Category Archives: Narrative Psychology

What Is Truth? (The Character’s Dilemma)

Characters reflect real people in a purified or idealized state.  And so, we can see in them qualities and traits that are hard to see within ourselves.  One of the most difficult challenges we face every day are exemplified by … Continue reading

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What Drives Characters?

As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated.  But what is drive, and where does it come from? At a minimum, every character needs a reason to explain the choices they … Continue reading

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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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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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The Impact of Stories

Stories, especially those told in the media of film or television, can have a tremendous impact on an audience. Experiencing a story is similar in many ways to experiencing events in “real life”. Stories can make us laugh or cry, … Continue reading

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Characters: Lost In Their Own Spotlight

True of people; true of characters: When hit with great personal grief, how many of us stop to think about how all those around us are coping – especially those whose approach to life is to keep it all inside? … Continue reading

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Characters and Contextual Retribution

The minds of characters work very much like our own. People think both in terms of time and of space.  Our time sense gives us the ability to predict what is likely to happen next.  Our space sense gives us … Continue reading

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al Awlaki, the “Uncanny Valley” and Writing Empathetic Characters

Here’s an article about real world narrative I published shortly after al Awlaki, an American recruiter for terrorism, was killed in a raid: Recently, al Awlaki (the infamous “American” Al Qaeda) was killed by American forces. He was viewed as … Continue reading

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Characters and Gender

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 indicates that men and women use … Continue reading

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Why Characters Misunderstand Each Other

This article was originally written as part of an early draft of our book on the Dramatica theory of narrative which was never published.  It seeks to describe how characters come to misunderstand each other, and how this can lead to conflict. I’m … Continue reading

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