Do the signposts and journeys from a given throughline need to correspond time-wise with the same signposts and journeys from the other throughlines? If so, how do you illustrate the impact character's impact on the main character at Signpost #1 if the IC isn't introduced until somewhere in MC/OS Journey #1?

2) Is a signpost a condition or an event? For example, which of these is more appropriate for MC Signpost #1?

a. MC yearns to change her nature by finding a sense of stability and a defined set of duties.
b. Desperate for a sense of stability and duty, MC leaves her baby brother with her neighbor and leaves home to join the Organization.

And again, for MC Signpost #4?

a. Finally understanding the value of family over duty, MC looks forward to a new life, embracing uncertainty.
b. In the final moment before it's too late, MC decides to betray the Organization's rules by taking her son to the hospital, saving his life. In doing so, she experiences an epiphany that positively illuminates an uncertain future.

Thank you in advance for any advice!

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Signpost and Journey questions

Postby Chris Huntley » Dec 23, 2013 11:09 am

1. In a perfect story world, the signposts happen simultaneously. HOWEVER, in the real world we dole them out in bits and pieces over time, and thus the need for Storyweaving. There are no RULES for storyweaving, only guidelines. For example, it's generally acceptable to finish weaving all four throughline signposts (e.g. Signpost 1) before moving to the next signpost. However, the Journeys, by definition, embody the transition of one signpost to the next. So, though it might be clearer 'logically' if all signposts are completed before you move on to the following journey or signpost, the reality is you can follow your gut and inter-cut and overlap them as you wish.

2. Either can illustrate a signpost, depending no the nature of the signpost and the way in which you prefer to explore it. Option A sounds like the concern of the signpost in general. Option B sounds like a transition from one event (or signpost) to another. When looking at more internalized signposts (e.g. Convceiving, Memory, Understanding, etc.) an Option A-type exploration may be preferred. When more overtly action-related signposts (Doing, Obtaining, The Future, etc.) are explored, an Option-B style may be preferred.

Same suggestions...HOWEVER...

There are many other story points than signposts and journeys that make up the plot. There are also the static plot points, the dynamics (plot and character), and the thematic points of each throughline, each of which need to be explored as you weave your story together.

For example, I could easily see your illustrations of Option B as being descriptions of the Story Driver (the first an Action, the second a Decision). The MC Signpost Option A example could just as easily be describing the MC Resolve and Story Judgment (Change(?) / Good).

So peppered WITHIN each throughline will be the illustrations for the the various story points appropriate to that throughline, which together populates plot and illustrates theme and character while doing so.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.


Re: Signpost and Journey questions

Postby jfeaz » Jan 04, 2014 3:22 pm

Very helpful - thank you!

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