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Author Topic: Dramatica Theory
Sétanta
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So, does anyone have any strong thoughts on Dramatica theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatica_Theory_of_Story_Structure; http://dramatica.com/theory)?

It's fairly new (about 20 years old) and I find it interesting, but a part of me rebels against anything that makes stories into forms you have fill in and boxes you have to check. I'm especially skeptical about the necessity of an "impact character," because I can never wrap my head around what one is. To give an example, one expert claims that Obi-Wan Kenobi is Luke's impact character, because he gives him (Luke) a new way to problem-solve (become a Jedi). But another says it's Vader, because he does, too (join me, rule the universe, father and son, blah blah). Since Luke remains steadfast, the impact character should change, and the only change Obi-Wan makes is to turn into a pile of robes on the ground.

Well, anyway, this whole thing ends up reminding me of my 10th grade English class in which there were 9 million interpretations for every story and poem and all of them were wrong (and/or right, I forget). I always remember that in OSC's (newer) preface to Ender's Game, he cautions that writing need not be encoded to be good. I think the bottom line is that I find stuff like this philosophically interesting to discuss - and hey! If it helps you write your novel, that's great! - but I don't like being told I have to hit X number of points in a particular order and manner to create a compelling novel.

Then again, who am I to question stuff like this? I don't have a lot to back up my fightin' words at this point. Any of you have any thoughts on Dramatica?

S

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extrinsic
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Methods and models abound for writing what is essentially a universal expression media form -- written word -- with undefined limiting boundaries, which, in turn, are unlimited.

I have several reservations about the Dramatica Theory. Foremost is Dramatica is an incomplete model of the narrative form. The model makes the assumption problems can be and are meant to be solved. That is but one narrative type, as identified and defined in Damon Knight's Creating Short Fiction; that is, problem solving is the conflict resolution type. The conflict resolution type narrative is the more common and numerous type. Other types Knight names include puzzle, revelation, the joke, and a non-story story type he labels "plotless," though such stories are not plotless, only their structural features are experimental and unconventional, making them challenging to comprehend and appreciate.

Knight, too, only covers a portion of narrative types, albeit more than Dramatica Theory. For comprehensive and all-inclusive, at the present time, the sum of drama as the fiction and creative nonfiction form and type, as well poetry and scripts, which is predicated upon dramatic complication's antagonal, causal, and tensional influence axes, is likewise only one of four narrative types: drama, anecdote, vignette, and sketch; which narrative itself is only one of four written-word expression metagenres: performance, research, analysis, argumentation -- however, all expression is argumentation, only each distinguishably distinct argument subject to an infinite selection of convention and self-imposed rule set -- One first principle covers the expression gamut: complication satisfaction, period.

Dramatica Theory also assumes name spaces which are mere deviations, derivative, that is, of ancient labels and concepts. "Impact character," for example, is derived from an older theory, unnamed, from "influence character." Two other character types contained therein are objective and subjective characters. An influence character influences a narrative's action, positively or negatively, or both, and is not limited to personas, could be setting features and objects as well as events. "Objective character" describes an observer persona, though "objective" is also a type of attitude: a shared unbiased value and belief perspective. "Subjective character" is an observed subject persona, though likewise is also a type of attitude: a personal, subject-to-bias value and belief perspective. Also, objective, subjective, and influence characters are not per se fixed for those roles, any can be another at any time, and can be more than one or could be all at the same time.

The most ancient term for the functions of an influence or impact character is agonist, to mean a contestant that shapes the action such that the agency of a character or setting or event is transformatively influential. A later-day label is antagonist, for anti-agonist, though a degree of somewhat fixed role. Antagonism is at least two forces in congruent opposition such that they are both unequivocally and irrevocably transformed by their direct and indirect interactions. It takes two or more to lambada. Three's a riot and a party. One is stuck in a bathtub, untransformable, contemplating the proverbial navel and living on lotus leaves and spare air. Muriatic acid and sodium bicarbonate, for example, agonists of each other, when mixed, transform into robust heat, carbon dioxide gas, and salt water -- table salt.

Dramatica Theory painfully subverts and misses entirely essential implication appeals -- the artfully implied intangible action of moral human condition struggles and crises, which is the more significant and appealing overall feature of a narrative: what a narrative is actually about. The tangible action is mere package for the moral human condition appeal and invariably superficial.

Dramatica Theory emphasizes structure over content and expression or discourse mode. A structure is the skeleton and is troublesome if exposed. The flesh, so to speak, is the meat of the matter and, though dramatic structure (plot) is pertinent and near universal of shape, is not a universal shape and can only fundamentally be defined as the moral human condition, which approaches infinite. They say beauty is only skin deep and ugly goes all the way to the bone; artful narrative goes inside the bone, too, and naturally and appealingly, artfully, sublimely, beautifully drapes the skeletal structure.

Dramatica Theory best practice may be appreciated as yet another emphasis on structure that accesses fundamentals, that asserts structure matters and is a part of a well-crafted narrative. The structure itself hasn't changed since the first story ever told, only the names and principles and theories and values and beliefs have been variably enumerated over time, and are adaptive and adoptive to an era's culture and technology, and even, yes, language sciences and arts.

I suggest, for more effective composition study, consider The Poetics of Aristotle. I've yet to encounter a narrative theory across the canon that is not at least scratched at the edges of in that text. Not to say that everything since is derivative of Aristotle, only that narrative is a timeless convention as sure of form and necessary contents, arrangements, and intents and functions as has ever been.

[ June 01, 2015, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MattLeo
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What extrinsic said. [Smile]

I did a quick look at the Dramatica website, and the focus seems to be screenplays. Screenplays are different from novels in that they are just the starting point for a massive collaborative process. The main orchestrator of that process is the director, not the writer. This is radically different from theater, in which the playwright is treated like God. In cinema the director is the auter -- literally the "author" (in French). The screenwriter is more like a craftsman who furnishes the director with raw materials.

Because of this you may have noticed that movies tend to be a lot more like each other in story structure than novels are. An approach to screenwriting has to provide enough flexibility to tell an endless number of stories, but enough conventionality that a director doesn't have to start by ripping the screenplay apart and pasting it back together into shootable form.

A few years ago when I was putting together a sci-fi novel which was supposed to evoke the screwball romantic comedy films of the 1940s, so naturally I looked into screenwriting conventions. Blake Snyder was a friend of a friend, so I decided to use his "Save the Cat" formula as the basis for my novel. I was very pleased with the results, and I commend the "Save the Cat" formula to anyone as something worth trying. But I sure as heck wouldn't recommend anyone limit themselves to that formula when they're writing a novel.

Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice is one of the more interesting sci-fi novels to come out in the last several years. In most respects it's a fairly run-of-the-mill space opera, but what sets it apart is its unusual structure. The long first act alternates between the narrative present and flashback, neither story line making entire sense to the reader until the he's put the picture together from both of them. It's a daring and ambitious structure, one that you either hate or love depending on your tolerance for mystification. But it's not something you'd ever arrive at following some kind of screenwriting formula.

If someone's screenplay formula intrigues you, by all means give it a go, even if you're doing a novel. But be aware that while the formula may fit the needs of a screenplay, it rules out many things which are possibilities in a novel, for example an episodic, epic structure as with Game of Thrones. Also, be aware that you aren't the only person using that formula; so while the formula may be beneficial in giving you focus you'll need to work harder to stand out. That's why screenwriting is so hard to break into.

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extrinsic
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For an analytical, psychotherapeutic, perhaps cathartic, and ethnographic survey tool, Dramatica Theory resolves around problem-solving strategies, tactics, and problem-coping strategies. Those are probably the theory's clearest strengths and worths. And problem wanting satisfaction is half of dramatic complication's identities; want, the other half, and both a congruent synergy as well.
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Robert Nowall
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Can't recall hearing of Dramatica Theory before. But any character---all characters, really---might represent choices for some other characters, as these characters in turn represent choices for those and maybe others.

Maybe Darth Vader is the central character of "Star Wars"---he is, after all, in all of the movies so far in substantial roles---and perhaps Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi represent choices for him.

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Sétanta
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Thanks for the thoughts, guys. My immediate reaction is to reject things that tell me how I ought to write. But that's a stupid reaction, probably, seeing as how my goal is get better at writing. I will try and take the positive aspects (the narrative framework provided) and not get bound up by the feeling that I "need" to follow any particular structure or check all the boxes.

What process do you all use to guide your outline writing? Aristotle's 3 act format is simple and clear, but somehow I can't attach myself to it. I feel like I need a fourth act (which Dramatica, at least, offers). Or do you just take it as it comes, discovery style?

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extrinsic
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I favor a five-act structure for a boilerplate template.

Act I: Introductions, also traditionally labeled Exposition act. Not solely expository in the sense of backstory, prologue, or summary and explanation particularly -- Webster's denotative meaning: "1 : a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing)". The substantive exposition is of a dramatic complication introduction. First major pivot from emotional equilibrium.

Inciting crisis moment, Incitement pivot, second major pivot: when a complication compels an agonist to act to satisfy the complication.

Act II, Rising Action act, escalating efforts to at least understand, if not satisfy, the dramatic complication.

Realization crisis moment, third major pivot: when a complication's influence parameters are fully realized.

Act III: Climax act, not the climax of reader emotional effect, which peaks at the denouement act, rather complication satisfaction efforts peak, forces in opposition peak, doubt of outcome peaks, and knowledge of the complication peaks, such that the complication seems ready for satisfaction. The moment of mid climax peak is the fourth major pivot.

Tragic crisis moment, fifth major pivot: when a tragic and unforeseen, congruent event renews doubt of complication satisfaction outcome.

Act IV: Falling Action act, declining efforts to satisfy the complication that again seems insurmountable.

Final crisis moment, sixth major pivot: when events distill into a synthesis of all prior action and lead toward complication satisfaction portrayed in the denouement act.

Act V: Denouement act, unequivocal, irrevocable satisfaction outcome of the dramatic complication. Seventh major pivot: emotional equilibrium restored to a new-normal, routine baseline.

The pivots, also labeled plot twists or turns, are based upon emotional revelation and reversal -- both -- or peripeteia and anagnorisis, respectively. A complex plot entails one or more abrupt, profound, and sublime, full complication pivots, like approaches greater than 90 degrees. A simple plot entails less remarkable, partial pivots of a few degrees emotional magnitude at least.

[ September 26, 2015, 04:27 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MattLeo
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I think writing formulas and systems are just the bee's knees. The problem comes when they get hijacked by our neurotic need for the approval and admiration of strangers. People get weirdly codependent-y about these systems, as if they can earn readers' love by following the magic formula without making mistakes. These things are tools, not magic. They won't do your writing for you.

Take three act structure. Aristotle derived it from the obvious fact that most stories have a beginning middle and end. He had tragedy in mind, but this is even true of epics, although in that case the middle dwarfs the beginning and the end. Since epics are practically all middle it makes no sense to think about "acts".

But let's say you're not writing an epic. Let's you're writing a middle grade novel. It's got to be substantial in nature, but if it goes over 55,000 words it'll be too long. Since you're on a word budget it makes sense to pay attention to how much time you spend getting the story off the ground, complicating it, and putting it to bed. If you hit 20,000 words and your protagonist isn't committed to solving the problem, you're headed for trouble.

But it's not mandatory to structure your writing process around three acts; nor are there any limits to how you can stretch, compress, or elaborate each act. I recommend people who doubt this read The Glass Coffin (Grimm fairytale #163). It's a strange, hypnotic tale that at first defies any kind of attempt to shoehorn it into a three part structure, but that structure is there in vestigial form.

There are of course other forms like Horace's 5 act structure, but they're specific to certain kinds of stories; they aren't universal as the concept of beginning, middle and end. In some cases they're built into a three act format (as with a screenplay formulas), or they can be mapped onto three acts (e.g. in Horace's acts II and III correspond to act 2, act IV and V correspond to 3).

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extrinsic
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Pre-writing planning is one planned method. That mixed with intuitive writing is another. One that is oftentimes overlooked in the general scheme of things is post-draft writing planning.

Post-writing planning uses a template to evaluate for revision strategies. Pivots are comparatively easy to spot and gauge for missing content and untimely arrangement, the acts themselves, too, though an act is a setup for a pivot. I use the method for my writing and to evaluate workshopped works and published model stories and novels, to gauge why a narrative passes muster or, better, is a breakout blockbuster.

The template assumes a certain word count per act; the three-act structure, for example, one-fourth introduction act, one-half action act, and one-fourth denouement act. Word count is a metric, though one that is a degree loosely construed. Actually, the more appealing narratives and popular and critically acclaimed works I've read and gauged somewhat closely conform word-count metrics to structural alignments. The pivots I identify above occur at close word-count-narrative time concordances. Dissecting a narrative for those milestones and the intervening act developments is illustrative and, if the work artfully manages the structure, near invisible.

