Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

Narrative Structure and the I Ching

A career psychotherapist recently wrote me about a method he is developing to employ theater in the therapy process, including an association with the I Ching. Many years ago he had encountered our Dramatica Theory of Narrative and noted a … Continue reading

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Character Development Tricks!

As trite as it might seem, ask yourself “What would a story be without characters?” The answer can help you get a grip on exactly what characters really do in a story, and therefore how to build them effectively. Although … Continue reading

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“Things” as Characters

 A writer asks: “My favorite creative writing book is ‘Setting’ by Jack Bickham. Use of setting as primary with characters, plot, theme, mood, etc derived from it and interacting with it seems of particular value in science fiction. Where would … Continue reading

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Writing Characters of the Opposite Sex

Perhaps the most fundamental error made by authors, whether novice or experienced, is that all their characters, male and female, tend to reflect the gender of the author. This is hardly surprising, since recent research finally proves that men and … Continue reading

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Does Your Story Suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder?

In psychology, Multiple Personality Disorder describes a person who has more than one complete personality. Typically, only one of those personalities will be active at any given time. This is because they usually share attributes, and so only one can … Continue reading

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Love Interests and the Dramatic Triangle

A lot of books about writing describe the importance of a “Love Interest.” Other books see a Love Interest as unnecessary and cliché. What does Dramatica Say? As with most dramatic concepts, Dramatica pulls away the storytelling to take a … Continue reading

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The 8 Archetypal Characters

There are 8 essential archetypal characters, each of which represents a different aspect of our own minds. The Protagonist portrays our initiative, Antagonist our reticence to change.  Reason is our intellect, Emotion our passion.  Skeptic is our self-doubt, Sidekick our … Continue reading

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A Screenwriter’s Bag of Tricks

Most of our writing tips focus on the creation of a sound story, regardless of the medium in which you are working. But since the writing of screenplays has its own unique restrictions, requirements, and opportunities, we thought it might … Continue reading

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Screenwriting 101

Screenplays are blueprints for movies. As such, they are not art, but instructions for creating art. Therefore, there are two things every great screenplay must have: A good story, and a clear and understandable description of how it should be … Continue reading

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Origins of Story Structure

Imagine the very first storytellers. Actually, what they told would certainly not be considered a story by today’s standards. Rather, they probably began with simple communications with but a single meaning at a time. Even animals recognize a cry of … Continue reading

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