I don't know what you know, so please bear with me if I repeat something that you already know.
First, I'd like to begin by providing a few basic resources for you, and then an experiential commentary will follow.
As far as resources are concerned, I recommend the following:
Dramatica Users Group Google Hangouts (monthly)
How To Join the Online Dramatica Users Group
- search for Dramatica Users Group
Dramatica Writers Community on Google+
and as a shameless self-promo, I've started to host an old fashioned e-mail discussion list to discuss Dramatica theory at
A few years ago I attempted to start a users group in San Francisco, but changes in my life forced me to cancel the meetings. Overall it was a very positive and productive learning experience, but there were some things I learned the long-way... such as where to begin a Dramatica analysis of a story.
I learned that the best way to begin an analysis was the way that the existing experts do... watch or read the story, and then begin answering as many of the 12 Essential Questions in the same way they do in the Google Hangouts and the iTunes Dramatica Users Group.
12 Essential Questions:
- Video: http://dramaticapedia.com/2010/05/13/dramatica-theory-part-4-the-12-essential-questions/
There were two different ways that I originally began to analyse stories:
1) Using the Story Editor, I started at the top most question and worked my way downward in a linear fashion as much as possible.
2) Using the Plot Progression Tool, I attempted to fill in the blanks in order (but after the second attempt I realized the futility of that approach and gave it up).
The approach that will provide the most accurate analysis requires the 12 Essential Questions to be answered, which once enough familiarity with Dramatica vocabulary is gained, can be accessed through the Story Engine menu (I'm using Dramatica Pro 4 for the PC). How far should an analysis be taken? All the way to chapter coverage, character coverage, and everything on the Story Points Outline?
Applying the theory can be taken as far as you want because "quads fit within quads". Theoretically, you can take any one of the 64 elements and begin a full analysis using everything within all four domains again, and again, and again... so I feel the best answer to your question is "how much time do you want to put into it?". How far should we take the creation process?
I found that I was taking the creation process too far and was spending more time filling in the details than I was writing. Now my approach is different and I first create a Step Outline (as described in Screenwriters Bible) of what I think should happen, then I freewrite a 5-page treatment, and then I take that to Dramatica to begin filling in the details.And are there any practical considerations about how long it takes to go from form to story or story to form in a group or whether that is even beneficial?
I think that gets back to how much time you want and have to put into it, and the 12 Essential Questions.Is it ongoing research or is this pretty well established so we can follow a format of some kind?
Well, in my opinion, yes to both questions. I feel that the Dramatica Users Group really has the format down quite well, and that's no surprise because the creators started teaching everyone how to analyze stories with Dramatica.
I feel that Dramatica Theory can involve "ongoing research", but not in a way that is limited to one specific story. I've become familiar enough with the vocabulary and relationship of the elements enough that sometimes I see patterns outside of story and in real life. It's quite interesting.
I hope this feedback helps.