How that's done -- for gauging, distinguish word count alignment to structure, locate pivots and identify features for their set up; for writing and revising, keep doubt of outcome in proportion to an act segment's time of development and emphasize emotional reader effect over organization features, likewise, emotion proportionate to an act segment's development time.

[ June 02, 2015, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Reziac
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I hadn't heard of it. But I'm starting to suspect that "writing to please all the rules as interpreted by a class or crit group" is a good deal of why I find so much recent stuff uninteresting.
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Grumpy old guy
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Well, I clicked on the link, started reading the blurb about how much of a paradigm shift Dramatica is and promptly closed the page.

To me it appears as a classic case of what the boffins and spin-meisters call re-branding. Lets use all the same literary constructs but update them so they're hip and sound flash, right Dude?

Id rather study Aristotle, Freytag, and Egri, just to name a couple.

Phil.

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jimhull
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There are many half-truths, misunderstandings and mistakes in the gross misrepresentation of Dramatica above. I took the time to address as many of them as I could on my site Narrative First in the article "Dramatica and What It Means for Story" (http://narrativefirst.com/articles/dramatica-and-what-it-means-for-story).

The gist of the article is this: Dramatica is not what anyone above says it is. Not even close. I know it may seem like a rehash of what came before, but that's a superficial evaluation. Take the time to actually learn it and I guarantee it will make a huge difference in your understanding and appreciation of story.

I'm not an employee nor am I paid by the people who created the theory. I'm simply a writer and a director who has found great value in the twenty years I've spent studying Dramatica.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by jimhull:
There are many half-truths, misunderstandings and mistakes in the gross misrepresentation of Dramatica above. I took the time to address as many of them as I could on my site Narrative First in the article "Dramatica and What It Means for Story" (http://narrativefirst.com/articles/dramatica-and-what-it-means-for-story).

The gist of the article is this: Dramatica is not what anyone above says it is. Not even close. I know it may seem like a rehash of what came before, but that's a superficial evaluation. Take the time to actually learn it and I guarantee it will make a huge difference in your understanding and appreciation of story.

I'm not an employee nor am I paid by the people who created the theory. I'm simply a writer and a director who has found great value in the twenty years I've spent studying Dramatica.

Likewise, misapprehensions of the above discussion -- and Hatrack rules of conduct, like introductions on the introduction forum second, after reading the Please Read Here First forum first and before posting on other forums.

I did not grant permission to republish content I posted on the Hatrack site either. From the bottom of every Hatrack page "Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited."

Please remove my unlicensed and copyright infringing content from the Narrative First site.

An inauspicious start!?

[ September 23, 2015, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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jimhull, unless you obtained permission to quote from this topic (which you didn't ask for from me) from any of the people who posted here, and whom you did not credit, you are most definitely infringing on copyright.

Please remove the quotes from your article immediately.

Thank you.

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Grumpy old guy
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The ONLY saving grace in illegally using my copyrighted opinion is that, at least in my case (although unattributed), you quoted me in my entirety. Still, you did not have my consent to rip-off my intellectual property freely expressed in a specific forum I am a member of and to then paste it on your own site as if I were happy to have it publicly aired there. What is unforgivable is that I cannot publicly demand my opinions removal from within your own site, therefore, I demand its immediate removal from here--just in case you check back.

Actually, ignore all that. Why do I care? It's not like I'll get a chance to respond publicly, or meet him in a dark alleyway. But, perhaps someone less forgiving than I will slap him with an IP theft and a libel lawsuit just to crimp his self-serving and aggrandising style. And, just as an after-note, it took him four months to craft that silly response--Aristotle he aint.

Phil.

[ September 24, 2015, 09:19 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]

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extrinsic
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Here at Hatrack, jimhull claims no employment or compensation association with the Dramatica organization, though claims on Narrative First's site to teach workshops on the topic at their Burbank headquarters. Mutually exclusive of each claim. That's association and deep pockets, not Microsoft deep though deeper than my shallow pockets. Maybe Dramatica folk put him up to address objections here to the process's system -- payware software and open access sample text. Maybe not put up by Dramatica folk, rather an avid fan who is oblivious to the opus of narrative theory, as is the Dramatica organization, and oblivious to perilous misapprenhensions of intellectual property rights.
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Disgruntled Peony
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I used the contact form on the website to alert jimhull to the copyright infringement issue. That kind of thing bothers me.
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jimhull
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I actually thought the email sent to me was a joke--I've never heard of anyone seriously asking to have their posts from a forum taken down in a clearly attributed article. You might want to read up on copyright infringement and fair use--particularly in the area of criticism.

I've also never heard of forum posters complaining that their words weren't properly attributed to their anonymous usernames. If it is that important to those I quoted, I would be more than happy to add their names to my articles.

As far as the ad hominem attacks go, I always find it interesting when people attack the man and not the position. Everyone here seems more concerned with copyright and claims of nepotism rather than the ideas and concepts that Dramatica truly offers. Though I do use the Burbank offices of Write Bros. to conduct the occasional workshop, I rent the space and am not offered compensation for my time. I haven't received a single penny from them.

As far as waiting four months to post ... I just discovered this site earlier this week while writing another article. The information posted in here regarding Dramatica was so grossly inaccurate that I felt it necessary to provide an alternate understanding. This forum is labeled "Open Discussions About Writing" and I figured there might be someone who would appreciate an accurate explanation of the theory.

If you have any other questions you are free to ask me on my site or here and I would be more than happy to answer them.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Okay, here's a question for you:

You chose to rebut the discussion that was posted here about people's experiences with Dramatica (TM) on your own space instead of here in the "Open Discussion on Writing" forum where the discussion occurred.

Why was that?

Also, instead of setting up the discussion here for your (dare I say "attack"?) rebuttal, why didn't you respond to what people said here, where they said it?

An individual's experience with a product is not "so grossly inaccurate" because that is the individual's experience.

We do not appreciate your using our discussion to make points for yourself somewhere else.

If what has been said was "so grossly inaccurate," please enlighten us here.

Thank you.

[ September 26, 2015, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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Review criticism and the fair use doctrine are not blanket rights to use other creators' intellectual property content at will. In fact, the opposite is true, express permission for use of protected intellectual property is a responsibility and the law. The fair use doctrine is a limited exception set based on a test of four corners and only subject to a final determination by a federal copyright court -- costly adjudication.

The fair use tests:
One, the nature of the secondary work.
Two, the nature of the copied work used.
Three, the quantity of the copied work copied.
Four, the potential market impact upon the copied work.

For these purposes, the copied uses do not pass tests one and two, and invoke number four.

