Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

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.
kintelary
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Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby kintelary » Jan 06, 2014 10:38 am

For the Dramatica User's Group in Austin, I am trying to use story analysis and story creation for practical application in becoming Master Storytellers. How far should an analysis be taken? All the way to chapter coverage, character coverage, and everything on the Story Points Outline? How far should we take the creation process? 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? Is it ongoing research or is this pretty well established so we can follow a format of some kind? Thanks.

If ANY suggestions spring to mind, the members will benefit. :)

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stephenbuck415
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Re: Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby stephenbuck415 » Jan 06, 2014 11:24 am

Hi Kintelary.

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)
- http://dramatica.com/community/users-group
How To Join the Online Dramatica Users Group
- http://dramatica.com/community/users-group/online
iTunes Podcast
- search for Dramatica Users Group
Dramatica.com
- http://dramatica.com
Dramaticapedia.com
- http://dramaticapedia.com
Dramatica Writers Community on Google+
- https://plus.google.com/communities/113065480192063652085
and as a shameless self-promo, I've started to host an old fashioned e-mail discussion list to discuss Dramatica theory at
- http://goo.gl/ThZlxX

Commentary:

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/
- http://dramaticapedia.com/2010/04/07/the-12-questions-every-writer-should-answer/

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.

Later,
Buck
Dramatica E-Mail Discussion List:
https://buckspub.com/mailman/listinfo/dramatica_buckspub.com

kintelary
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Re: Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby kintelary » Jan 07, 2014 8:24 am

Thanks. :)

I have had Dramatica resources for quite a while now and recently received Dramatica Pro 4 from Santa (thanks Santa).
The amount of time we want to spend is a major consideration I am wrestling with right now.
Since our group is dealing with books and the group interest is in becoming Master Storytellers, the analysis is also a Storytelling analysis.
I am new to leading a community group like this and want it to be a good education, but also an easy and fun experience for people who enjoy stories.

I have seen movies analyzed, but it seems like a movie has the medium going for it in terms of story, because actors and camera work and set design, etc, has such a big role, that encoding is easier to pick out. But with a book, sometimes rather large works, there is a lot of reading and then all of the elements of storytelling have to be within the written word itself. I am not a fast enough reader to experience a book like a movie. Maybe if I compress a book on CD into a movie length feature, I can listen to it and get the overall feel much easier.

Does any of this make sense? I am running on little sleep today. :/

Thanks again. I'll check out your selfless shameful-promo ;)

Also, I am trying to get into the DUG and I am already able to get into DWG if the time would only work out for me.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was "delightful." :)

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby Chris Huntley » Jan 08, 2014 4:30 pm

When doing story analyses, especially GROUP story analyses, I find it valuable to limit the discussion to defining a single storyform, which typically involves answering eight to twelve questions. Then we spend some time looking at all of Dramatica's implied choices to see if they reflect what is found in the story in order to test the storyform's accuracy in representing what appears to be the author's intent expressed through the work.

I usually do group analyses using films BECAUSE getting through the material can be done in three hours, and often half that time based on the time it takes to watch the film.

Books are far more challenging in general because the amount of time required to 'experience' them, and often take more time to analyze because of the density of the storytelling. Analyzing books as a group experience may be exponentially more time consuming -- because that's how group dynamics often work.

In your case, you sound like you want to discuss the story structure (storyforming) as well as the story telling (storyencoding and storyweaving, perhaps with a little story reception to round out the conversation). In that case, I recommend limiting the storyforming discussion to identification of the four throughlines combined with the eight dynamic questions. I think you'll find that significant enough to stimulate discussion and identify the author's intent in the broadest of senses, while still leaving plenty of time for the more traditional story analysis about the storytelling.

Another tip is to consider one major aspect of the structure or the storytelling style and focus on that as the learning point of the analysis. For example, one book might be a great example of weaving multiple stories together in a single work. If that's the case, then identifying the four throughlines for each of the stories would go a long way toward clarifying the structure of the work. Then you can talk about the effectiveness and methodologies of weaving the stories together with an eye toward technique and or alternative approaches that might improve audience comprehension or interest. Another example might be on focusing on the issue of the Subjective Characters, determining the context in which one changes and which one remains steadfast, and how those Subjective Characters align with the Main Character and Influence Character throughlines.

By emphasizing at least one learning moment in a group analysis, you succeed even if you never get to a storyform or even if you find the book (story) to be incomplete or broken. Because I've done this so many years, I don't plan those out but let them crop up when someone in the group asks for clarification about a particular point. Those moments become teaching moments and validate (for me) the value of analyzing other people's work because we can all learn from how to do something (or how not to do something) based on gaining greater understanding of how stories work to move us toward an author's position.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby Chris Huntley » Jan 08, 2014 4:38 pm

BTW, Buck, I like your answers to the original questions. I think your insights are valuable, especially since you've 'been there...done that', so to speak.
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

kintelary
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Re: Story to Story Form & Story Form to Story

Postby kintelary » Nov 15, 2014 12:47 pm

I have yet to focus on my Want to get the Group started. I tend to focus on Should, believe I Can, know I Need to, but without a solid Want, it goes nowhere. Mainly, there is fear from experience that believing I Can and actually being able to when faced with it prove emotionally restrictive. -- just analyzing what happened as if from a Dramatica perspective.

I have reread the responses all these months later, after getting back to November (NaNoWriMo starts the process for me). I got Armando's book recently and there is a lot there that can help as well, but a lot to process for a hobbyist.

As I reread the responses from above, I took note of many things that I appreciate more now than before. Asking questions is often fishing and getting answers is often taking the bait, but if I don't catch anything, because the answers went over my head, I have to try again. The value of being able to come back to previous answers is that I can see them differently, because I have new questions. Isn't technology grand? :)

Further, with the nature of mediums, analysis of a book does definitely slow everything down. I have considered not doing analysis at all and instead just doing story creation and this way, whether someone wants to consider a screenplay, a novel, a movie, or some other medium, it can all be explored off of the main story creation outline (Just something I am thinking about).

I am recovering from surgery, so I have been cooped up for a week now mulling over Dramatica and trying to write for my NaNoWriMo word count. Not happening very well. And I am coming across rather medicated these days. But cheers and thanks again.

I'll post a question elsewhere. Here, my main purpose was to say thank you and to take note of the responses having more relevance the more I understand. :)


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