characters and PSR

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.
trevor

characters and PSR

Postby trevor » Oct 18, 2009 2:07 am

Hi,

When using the PSR in conjuction with the Build character window and theme browser,I'm unsure how to relate them.
For example in my overall story the PSR gives - The Present is explored in terms of permission, need, expedience, deficiency. So looking at Permission in the Theme Browser I get the quad of certainty, acceptance, non-acceptance, potentiality.

I then look at Build Character window to match up which characters represent the elements.

This is where I'm unsure what to do, as within that quad in the B/C only two match. For the other two elements I need to look at a different quad in the B/C.

So, what I'm asking is, when creating a scene examining, in this case Permission, do I focus on the elements as a quad from the Theme Browser, taking two of the character elements from one quad in the B/C and the other two from another quad in the T/B?

Or, do I focus on the quad in the B/C which would give me a cohesive quad of certainty, deduction, induction, potentiality, but skips two of the elements from the T/B?

Sorry if I've not explained myself very clearly.

Trevor

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby Graham » Oct 21, 2009 7:29 pm

Trevor,

I don't think you have to do either. When writing a scene exploring "The Present in terms of permission" you can use any characters you want to explore these issues. Each character will bring to the scene the perspectives that come from that character's elements. I don't believe Dramatica recommends specific characters be in particular scenes.

Of course you can use the Theme Browser or Build Characters window to suggest characters. And depending on the storyform, they may have different configurations of elements. The Build Characters window uses the quads from the same class as the Overall Story. The PSR may suggest variations from a different class than the type, i.e The Present is in the Situation Class, but permission, need, expedience, deficiency are from the Manipulation Class, type of Conceiving An Idea.

Graham

trevor

Re: characters and PSR

Postby trevor » Oct 22, 2009 12:26 am

Graham,

Thanks for replying.

Yes, I understand that characters can be brought in to a scene at the whim of the author, and as the story requires.

However, I thought I'd read somewhere that in the OS (only the OS), that the use/order of character elements can be predicted by using the PSR report. As I see it the only way to do this is to use this report in conjunction with the TB to get at the respective elements.

The trouble I encounter is that the quad of elements presented by the TB matches only two in the Build character quad. So, by using the quad from the TB it removes the cohesion of the Build Character window. (I have to look at a different quad for the other two elements)

I've been using this method and so far it seems to be working. I may, of course, be barking up the wrong tree completely.

Trevor

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby Chris Huntley » Oct 29, 2009 2:03 pm

The Plot Sequence report does NOT predict the use of characters in your story. It is best used for exploring your story's themes.
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szore
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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 17, 2010 11:40 am

Am I to assume that when my plot sequence report tells me that, for example, the OS act 1 deals with The Future (explored in terms of enlightenment, wisdom, skill, experience) that it is up to me at that point to inject those 4 explorations in act 1, or is there another mechanism within Dramatica where those 4 explorations will be brought forward and developed. In other words, where do I find enlightenment, wisdom, skill etc, in the OS act 1?

I'm confused... :oops:

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 20, 2010 12:49 pm

Szore -- my understanding is that you are free (or obligated) to explore the thematic ideas within the act as you wish.

I in fact designed a graphic of a sixteen pointed star, so that for each act I can map out the four thematic idea for each of the OS, SS, MC and IC in sort of a big circle. These help me keep them in mind as I'm working on each act between signposts.

Jeff

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 20, 2010 1:41 pm

Thanx Jeff, That sounds good, i'll try that. So you draw 4, 16 point stars? 1 star for each throughline, and the 16 point are 4 thematic idea's per act, 4X16?

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 20, 2010 4:11 pm

No, sorry -- I print out one sixteen-pointed star for each ACT...so I write e.g. "Act 1" in the center of the star, and then I write the Class name above each throughline, and then the four thematic variations on each point of the star, for a total of 16. I was going to attach the graphic here but just realized I have it at my office. Will do it on Monday, maybe it'll help.