The straight fair use test fail is the secondary work's infringing use supersedes the originals, is therefore derivative. Without the original objections to Dramatica systems posted above, the infringing uses would have no basis in the rebuttal essay. That's all the essay is, rebuttal opinion to supersede the original opinions, evidenced by ad nauseam rebuttal at Narrative First, therefore, derivative. That's the test fail.

Otherwise, the essay repeats other Dramatica copyrighted content, presumably under use permission or at least implicit consent, which is also association as an agent of Dramatica.

Plus the essay disparages and demeans thoughtful individuals' opinions. Opinions are impossible to argue against. Also, the demeaning personal attacks are argumentation ad nauseam fallacies, as well as ad hominem fallacies, which also supersede the original works, and are therefore also derivative failure to transformatively meet the fair use tests. Transformative use, that's the tests in one principle. Nothing original or transformative to see in the rebuttal essay or rebuttals to this discussion here.

Criticism of any kind when intended to demean, disparage, or otherwise refuse valid opinions, for the sake of personal gain, supersedes an original work. Period. Therefore, only copied content use permitted by express permission for disparagement or superseding purposes is lawful. All else is copyright infringement. Period.

Also, for faithful and responsible source attribution of cited materials, see a style manual, for cripes' sake. A partial website name drop and a hidden link are inadequate attribution. More than one cited overall source is also a citation responsibility, so that an asserted "factual" opinion is substantively and fairly supported. At least three sources for support and three sources of objections, because, as Aristotle famously asserted, "What I tell you three times is true."

Now, if a desire to address the objections above is wanted and warranted, and opinions are not subject to denial, though perhaps may be amenable to persuasion, that discussion belongs here at the Hatrack River Writers Workshop "Open Discussions About Writing" forum. Content here can responsibly be copied here and only here to highlight a point, though not for derivatively superseding a point.

Critics, reviewers, intellectual property counsels and judges, and copyright compliance associates know these principles' distinctions. I do. I have been educated, trained, and experienced in them and a copyright compliance associate for publications, and will be again, though not here now or ever at Hatrack by any means.

Still no introduction post. Are you intending meaningful writing discussions here at Hatrack or are you just here to impose your narrowly construed Dramatica opinions, disparage thoughtful opinions, and promote the Dramatica process and Narrative First website -- spam?

[ September 25, 2015, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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jimhull
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Kathleen,

I posted my article on my site out of respect to this forum. I didn't think it appropriate to come in here and post a 2500+ word essay on what was inaccurate with the above analysis of Dramatica. I gave my opinion, like many others in this forum have, and provided a link for additional information. If you would like me to I could cut and paste the whole thing here.

Regarding the individual's experience, those who offered opinions on Dramatica did so based on a limited and superficial analysis. Much of what was said was innaccurate based on this limited exposure and I addressed those errors in my article.

"We do not appreciate your using our discussion to make points for yourself somewhere else."

I have to say, this is the strangest point-of-view I have ever encountered on a public forum. The strength of the internet is an open exchange of ideas. I assumed everyone felt the same.

Regarding extrinsic and the idea that "opinions are impossible to argue against", you have your opinion and I have mine. Unfortunately our opinions differ so much as to have created an argument.

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extrinsic
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Here at Hatrack, every so often, someone posts a new-fangled, sparkly narrative theory and technology product for evaluation and discussion. Probably we see a handful or two each year and are proficient at "limited and superficial analysis" of them. They vary, though not by much, and they usually come at a cost to explore. A cost that must support and promote itself prior to a purchase decision, thus, yeah, "limited and superficial analysis." The sample Dramatica content doesn't persuade me past the pay wall and, instead, causes me to balk and run away like it's a wild hardball pitch.

I for one am frankly weary of all the sparkly greatest new ways and gadgets to write that are derivative repeats of ancient knowledge repackaged for digital application and for the profit of their creators and from unacknowledged original sources. Like Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term "willing suspension of disbelief." How about some genuinely new, transformative knowledge for a change? Here at Hatrack, that has really happened, believe it or not.

[ September 25, 2015, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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jimhull
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The entire Dramatica theory book is available free online as are countless essays, articles, analysis, podcasts and videocasts--all free. One could conceivably "get" Dramatica and use it to improve their writing without spending a dime. You, along with several others here, discounted the theory without taking more than a superficial glance at it. The argument that this information hides behind a pay wall is again, inaccurate.

I made several points in my article that prove that Dramatica is not a derivative repeat of ancient knowledge. I acknowledged its use of common terminology and explained the reason why some terms needed to be redefined. If you can show me where the concept of a complete story being an analogy to a single human mind trying to solve a problem comes from some ancient knowledge, I would love to have a link to it. In addition, the idea that the four Throughlines of a story represent varying contexts of that very same problem is unique to Dramatica and thus "transformative". If you have concrete information that refutes that I would also appreciate hearing it.

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extrinsic
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I did more than superficially glance at the free content. My in-depth examination purposes were twofold; to evaluate for supporting references that substantiate the content's value and to test the content for consumption accessibility. Failure for me on both counts.

The Poetics of Aristotle, albeit ancient and dusty old bones, and centrally themed around causality, speaks directly to the essences of a complete story structure model, including the "Throughline" aspect in terms of event, setting, characters and personas, "problem solving," discourse modes and audience appeals, complication and conflict, structure, content, organization, grammar, rhetoric, style, and moral human condition features as well. Consumption accessibility of the text is low by today's convenient, immediate, effortless expectations, though is an original source, and all the more transformative for being the first of its kind.

The Poetics text is widely available in several translations on the Internet. The Project Gutenberg text is faithful to the more respected S. H. Butcher translation. The archive.org hosted S. H. Butcher 1922 translation text in PDF is illuminating.

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Grumpy old guy
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In my own humble opinion, when I see claims of 'paradigm shifts', 're-imagining', 're-interpretation', redefining', and all of the other euphemisms used in marketing, I know what the truth is: People following in the footsteps of giants appropriate original thought, tweak and twist it, and then pass it off as their own.

Base plagiarism in a shiny new wrapper.

That thousands may peruse, purchase, and use Dramatica is no affirmation of its usefulness: the gullible and desperate are easily parted from their cash.

A close reading of Poetics should answer most writers questions about how to write a story if they are willing to take the time to understand the nuance and subtlety embodied within Aristotle's words. For me, the next best source of inspiration would be Gustav Freytag. He took Poetics, expanded on it and brought it up to date for a modern audience's understanding. Well, modern for 19th Century audiences at least.

Phil.

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jimhull
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The logic here astounds me: its OK for Freytag to update Aristotle, but it’s not OK for Huntley and Phillips to do the same. When they try to advance narrative, it’s base “plagiarism”.

