Christmas stories grand argument?

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Chris Huntley
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Christmas stories grand argument?

Postby Chris Huntley » May 30, 2008 9:32 am

dalei24x -- Christmas stories grand argument?

I'm very new to Dramatica...and haven't even finished the theory book...but I'm intrigued by the theory and am enjoying my foray into the theory so far...

I'm thinking it might be helpful to list stories which aren't grand argument... It's Chrismas as I ponder this, so....Is the Grinch story GA? If so, who are the Main and Impact Characters? Guess the Grinch is the Main Character; obviously he changes...but who is the character that changes him? It's not really Whoville (the town...and can a whole town be a "subjective character"?) so...is it the spirit of Christmas? I just can't name a player (character) who is the Impact Character... yet I can't help believing the Grinch story is Grand Argument in nature....

What about the Rudolph story... again, Rudolph is obviously the Main Character and he changes... no discernable impact character? North Pole Village as Impact..but they change, too--they finally accept Rudolph...again, it's gotta be GA...right?
It violates the theory to say the conflict is man vs. himself (or reindeer or Grinch vs. himself)but it seems to me you really have a metaphor for maturity in these stories (especially Rudolph)--so can a person be both Main Character and Impact?
Obviously, I'm loving my discoveries as I work with Dramatica...and to all a Merry Christmas...

PS: are there non-GA stories that have been made into popular movies or successful novels?


Graham The Grinch #1

I don't remember Rudolph's story well enough, but I'm a big fan of the Grinch. I think "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a Grand Argument Story, but it's so short, so maybe it's not completely explored. But there are definitely Main and Impact Characters...and I think they are the Grinch and Whoville. Some may argue it's Cindy-Lou, but I think she just represents Whoville. It's not she alone who causes the Grinch to change, but it's the whole town. The Grinch hates everything the Who's are doing in preparation for Christmas (I think that is established early in the story). But at the end he is moved by the fact that they did not let his grinchiness stop them from celebrating.

By the way, the reason the Grinch is the Main Character is because we experience the story through his perspective, not because he changes. It could have been the Impact Character that changed (the Who's could have given up on Christmas), and then the Main Character would have remained steadfast (the Grinch would still hate Christmas).

Graham




majako73 Re: The Gricnh #2

I'm new and trying to figure this out also. Is there no antagonist in the Grinch? Doesn't there have to be one someplace? How about the Grinch himself, since he embodies HINDER. Hope I'm not complicating this more....


dalei24x No antagonist? #3

Thanks for responding... Is is true that every story must have the subjective characters, Main and Impact...but if the story is made of complex characters there might not be a character thought of as the Antagonist? or even the Protagonist... Dramatica seems much more focused on Main and Impact, not so much on the Archetypes of Protagonist, Antagonist, etc. The whole theory is fascinating to me--I've learned much...still miles to go before I'm comfortable with it...


Chris Huntley Re: No antagonist? #4

The Grinch is clearly the antagonist. The Who's want to celebrate Christmas and the Grinch is against it. The Grinch is ALSO the Main Character--it's his personal story we're sharing. He is a Change MC and that's shown as a Judgment of Good. The Who's celebrate Christmas so it's also an Outcome of Success.

Cindy Lou Who is the closest thing to a single Impact Character, though she seems to be representative of the Who ethic and perspective. As a short story, there's not enough "real estate" to explore the storyform fully, but the broad strokes seem to be there with some areas explored much more fully.

In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, there are two parallel stories intertwined. In one you have Rudolf on one side and the other reindeer on the other with Comet (?) the most critical. In the other story you have Hermie the elf that wants to be a dentist and is derided by the head elf. Rudolph and Hermie run off and then come back to save the day. Both Comet and the head elf have a change of heart and accept/tolerate their return.

The argument is there but it's pretty light-weight. Still, the fact that it's there is one of the reasons it's so enduring and can sustain repetitive viewings.

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Clint541963
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Re: Christmas stories grand argument?

Postby Clint541963 » Jan 22, 2011 6:16 pm

(I'm probably not the first to think of this, but look at the similarities between How the Grinch Stole Christmas and 9/11. What if we would have reacted like the Whos down in Whoville)
I know it is no longer Christmas at the time I write this, but hey, these posts are timeless, right?

I had this thought this past Christmas. I watched "In the Heat of the Night" and listened to the Dramatica Theory podcast and I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (http://msmindy.com/rudolph/characters.shtml), and I couldn't help but think they are very similar stories.
(It sounds like an episode for adult swim: Robot Chicken,"They call me Mr. Red Nosed Reindeer!") Rudolph is stuck in a situation of having a red nose. Santa et. al.(IC) are prejudice against him because he is a misfit.

I would think it very educational to analyze Rudolph and make it a complete story, ie., Like Chris does with Jurassic Park. Show where all the missing beats and Dramatica story elements are and plug in possible scene scenarios to make the story complete.