Jeff

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 20, 2010 4:25 pm

It will, and it is much appreciated. This is awesome software I just want to make sure I maximize its potential.

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 21, 2010 12:58 pm

Here's the graphic, turns out I did have it here.

So, as I said: the star represents an entire ACT, with each Throughline (OS, SS, MC and IC) having 4 points in the star for each of the 4 thematic issues. I staggered each throughline around the star (OS, MC, SS, IC, OS, MC, etc) because it allows me to avoid the "feeling" that the variations for each throughline are "blocks" that have to be dealt with at one time. Further, I think doing this allows me to see the possibilities where any given variation in one throughline might line up with another and to place them accordingly. You could also just do them as blocks if you wish (I also have a "plain" version of the star with no labels). I am finding that having this in front of me as I'm working is giving me a good visual image of the topics to cover in a given act. (No Act lives in a vacuum, of course, so it's worth doing this for all acts at the same time.)

So, in short, I print this out, write "Act 1" in the center of the star, and then play with the four variations for each throughline and position them around star (I just write them in with pencil as it may change the more I think about it).

The rest I have to say here isn't relevant to anything, but if you're interested in where I came up with this idea...

I am a composer primarily, and love to play with form. You'll see that the star is a "single-line drawing", meaning that if you start at point 1 and follow all the lines through the form, it moves 1-8-15-6-13-4 etc (just like when you draw a 5-pointed star with a pencil, you move the pencil from point 1 to 3 to 5 to 2 to 4 and back to 1 -- but of course trying to draw a 16-pointed star that way would be an accomplishment in itself). I use a "star-form" method like this to organize musical materials in my work quite often. In that case, the musical form that emerges is rooted in a "collision" between the physical form of the star and the temporal motion of the music: that is, while the star moves 1-8-15-6-4 etc, music must inevitably move 1-2-3-4-5 etc.

So, while the star here is certainly not appropriate to structure a story (which is not limited to a straightforward temporal progression), it seemed to me that the star might still be of interest in terms of THEMATIC relationships, and that by placing the variations thoughtfully around the star, I could discover important relationships between the OS, SS, MC and IC throughlines that might not be obvious simply by listing them on a page...

I'm sure that's a lot more than you wanted to know, but just wanted to share it. :-)

And I agree with you about the theory and the software (although the interface is old -- Chris, when's that new version coming out, huh?? ;-). Great stuff, worth the learning curve. I used it for a lengthy short story I shared with my writing group and everyone responded with a resounding "Wow!" -- my writing had taken on a depth and motion that I had not demonstrated before.

Jeff

btw Chris, I'm also an experienced computer programmer and designer -- it you want any help...!!
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szore
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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 21, 2010 1:28 pm

You da man. No, YOU DA MAN!

Thanx, this will be used, I love stuff like this. And I appreciate the extra info as well.

Steve

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 21, 2010 2:23 pm

Hey Jeff let me ask you a quick question: I started working with your diagram, and I am looking at the theme browser for my story. Under OS act 1, the 4 themes are openness, preconception, delay and choice. Fine. BUT when I look at the plot sequence report for my story, it say the OS act themes are enlightenment, wisdom, skill, and experience, which the theme browser displays as act 1 under the MC through line? Do you have that with yours? That discrepancy? Which is right the theme browser or the report? Is it a bug in the software?

I know you are just a user but curious to know if you have the same problem.

Steve

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 21, 2010 3:56 pm

Hey Steve, we probably need Chris to chime in on this one and clarify. But... What I believe is going on here is that "openness, preconception, delay and choice" are simply a SUBSET of the class "The Future" -- so you're not going to EXPLORE "The Future" in terms of "openness, preconception, delay and choice" (those things ARE "The Future") but rather you're going to explore "The Future" from the set of variations from your MC throughline.

When you're in the Theme Browser, in the lower left-hand corner is a dropdown menu -- select the title of your story there. Suddenly the browser tells you where all the little pieces fall in your story, and I think that will make it visually clearer what is going on.