It’s interesting too how the personal attacks continue: I’m somehow “gullible and desperate” because I took the time to actually investigate Dramatica beyond a cursory glance. I have been in pitch meetings where studio executives and fellow writers sit awestruck at what has been presented to them: they literally have nothing to add or critique because the story I gave them was complete. This completeness was a direct result of my incorporation of Dramatica’s concept of the four Throughlines: Overall Story, Main Character, Influence Character and Relationship Story.

As mentioned before these Throughlines offer the audience different contexts for the same central story problem. The Overall Story is “They” as in “They have a problem and this is how they solve it.” The Main Character is “I” as in “I have a problem and this is how I go about solving it.” The Influence Character is “You” as in “You have a problem and that is how you solve it.” And finally the Relationship Story is “We” as in “We have a problem between us and this is how we solve it.” Four contexts that cover all the ways a mind can view a problem, I, You, We and They.

These are concrete concepts. They don’t require one to assess “nuance and subtlety.” They don’t rest on subjective interpretations of ancient texts. Aristotle and Freytag don’t even come close to addressing this compelling aspect of narrative. Their understandings are deficient and open to interpretation.

Yes, it is true that Dramatica is a paradigm shift — if anything, this post is a prime example of the resistance such a change creates.

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extrinsic
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Freytag didn't plagiarize Aristotle, updated maybe. Idea plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas as one's own. Freytag respectfully attributes to Aristotle what is Aristotle's and transformatively builds upon Aristotle's themes. Freytag added new dimension to Aristotle's causality theory and enumeration of extant knowledge. He added tension's axis perpendicular to causality, a pivotal insight on par with Aristotle's and unrivaled for millennia.

What baffles me about Dramatica and its supporters is the wholesale denial of previous contributions to dramatic and narrative theory and at the same time promotion of the very same topics, mostly, except for moral aptitude that is sorely missing in Dramatica theory, relabeled into a cumbersome lexicon, from a two-thousand-plus year history of dramatic and narrative theory development that is the unacknowledged foundation of Dramatica. What's new is valuable; what's old is trash, huh? There's a mountain of shoulders upon which the present day stands.

And argumentation tu quo que (you do too) fallacy to support a claim or dismiss others' opinions is tiresome. Tu quo que example: You called me a bad name; therefore, your credibility is tarnished and your opinion worthless and mine is exalted, never mind I called you a bad name first. Rapbrobius raspberries all around.

So if there's a problem to be solved here, al la Dramatica, how might that work? Name calling is incitement, not solution. The Hatrack way is to respect others' opinions and address the writing, not the writer. If dissenting contributions contend, logically, rationally, and respectfully discuss options and ramifications and allow no single way under the cosmos is the only true methodology. Insistence upon one true methodology -- that way lays cultish personality hegemony and is the bane of creative expression. That latter is the gist of this thread's discussion prior to the objection rebuttal intrusion and is a credo of Hatrack -- one size, one ideology, does not fit all.

Resistance here, by me anyway, to Dramatica started from unsupported and unsupportable claims that the system is truly better than anything that came before or extant or to come in the foreseeable near term. All time comes to a stuttering halt at this moment's nexus? Add a barge bulldozing in as like a runaway bull in a china shop, and stolen and misused property in the balance, no acknowledgement of error, just justification that respect doesn't matter in the Internet community because no one bothers with such trifles as copyright integrity anymore, simply everyone couldn't care less about respecting copyright no more, so why should I care if it won't harm me because everyone else does it too? Another tu quo que fallacy. Ethos is surely unsettled -- appeals of credibility disturbed at least, if not broken, appeals of possible kindred harmony spoiled beyond repair. If that's the ways of Dramatica's culture, my way or no way at all, no thank you.

[ September 26, 2015, 04:33 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Having read the Dramatica entry on througlines I am reminded of Lajos Egri's discussion of Premise in his book The Art of Dramatic Writing. In this, a first time reader may get the mistaken impression that Egri is talking about a single, unifying premise for the whole story and leave it at that. This is so far from the truth that it beggars belief. In his book, Egri suggests that while the story as a whole requires a single premise to prove, so does each and every important character within the story have thier own premise which requires proving as well. A process sometimes referred to as character growth or the character arc.

This would be the ancient and outdated version of the "I, You, We and They Throughlines" enunciated for the very first time by Dramatica. Oh, sorry, my mistake. I mean rehashed and re-named by Dramatica. So much for original thought.

Phil.

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Meredith
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I don't care about Dramatica Theory one way or the other. And even less now than ever. (More about that later.) I'm willing to accept that some people may find it helpful. Good for them. Others don't. Equally good for them. As creative people, we all have to do what works for us individually. And nothing works for all of us. Well, nothing but "Butt in Chair", anyway.

What I do notice about this "discussion" is two-fold.

First, you took a discussion here and responded to it on your own blog, without asking permission. That's not good internet etiquette, not matter what you think. I also notice that in doing so, you placed your opinions in a forum where no one else could comment on them. That's not good etiquette anywhere. You were called on it and responded defensively. What I read here is that you're really not interested in a discussion at all.

Second, your behavior throughout reminds me of a plumbing van that once cut me off in traffic (on the driving principle that "my vehicle is bigger than yours so get out of my way.") What that plumber forgot is that his whole van is basically one huge advertisement for his plumbing company. And that his attitude on the road can be taken as an indication of his likely attitude in his professional capacity. Can you guess which plumber I'm never going to call?

Really, if your purpose here was to get anyone at all interested in Dramatica Theory, you've gone about it in precisely the wrong way. Your best course now would be to issue a simple apology and either remove the offending post or rewrite it to remove all unauthorized quotations.

Basically, when you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, the best advice is to quit digging.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Meredith:
I don't care about Dramatica Theory one way or the other. And even less now than ever. (More about that later.) I'm willing to accept that some people may find it helpful. Good for them. Others don't. Equally good for them. As creative people, we all have to do what works for us individually. And nothing works for all of us. Well, nothing but "Butt in Chair", anyway.

What I do notice about this "discussion" is two-fold.

First, you took a discussion here and responded to it on your own blog, without asking permission. That's not good internet etiquette, not matter what you think. I also notice that in doing so, you placed your opinions in a forum where no one else could comment on them. That's not good etiquette anywhere. You were called on it and responded defensively. What I read here is that you're really not interested in a discussion at all.

