Star Wars Characters

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Chris Huntley
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Star Wars Characters

Postby Chris Huntley » May 30, 2008 10:10 am

stanhoffman -- Star Wars Characters

I'm really trying to get a grasp of how Dramatica helps understand characters. The instructional materials (videos, books, etc.) often deal with Star Wars. But when it comes to character, discussion is convined to Motivation. Has anyone done a complete character analysis accounting for all elements in all four major quadrants of the Build Characters window?

The Romeo and Juliet sample file accounts for more elements, but there are still blanks. It's also more complex than the Star Wars example. One fully realized example file would help a lot. Thanks.

aiRo25 All Characters #1

I noticed early on that there was a lot of slanting. This slanting is actually based on your overall story choices for throughline, concern, and issue. Whatever is your concern, the quads within it form the basis of which "build characters" section you will emphasize.

Don't understand? Pull out your handy map of Dramatica that came with the software or use Theme Browser.

Find the concern that you chose for OS Throughline. Compare the elements within to the Build Characters. Wherever they fall is where all the emphasis is. But that is not the only place where characters are handled.

Under Story Reports, you will find one called Plot Sequence. For ease of use, turn illustrations off. Now, it will list what themes are developed within each signpost. Compare these themes to your Theme Browser or chart, and note on separate paper (they don't have a spot in-program to do this) what character elements are handled during which signpost. Once you have mapped your elements, you will find that ALL character interactions are included in your story.

Nifty, huh?

Hope that made sense. I had been trying to find this for two weeks, and just the other day, I finally landed on the Plot Sequence Report.

Important: Study that chart of all the Dramatica variations, elements, etc. It holds the key.

stanhoffman Re: All Characters #2

Yes--this is VERY nifty. My biggest problem is trying to understand the elements well enough to assign them to my characters. The illustrations given in the manual and within the program are helpful, but the trouble is that everthing all starts to blur together when you look at more than one element at a time. For example, in a story where Obtaining is the OS Goal, so everyone is involved with either obtaining or trying to keep someone else from obtaining, the characteristics of Pursuit and Knowledge, for example, become very slippery. Only one character can have Pursuit as an element. But (in my story), the Protagonist starts the action by pursuing something. He sends the MC off to get it. The MC is thus trying to Help the Protagonist achieve his goal. The MC is Pursuing Knowledge of his origins (he's adopted and it's a big issue for him). But Dramatica says that IC has the Pursuit as a Crucial element. Well, she does sort of pursue the MC, but her main function is to Avoid the ends the MC is trying to bring about. These ends ultimately are shown to be wrong, even evil, and the MC repudiates them. So when all is over, the MC's function was to prevent the Protagonist from achieving his goal. But he has no idea this is what he is going to do until shortly before the climax. So how can Avoidance (which Dramatica says is MC Crucial) be his Motivation?

It seems like there ought to be a way to relate a character's Motivation, Purpose, Methodology, and Evaluation in a way that brings more order to what seems (at least to me at this early stage of trying to understand Dramatica theory) to be somewhat chaotic. For example, a character has a motivation to Avoid a purpose of Desire by Renouncing (I made this one up because I couldn't figure out which methodology element it would be) the world and becoming a monk. He evaluates his success at avoiding desire by how much peace he feels (which evaluation is this?).

I seem to be missing something critical here. Insights, anyone?

Chris Huntley Re: All Characters #3

The character elements in the Overall Story throughline all relate to resolving the problem at the heart of the Overall Story. They represent different approaches to problem-solving in the OS. The characters assigned to these character elements then represent these OS problem-solving techniques. Strictly speaking, character elements in the OS do not represent "personal" approaches of the OS characters but problem-solving approaches within the limited context of the Overall Story. You may choose to add "personal" material to the OS characters to give them a more rounded feel, but do not confuse these private concerns with their functions in the OS.

Avoidance (Prevention) can be the source of MC motivation if it is his MC Problem, especially if he is a Steadfast MC.

Another note come to mind reading your post.

The MC and IC do not participate in the OS. The players that embody them will be in the OS, but the OS characters assigned to those players (via character elements) are functionally separate from the MC and IC. This means the MC's personal concerns are not the same as those in the OS, even if the character element is the same label. By way of example, it's the difference between pursuing a hobby in your personal life and chasing after a criminal in your professional life--both are pursuit but the context makes them different. Your examples seem to blur this difference.

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