Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

Excuses, Excuses….

When a child comes up with a false reason for some small transgression, we know he is just making an excuse to avoid punishment or to side-step a negative emotional response. Adults continue to make excuses; they just do it … Continue reading

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Characters: The Attributes of Age

Some writers tend to create characters that are more or less the same age as themselves. Other writers populate their stories with characters of all ages but have them all act as if they are the same age as the … Continue reading

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The Hero Breaks Down

Groucho Marx once said, “You’re headed for a nervous breakdown. Why don’t you pull yourself to pieces?” That, in fact, is what we’re going to do to our hero. Now many writers focus on a Hero and a Villain as … Continue reading

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Coming Apart at the Themes

Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apart at the themes. Theme is perhaps the most powerful, yet least understood element of story structure. It is powerful … Continue reading

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What Is Dramatica?

What is Dramatica? Dramatica is a theory of story that offers both writers and critics a clear view of what story structure is and how it works. Dramatica is also the inspiration behind the line of story development software products … Continue reading

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Avoiding the Genre Trap

A common misconception sees genre as a fixed list of dramatic requirements or a rigid structural template from which there can be no deviation. Writers laboring under these restrictions often find themselves boxed-in creatively. They become snared in the Genre … 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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Narrative Science and Dramatica

Every once in a while I write an article about the Dramatica theory of narrative structure that zooms right down to the subatomic level. Such articles have absolutely no practical value to writers but, being a narrative scientist, it is … Continue reading

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Your Plot Step By Step!

Here are some general guidelines to help you structure your story’s plot, step by step. Act One Beginning The beginning of act one is the teaser. It may or may not have anything to do with the actual plot of … Continue reading

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Secrets of Story Structure | Episode 2 – The Story Mind

Click on the image below to hear episode 2 in this rare recording of a weekend seminar by Dramatica Theory of Story co-creators Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley in the mid-1990’s just after Dramatica was made public for the … Continue reading

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