Second, your behavior throughout reminds me of a plumbing van that once cut me off in traffic (on the driving principle that "my vehicle is bigger than yours so get out of my way.") What that plumber forgot is that his whole van is basically one huge advertisement for his plumbing company. And that his attitude on the road can be taken as an indication of his likely attitude in his professional capacity. Can you guess which plumber I'm never going to call?

Really, if your purpose here was to get anyone at all interested in Dramatica Theory, you've gone about it in precisely the wrong way. Your best course now would be to issue a simple apology and either remove the offending post or rewrite it to remove all unauthorized quotations.

Basically, when you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, the best advice is to quit digging.

You just expressed my feelings on the situation beautifully. Thank you.
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jimhull
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"Good internet etiquette"? This is a fascinating forum. "Removing all unauthorized quotations" is such a blatant attempt at stifling contradictory opinion that I wonder if any one here has ever visited another website. Or if anyone here is comfortable with the idea of growing and learning something new. I've posted my argument here as well as on my site, yet the only one interested in actually even attempting to counter my points and provide some proof that Dramatica is a "rehash" of old ideas is Phil.

Unfortunately Phil's description of Egris multiple premises only proves my point more clearly: Egris may have been on the right track but he stopped short of genius and instead offered a half-baked notion that every important character should have something to prove. That's like starting a marathon and pooping out at about mile 5. It was a good start and a valiant effort, but he failed to carry his conclusions to their ultimate end. The people behind Dramatica finished his work for him.

This idea too that the people behind Dramstica don't acknowledge what came before is false as well. Of course they know Egri and Aristotle and all the other failed attempts at fully understanding what makes a story work. They just found them lacking and suggested an alternative approach that improves upon what those old guys started.

I'm pretty sure that's how progress is made.

Articles like mine are published all the time on thousands of websites everyday and are perfectly legal. This idea that I should apology and somehow delete what I have written is a sad commentary on free speech and an open exchange of ideas.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by jimhull:

This idea that I should apology and somehow delete what I have written is a sad commentary on free speech and an open exchange of ideas.

And how, exactly, do you expect an "exchange of ideas" to take place when you post on a site that doesn't allow comments?

Your objection makes no sense on its face and only serves to weaken your argument.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by jimhull:
Articles like mine are published all the time on thousands of websites everyday and are perfectly legal. This idea that I should apology and somehow delete what I have written is a sad commentary on free speech and an open exchange of ideas.

I think you are missing the reason why your actions have offended us. For me, at least, it has nothing to do with your opinions and everything to do with the way you have handled this situation.

As has been pointed out multiple times, Hatrack has very strict rules against reproducing any of the forum's contents elsewhere without first asking permission. These are dictated on the link from the main Hatrack website, and at the bottom of every single page of the forum. That is one of the reasons I joined, in fact. I feel safe posting here because I know that everyone's work is to be respected, whether or not people share the same opinions (and we often don't).

If you had posted your article here first and asked to post it to your blog, I am sure you would have received a better response. If you had simply produced the basics of your argument without specifically quoting people from this forum, you would have received a better response. If you had presented the basics of your argument and asked to quote the others' posts in a blog article your request might have been denied, but it still would have received a better response.

I don't care that your opinion differs from other members of this forum. That's fine. What I care about is that you took a casual discussion and made a spectacle of it, and that you ignored the forum's rules in the process. Your actions show a lack of respect for the forum's rules and its members. That is why I am offended, and I can assure you that I well and truly am.

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extrinsic
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Petitio principii is assumes the initial point, in layperson terms, begs the question. Circular logic, an informal fallacy, that precludes any other conclusion but the one presupposed.

How many ways jimhull begs the question, assumes false and circular logic. Assumes that because so many individuals pirate content on the Internet that it's okay for anyone and everyone to pirate any content without attribution, without permission, without cause for concern because so many insignificant individuals do pirate and get away with the theft, based on a falsely asserted right of an open exchange of ideas, which is like Ma said, if everyone is jumping off the proverbial bridge, shouldn't anyone; assumes that anything is proven because he says so, and is obviously unfamiliar with Egri's premise theory which is based upon Aristotle's analysis of Socratic syllogism, with which he is also obviously unfamiliar; assumes that no acknowledgment of original sources is an okay practice if an assumption anyone can trace, for example, "Throughlines'" origins to its source millennia ago, when in fact, the reality is, instead of respectfully doing the research and attribution, the lazy habit of reinventing new terms for proven terms suffices, so that the lack of attribution and placement within valid context ignores millennia of development, which would support the "new" content and, contrarily, show that the "new" content is anything but; assumes that a cumbersome lexicon that substitutes for tried and true terms is genius, like the field needs another lexicon for an already ample and crowded and diverse and specific field; assumes that writers need an overburdened, sparkly new lexicon and methodology that's an idea plagiarism, and which adds more confusion than clarity; assumes the system, cultish scheme, really, is comprehensive, and is shy of the comprehensive mark by mega furlongs -- to name a few assumed conclusions of dozens.

In other words, the scheme substitutes -- supersedes -- itself for history from an insular and uninformed lazy habit of a few who couldn't be bothered to learn what the narratology field contains already, and misses significant and essential parts enumerated amply in the narratology opus. At the least, Aristotle focuses on causality and relates significant parts to that pivotal structural feature. The scheme, though, is a miasma of incongruent connection and lacks a unifying topic of what it's actually about. None of the narratology texts I've studied are so lacking.

Also, misses what kind of writers' workshop site Hatrack is; that is, publicly viewable, though privately participatable, because content here needs trust and protection from unscrupulous pirates and privacy invaders, and a site which respects writers' creative rights, opinions, and persons.

"Throughlines," for example, is as ancient a structural principle as any. How about "plot?" Oh no, that's too hard to explain and is a worn out term, the cult would have its acolytes believe. Never mind the term plot has been used to label the dramatic structural arc principle of story organization, since the seventeenth century, and "plot-line" since the 1950s. "Mythos" is Aristotle's term, though, and served until reinterpreted as plot circa 1650s. Possibly, the ancient term mythos is still more relevant than the newer term plot, and certainly more relevant than "Throughlines." Not to mention "thread" is also used and bears a striking resemblance to "Throughlines," only much less erudite and won't trip off a spell check application.

Amusing little tidbit that the Dramatica analysis asserts of the film Blade Runner that Deckard is a replicant. Wrong. For the film and the Phillip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep inspiration, Deckard is a human. The narrative questions whether an unexamined life is machine-like, sleepwalker automaton through life, what the narrative is really about -- a moral human condition and an emotionally appealing and relevant question. By the way, Socrates famously said, "An unexamined life is not worth living."