Jeff

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 21, 2010 5:58 pm

OK Jeff, its going to be an ongoing discussion I think. Between you and me, I have the downloaded book 'Dramatica' the 4th Edition, and its terribly written, Very confusing.
As far as the theme browser, I do have my story selected... I emailed them on their website, so when I get my answer i'll post it. Then when Chris gets around, he can chime in.

Thanx again!!!!

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 22, 2010 1:50 am

Well, I know from my work in music theory that any complex idea is not only difficult to get, but difficult to write about. I think Mealnie and Chris did a fine job with the book, but as with any theory of this type you can only write about one part of it at a time. And of course, no one part exists independently of its relationship to the other parts.

Stick with the book, there is a steep learning curve there, but it is worth it. I'd suggest getting the print version of it only because it makes it easier to flip around, make notes, questions, etc. Frankly I find electronic versions of books such as this, which you want to be able to move back and forth through quickly, very difficult to use. Besides, I like holding a book. I like making it all dog-eared and written in and have yellow sticky-notes hanging out the sides all over the place. Makes me feel like I'm doing the work!

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 22, 2010 11:59 am

Hey Jeff,

Here is the email Dramatica support sent me.

Hi Steven --

You are correct, they are different, but it is not a bug, it is a feature. Here is a Dramatica tip that answers your question:

http://dramatica.com/theory/tip_of_mont ... p1203.html

Best regards,
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.


On 3/21/10 3:31 PM, "szore2006@gmail.com" <szore2006@gmail.com> wrote:


Name :: Steven Zore
E-mail :: szore2006@gmail.com
Question :: The themes displayed on the theme browser do not correspond with the Plot sequence report. The theme browser lists for the OS, under act 1, for example, 'The Future' and openess, delay, choice, and preconception. But the Plot Sequence report lists OS Act 1, The Future, as having the themes enlightenment, wisdom, skill, experience which the theme browser says belongs under MC act 1.



What gives? Is this a software bug? which is correct the report or the browser?

Which Dramatica Products do you own? Dramatica Pro


Check all that apply: I am a:

Amateur Writer


Other -

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szore
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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 22, 2010 12:23 pm

'Click'

I get it now. I totally get it now.
I was looking at it ass backwards. This shit's deep, man. :shock:

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 22, 2010 2:50 pm

LOL! well, in the music world, people are always bitching their heads off about how music notation software is so complicated. To which I've always responded, "Since when was music notation simple?" I think that applies in a sense to this as well. As soon as I tell anyone that I'm using software to help me construct a novel, they invariably roll their eyes. But what I love about this theory and the software is that I think the underlying "rules" (as with any good theory) are actually quite parsimonious, and are not in any way trying to dictate to you.

The theory of music analysis that has always gotten me most excited is called the Implication/Realization Model. The entire theory rests on two utterly trivial axioms: A+A->A and A+B->C (in English, similarity implies continued similarity, and differentiation implies continued differentiation). And of course what you find in analyzing music in this way is that composers from the beginning of time give us A+A+B and A+B+A, which is where the richness in musical syntax actually dwells. (Of course, the good composer will also throw in an A+A+A and an A+B+C once in a while when we least expect it -- which is great fun: suddenly fulfillment of expectation becomes the surprise.)

And as you can imagine, when applying such a concept to form, melody, rhythm, dynamics, orchestration, etc, you could write an entire book about a single work.

I feel Dramatica does much the same thing for writing fiction.

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szore
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Re: characters and PSR

Postby szore » Mar 22, 2010 3:00 pm

LOL, and yet Jimmy Page is self taught and cannot read a note of music. GO FIGURE!

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Re: characters and PSR

Postby phillybudd » Mar 22, 2010 3:16 pm

Yeah, but I'm sure if you analyzed what he's doing, you find the same rules of fulfillment or denial of implication was going on. He may not even be aware of it (in fact most good musicians aren't), but it's there. Otherwise it's just noise.


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