I would also like to learn from example of creating 4 dimensional characters and how that works. So what about flushing out all four 8 elements in all four dimensions of each Character and how those elements play out with-in the story? I'll throw out a possible Story Engine Setting:
STORY ENGINE SETTINGS: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"

CHARACTER DYNAMICS:
MC RESOLVE: Steadfast
MC GROWTH: Stop
MC APPROACH: Do-er
MC PROBLEM-SOLVING STYLE: Logical
IC RESOLVE: Change

PLOT DYNAMICS:
DRIVER: Action
LIMIT: Timelock
OUTCOME: Success
JUDGMENT: Good

MAIN CHARACTER
(Rudolph)
THROUGHLINE: Situation
CONCERN: How Things are Changing
ISSUE: Threat vs. Security
PROBLEM: Determination
SOLUTION: Expectation
SYMPTOM: Hunch
RESPONSE: Theory
UNIQUE ABILITY: Security
CRITICAL FLAW: Wisdom
BENCHMARK: The Future
SIGNPOST 1: The Past
SIGNPOST 2: The Future
SIGNPOST 3: The Present
SIGNPOST 4: How Things are Changing

MAIN VS. IMPACT STORY
(The Main vs. Impact Story)
THROUGHLINE: Manipulation
CONCERN: Playing a Role
ISSUE: Knowledge vs. Thought
PROBLEM: Unending
SOLUTION: Ending
SYMPTOM: Hunch
RESPONSE: Theory
CATALYST: Ability
INHIBITOR: Value
BENCHMARK: Changing One's Nature
SIGNPOST 1: Developing a Plan
SIGNPOST 2: Playing a Role
SIGNPOST 3: Changing One's Nature
SIGNPOST 4: Conceiving an Idea

OVERALL STORY
(The Overall Story)
THROUGHLINE: Activity
CONCERN: Doing
ISSUE: Wisdom vs. Enlightenment
PROBLEM: Unproven
SOLUTION: Proven
SYMPTOM: Hunch
RESPONSE: Theory
CATALYST: Skill
INHIBITOR: Fact
BENCHMARK: Obtaining
SIGNPOST 1: Understanding
SIGNPOST 2: Doing
SIGNPOST 3: Obtaining
SIGNPOST 4: Gathering Information

IMPACT CHARACTER
(Santa Claus)
THROUGHLINE: Fixed Attitude
CONCERN: Impulsive Responses
ISSUE: Worry vs. Confidence
PROBLEM: Unproven
SOLUTION: Proven
SYMPTOM: Cause
RESPONSE: Effect
UNIQUE ABILITY: Confidence
CRITICAL FLAW: Knowledge
BENCHMARK: Innermost Desires
SIGNPOST 1: Innermost Desires
SIGNPOST 2: Impulsive Responses
SIGNPOST 3: Contemplation
SIGNPOST 4: Memories

ADDITIONAL STORY POINTS

GOAL: Doing
CONSEQUENCE: Playing a Role
COST: Impulsive Responses
DIVIDEND: How Things are Changing

REQUIREMENT: Obtaining
PREREQUISITE: Changing One's Nature
PRECONDITION: Innermost Desires
FOREWARNINGS: The Future


Sam
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Clint541963
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Re: Christmas stories grand argument?

Postby Clint541963 » Jan 22, 2011 6:20 pm

Here is a slightly different Story Engine Setting for Rudolph:
STORY ENGINE SETTINGS: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"

CHARACTER DYNAMICS:
MC RESOLVE: Steadfast
MC GROWTH: Stop
MC APPROACH: Do-er
MC PROBLEM-SOLVING STYLE: Intuitive
IC RESOLVE: Change

PLOT DYNAMICS:
DRIVER: Action
LIMIT: Timelock
OUTCOME: Success
JUDGMENT: Good

MAIN CHARACTER
(the Main Character)
THROUGHLINE: Situation
CONCERN: The Present
ISSUE: Attempt vs. Work
PROBLEM: Protection
SOLUTION: Inaction
SYMPTOM: Reevaluation
RESPONSE: Evaluation
UNIQUE ABILITY: Work
CRITICAL FLAW: Strategy
BENCHMARK: The Future
SIGNPOST 1: How Things are Changing
SIGNPOST 2: The Future
SIGNPOST 3: The Past
SIGNPOST 4: The Present

MAIN VS. IMPACT STORY
(The Main vs. Impact Story)
THROUGHLINE: Manipulation
CONCERN: Conceiving an Idea
ISSUE: Deficiency vs. Permission
PROBLEM: Possibility
SOLUTION: Probability
SYMPTOM: Reevaluation
RESPONSE: Evaluation
CATALYST: Permission
INHIBITOR: Appraisal
BENCHMARK: Changing One's Nature
SIGNPOST 1: Playing a Role
SIGNPOST 2: Changing One's Nature
SIGNPOST 3: Conceiving an Idea
SIGNPOST 4: Developing a Plan

OVERALL STORY
(The Overall Story)
THROUGHLINE: Activity
CONCERN: Gathering Information
ISSUE: Preconditions vs. Prerequisites
PROBLEM: Nonacceptance
SOLUTION: Acceptance
SYMPTOM: Reevaluation
RESPONSE: Evaluation
CATALYST: Prerequisites
INHIBITOR: Attraction
BENCHMARK: Obtaining
SIGNPOST 1: Doing
SIGNPOST 2: Obtaining
SIGNPOST 3: Gathering Information
SIGNPOST 4: Understanding

IMPACT CHARACTER
(the Obstacle Character)
THROUGHLINE: Fixed Attitude
CONCERN: Contemplation
ISSUE: Doubt vs. Investigation
PROBLEM: Nonacceptance
SOLUTION: Acceptance
SYMPTOM: Induction
RESPONSE: Deduction
UNIQUE ABILITY: Investigation
CRITICAL FLAW: Need
BENCHMARK: Innermost Desires
SIGNPOST 1: Memories
SIGNPOST 2: Impulsive Responses
SIGNPOST 3: Innermost Desires
SIGNPOST 4: Contemplation

ADDITIONAL STORY POINTS

GOAL: Gathering Information
CONSEQUENCE: Conceiving an Idea
COST: Contemplation
DIVIDEND: The Present

REQUIREMENT: Obtaining
PREREQUISITE: Changing One's Nature
PRECONDITION: Innermost Desires
FOREWARNINGS: The Future


Sam
WorkingMan Productions
Sam Potter
Screenwriter


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