Five hundred years of copyright respect progress jimhull and many others would see subverted and broken by lazy habit and false assertion of privilege. Privilege is as much responsibility and obligation as right. But then that Southern California [film culture] la-la land of Hollywood and its surrounds -- Burbank too -- couldn't care less about respect in the face of the almighty pursuit of the everloving sacred dollar and clamoring for fame, no matter at whose expense.

[film culture] Edited for specificity's sake, to not indict the otherwise noble, probably numerous habitants of the region who don't engage in piracy and irresponsible disrespect.

[ September 27, 2015, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:


But then that Southern California la-la land of Hollywood and its surrounds -- Burbank too -- couldn't care less about respect in the face of the almighty pursuit of the everloving sacred dollar and clamoring for fame, no matter at whose expense.

Hey. I live in Southern California--born and raised here--though not in or near Hollywood. And I'm on your side.

Anyway, jimhull is, in my opinion, descending to the level of a troll at this point.

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extrinsic
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In every place I'm sure are noble persons, even when the other kind are dominant and persistent.

As I've noted before about Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, technology destroys culture and majority rules force majuere imposes its will upon minority views, which we are of the minority, apparently, and not allowed dissent.

Trolling, yes, from start to now, and foreseeably until matured or banished, probably not subject to responsible adjustment anyway.

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tesknota
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Personally, I would not be offended if someone quotes my posts on this forum without my permission. However, jimhull, I think you should just delete that post (or change is so what you don't use quotes from here) because the people that you quote ARE offended.

Let's all take a step back for a second and forget about our rustled jimmies.

If I posted a picture of me and my friends on a public site - facebook, for example - I don't necessarily ask for their permission first. However, if any one of them asks me to remove that picture, I would. This is just a basic form of respect. I might want to share my picture on facebook, but one of my friends might not want that picture shared.

This isn't only about how "legal" quoting hatrack without permission is. This is also about common courtesy.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by tesknota:
This isn't only about how "legal" quoting hatrack without permission is. This is also about common courtesy.

Truth.
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extrinsic
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Russian theater arts theorist Constantin Stanislavski coined the term "through line" circa 1910s, and developed the concepts that are the direct origin of the subject scheme's "throughline" facet. U.S. publishers debuted Stanislavski translations 1936 through 1958. The textual matter is not in the public domain. Stanislavski's ideas themselves, though, are not subject to copyright; verbatim content is. Idea plagiarism, again, is representing someone else's ideas as one's own.

Stanislavski's ideas migrated to the U.S. contemporaneous with his theory development and publications, through New York City theater schools and became known as "method acting," and from there to Hollywood film culture.

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LDWriter2
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As far as I can recall this is the first time I have seen this debate, I find it interesting, intriguing, intellectual stimulating and at points not so easy to understand. Of course it's late and I am ready for sleep. Wanted to comment though.


From the original short synopses of Dramatica theory, I can see why it would attract certain writers. But writers write is so many various ways that of course some of the other theories that abound even the new bright and shiny ones-which extrinsic referenced-attract other writers.

Personally I like something less complicated than many theories are. And when I can find my list of what makes a story that has somewhere between five and ten points I will post it. It may not exactly fit with this discussion being a different type of description but it's simple and the idea is to master each point to make as story worth reading. Or so that is what I take from it.

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Grumpy old guy
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The truth is that debating the merits, or otherwise, of Dramatica Theory is a pointless exercise. Jim Hull argues by assertion, not reason and argument.

This is simply assertion:
quote:

Originally posted by jimhull:

Egris may have been on the right track but he stopped short of genius and instead offered a half-baked notion that every important character should have something to prove. That's like starting a marathon and pooping out at about mile 5. It was a good start and a valiant effort, but he failed to carry his conclusions to their ultimate end. The people behind Dramatica finished his work for him.

In order to substantiate such assertions he needs to back them up with argumentative proofs, not more assertions. Just where did Egri fall short? Just what is outdated about Aristotle's theory of unity of action? Exactly what is new about Dramatica Theory?

Simply asserting something does not make it true.

Phil.

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jimhull
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I tried reason and argument, but everyone blew right past it. I'll repost again in reference to Dramatica's concepts of Four Throughlines in a complete story:

As mentioned before these Throughlines offer the audience different contexts for the same central story problem. The Overall Story is “They” as in “They have a problem and this is how they solve it.” The Main Character is “I” as in “I have a problem and this is how I go about solving it.” The Influence Character is “You” as in “You have a problem and that is how you solve it.” And finally the Relationship Story is “We” as in “We have a problem between us and this is how we solve it.” Four contexts that cover all the ways a mind can view a problem, I, You, We and They.

While I acknowledge that Aristotle and Egris might come close to this or are on the right track, they never got to that point. Egris had the "principal character" and "pivotal character" but he never quite made the connection between these two characters in regards to their resolve (one will change, the other will remain steadfast).

As far as proof goes, there are over 300 different analyses from Shakespeare to Harper Lee to the Iranian masterpiece "A Separation" available for free on-line: http://dramatica.com/analysis

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extrinsic
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Purely Constantin Stanislavski's hundred-year-old theory, which was partly inspired by Russian folkloristician and Formalist cum Structuralist Vladimir Propp. And not a dotted iota or crossed theta of attribution or originality or transformative development.

I looked at one Dramatica analysis and found it a grossly flawed interpretation, not even a subjective flaw, a factual flaw. One is enough. Who needs to read more than one flawed analysis to question the lots' misapprehended perspective.

And eight days later and still pirated content posted and not an apology and a take down or a realization of error. Only unreasoned assertions, squabble, defensiveness, and dismissiveness in self-justified support of irresponsible behavior.

First, act responsibly. Maybe then rational discussion could begin.

[ October 03, 2015, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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JAG
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Extrinsic, your assertion that Dramatica is wholly derivative of Stanislavski ("Purely Constantin Stanislavski's hundred-year-old theory") is absurd. Can you substantiate such a claim?

Dramatica Theory is an independent construct, wherein the creators represent stories as models of the human mind. More specifically, they are models of the activity of the human mind as it struggles to resolve an inequity, anomaly or breach of some kind. They describe a scenario where one of our prehistoric ancestors encounters a bear on the trail. This is an unstable confrontation. Something has to give. Our ancestor has two basic options: either she can change and the world can stay fixed, or the world can change and she can stay fixed. The core categories are self and world, stasis and change (as also examined by Strickland, 1989).

