Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

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.
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prodos
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Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby prodos » Jun 25, 2008 6:16 am

Greetings.

Here is an excerpt from my Plot Sequence Report:
Act two concentrates on "visualizing how an existing idea might be implemented" (Developing a Plan) and is explored in terms of Instinct, Senses, Interpretation, and Conditioning


Should these 4 Variations ...

  • Instinct
  • Senses
  • Interpretation
  • Conditioning
... be treated as an actual sequence? Are they listed in order?

i.e. Instinct is explored first, followed by Senses, followed by Interpretation, followed by Conditioning.

Thanks for any assistance.

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 25, 2008 4:56 pm

No, they need not be seen as a sequence, though Armando uses them as one in his technique for building thematic scenes in "Dramatica for Screenwriters." (http://dramatica.com/theory/armando/s5/s5c21p01.html)

The way the Plot Sequence Report currently lists the Variations is not supposed to be indicative of the order of exploration, unlike the Types which ARE ordered.
Chris Huntley
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prodos
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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby prodos » Jun 25, 2008 9:03 pm

Chris Huntley wrote:No, they need not be seen as a sequence, though Armando uses them as one in his technique for building thematic scenes in "Dramatica for Screenwriters." (http://dramatica.com/theory/armando/s5/s5c21p01.html)


Yes, I've read Armando's notes on that (and have his excellent book), which was what prompted my question, actually.

Chris Huntley wrote:The way the Plot Sequence Report currently lists the Variations is not supposed to be indicative of the order of exploration, unlike the Types which ARE ordered.


That's very helpful information.

Thanks. :)

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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Geoff1975 » Nov 21, 2013 11:16 am

Hi,
Thanks Prodos for bringing up this question and thanks Chris for helping us all out. I'm laying out my outline and matched the signposts with Potential, Resistance, etc. It can really help to see in the overall story the sense of hitting a brick wall (Resistance) in Act Two, for example, in terms of the story goal. I can think about Changing One's Nature as something like that.

In Dramatica Story Expert, I'm guessing the PSR variation list isn't in order, either. : ( In other words, I hoped I could look at the chart at rest, identify Potential as the upper left quad element, then label that variation, wherever it falls in the PSR list, as the Potential for that Act.

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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Chris Huntley » Nov 22, 2013 10:17 am

There is no "right" or "wrong" order to the Variations in the PSR. Armando, however, finds that the order in which they appear in the PSR work well for him in creating scenes and I'm OK with that.
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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Geoff1975 » Dec 16, 2013 9:04 am

Thanks, Chris. The PSR makes sense except for one thing. Pardon me for delving in, but these things are useful in seeing how the entire mechanism works. I noticed something which holds true for ALMOST all the through lines. In the PSR, each set of variations is presented in the order they are in the Chart (At Rest) in a Z-pattern. Typically a couple of the through lines have one or two sets presented in a non-Z pattern order. What's causing this? Is this a sweep under the rug effect?

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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Chris Huntley » Dec 16, 2013 9:49 am

No, the non-'standard' patterns are side effects of the model being twisted in response to the inequity at the heart of the story. They reveal areas that have been warped by the influence of the story dynamics.
Chris Huntley
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Tkmcpike

Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Tkmcpike » Jun 23, 2014 12:10 pm

Um, I don't quite understand. If there is no "right" PSR Variation order, but the order "does" reflect areas where the model is twisted in response to the inequity (i.e., when it doesn't follow the Z pattern), isn't that useful information? And wouldn't that mean that presenting the Variations in the PSR order should clue the reader to something? Like maybe, characters using the "wrong" value criteria to judge things?

Tkmcpike

Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Tkmcpike » Jun 23, 2014 12:13 pm

Also, how does the PSR Variation pattern given in the report fit with the article you (Chris) did a few years back on the Z pattern vs. a criss-cross pattern? Thanks.

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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 24, 2014 3:13 pm

With theme, the meaning comes from relative value (this vs. that compared to that vs. the other thing, and so on). Order is meaningful in plot, which is defined by sequence -- thus the plot sequence report is about the plot order of the Signposts -- whereas the variations explore relative benefits and detriments as expressions of theme (not plot). How you STORYWEAVE them is unimportant per se because the meaning of theme comes from an exploration of the spatial relationships, not storyweaving order in which they are delivered.

The Z pattern is important where PLOT is concerned more than storyweaving, because PLOT is connected to the meaning inherent in the storyform, whereas storyweaving is a storytelling technique.

Does that help?
Chris Huntley
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http://screenplay.com/

Tkmcpike

Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Tkmcpike » Jun 26, 2014 9:35 am

Let's see if I understand:

1) The PSR explores the discrepancy between Plot and theme, so I understand what you're saying insofar as the PSR gives us Variations that are shifted (applying to a Type other than their Type in the Theme Browser). I've always taken that to be, in functional storytelling terms, "characters applying an objectively inappropriate set of values to their area of Concern (Signpost, Type) as a bigger part of the Problem," . Okay so far?

2) The PSR lists the Variations sequentially, and occassionally that sequence will not be in the typical Z pattern, but that is a mechanical function of the "winding up" of the Model that does not have functional storytelling significance. Instead, it is the relationships / comparisons among the Variations in that Quad that have storytelling significance, so the author is free to present those comparisons in any chronological order. Is that right?

Thanks.

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Re: Plot Sequence Report: Are the Variations sequential?

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 28, 2014 8:26 am

1. Yes.
2. For all intents and purposes, yes. When exploring theme, the order of the variations can indicate an order but sequence is of less import than relative values (in theme). There is an element of plot (sequence) in the order of the Variations, but strict adherence to it is not necessary, though may be useful when constructing scenes, e.g. Armando's methodology of using Variation sequences in the PSR to create scenes.
Chris Huntley
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http://dramatica.com/
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