Another way to explore this drama of confrontation is to consider the difference between primary and secondary control. If our ancestor exerts primary control, the she forces the world to change, i.e. she can drive off the bear. If she exerts secondary control, she can change the situation by changing herself, and run away. Whichever way she sets her mind, she has to manage her internal reactions and her external actions. She may also try to influence the internal reactions and external actions of the bear (e.g. by playing dead). If she manages all of these horizons of activity in a successful manner, and she returns to her band’s campsite intact, her bandmates will want to know what choices she made and why, as well as what the challenges and outcomes were in making these choices. They will want to learn about and enhance the controllability of events (Girotto & Rizzo, 1991). Stories impart knowledge about the structured concerns of challenging events, and thus impart survival value, much as other forms of social learning do (Steadman & Palmer, 1997; Sugiyama, 2001a; 2001b).

This is a base and rough exposition of how the Dramatica theory of story structure represents story Themes. In addition to Theme, the theory of story structure also describes models of Character, Plot and Genre. Dramatica also encompasses other theories besides the theory of structure, such as theories of storytelling, story-weaving (the art of exposition) and story reception. The overall model is very rich, and in some ways it defies summary, given how involving and how unique it is as a framework for understanding and writing stories. Dramatica suggests that a richer understanding of event structure is possible – one that might help us understand much more about the human need and capacity for stories.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by JAG:
Extrinsic, your assertion that Dramatica is wholly derivative of Stanislavski ("Purely Constantin Stanislavski's hundred-year-old theory") is absurd. Can you substantiate such a claim?

Dramatica disciples' resistance to facts is what's absurd. Raspberries.

Stanislavski coined the term "through line" and is as well a method actor technique of story structure predicated on it, on problem solving, stakes and motivations, emotional texture, and story, character, emotion, and plot movement, and known as the Stanislavski system.

Because no source attribution is a lazy habit, and Dramatic theory must have come from Hollywood film culture osmosis and synthesis, by way of New York theater schools, by way of Russia from Stanislavski, and beyond, as noted, Propp, and Tolstoy and others, an easy-peasey access source for a summary of Stanislavski's original work is the Wikipedia articles about him and his system.

Look it up yourself.

By the way, proper behavior here at Hatrack starts with respect and responsibly following the forums' rules. Introductions second, after reading the "Please Read Here First" forum rules first. Then a registered member may participate in other forums. Otherwise, misconduct ensues and jeopardizes the workshop's integrity.

If the rules are respected, perhaps Dramatica disciples' discussions might be more favorably considered, though claims of originality are unsupported and unsupportable. Rarely is any knowledge entirely new on its own -- as rare as a newly evolved life form. Knowledge stands at the summit of a mountain of shoulders back through time.

The best Dramatica theory does is repackage extant and old knowledge, and not even so that the package shapes a new understanding. That's two of three original research and report criteria: genuinely new knowledge developed, newly packaged extant knowledge such that the package reveals new insights about the extant knowledge, and extant knowledge built upon -- synthesis of the three the usual and respectable course.

First, act responsibly.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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JAG, did you join the Hatrack River Writers Workshop merely to weigh in on this particular discussion?
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Grumpy old guy
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quote:
Originally posted by JAG:

They describe a scenario where one of our prehistoric ancestors encounters a bear on the trail. This is an unstable confrontation. Something has to give. Our ancestor has two basic options: either she can change and the world can stay fixed, or the world can change and she can stay fixed.

What arrant nonsense. Humans, either today or 80,000 years ago would react to the sudden appearance of a bear in their path involuntarily through the stimulus orchestrated by their autonomic nervous system--the fight or flight response.

This is an involuntary response controlled by the sympathetic nervous system situated in the spinal cord-- nowhere near the cognitive centers of the brain.

If a basic premise of Dramatica can be so wrong, what about the rest of it?

Phil.

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JAG
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
JAG, did you join the Hatrack River Writers Workshop merely to weigh in on this particular discussion?

Kathleen Dalton Woodbury, no I did not.
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JAG
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
quote:
Originally posted by JAG:

They describe a scenario where one of our prehistoric ancestors encounters a bear on the trail. This is an unstable confrontation. Something has to give. Our ancestor has two basic options: either she can change and the world can stay fixed, or the world can change and she can stay fixed.

What arrant nonsense. Humans, either today or 80,000 years ago would react to the sudden appearance of a bear in their path involuntarily through the stimulus orchestrated by their autonomic nervous system--the fight or flight response.

This is an involuntary response controlled by the sympathetic nervous system situated in the spinal cord-- nowhere near the cognitive centers of the brain.

If a basic premise of Dramatica can be so wrong, what about the rest of it?

Phil.

Phil,

Ridiculous.

First of all, based on your statements, you have a very limited understanding of "fight or flight" in relation to human behaviour. "Fight or flight" does not render humans automatons, capable of only running or fighting. At best, that's a childlike interpretation. "Fight or flight" manages the release of hormones from the medulla of the adrenal gland, triggered by sympathetic nerves. These hormones can trigger increases in heart rate and breathing, constricting blood vessels and tightening muscles. And while an abundance of the hormones can facilitate some spontaneous or intuitive behaviors of preferred combat or escape, they don't shut down one's cognitive abilities. The human mind does not stop thinking or trying to solve problems.

Having myself encountered a grizzly bear in the wild, "fight or flight" caused a hyper alertness and awareness and with regard to cognition, it sharpened my thinking process. Hundreds of scenarios played through my head simultaneously. At no point did I become a mindless drone, incapable of thought. I was always problem solving, doing so at a heightened level.

Side note: when hiking off the beaten path in Yellowstone National Park, always, always carry bear spray.

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JAG
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
[QB] [QUOTE]Originally posted by JAG:
Extrinsic, your assertion that Dramatica is wholly derivative of Stanislavski ("Purely Constantin Stanislavski's hundred-year-old theory") is absurd. Can you substantiate such a claim?

Dramatica disciples' resistance to facts is what's absurd. Raspberries.

Stanislavski coined the term "through line" and is as well a method actor technique of story structure predicated on it, on problem solving, stakes and motivations, emotional texture, and story, character, emotion, and plot movement, and known as the Stanislavski system.
-----

Ex, it seems you've hitched your wagon of detraction to this one (uncredited) term and have wholly discounted everything else in Dramatica. Your prerogative, I suppose. Stanislavski, though, merely took the concept of a story line, applied it to character, and coined a new term for reference. So, that when building a character, the actor has an appreciation of the relationship between each of their objectives.

I can't provide the acknowledgement you're looking for on behalf of Dramatica's creators to Stanislavski, deserved or not. And, truly, I'm not interested in any of that. It won't make me a better writer. However, I believe an appreciation and understanding of the Dramatica theory will.

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