Category Archives: Narrative Psychology

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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How Characters Avoid Truth

It is well known that the observer changes the observation, but it is equally true that the observation also changes the observer. Consider that the order in which you observe a series of perspectives changes you as you go. But because … Continue reading

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Of Men, Women, and Narrative

Not to be cryptic, but perhaps the answer you seek cannot be found from the wisest man because the answer is just beyond what men can see. It is also just beyond what women can see, but then it is … Continue reading

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The Zen of Narrative

By Melanie Anne Phillips Think of the Dramatica theory of story structure as the Zen of narrative. Every new aspect of it that you learn provides a new angle on the issues you face and opens up new avenues of … Continue reading

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We Think in Narratives

By Melanie Anne Phillips We think in narratives. Narrative is not an artificial construct imposed on fiction nor on the real world, but it is a description of the ways of the mind beneath the level of subject matter. In … Continue reading

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What Is Truth? (The Character’s Dilemma)

By Melanie Anne Phillips 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 … Continue reading

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Character Justifications

By Melanie Anne Phillips Problem solving tries to resolve an issue.  But if there is an obstacle to a solution, the process of justification tries to find a way around.  Sometimes characters get so wrapped up in the attempt to … Continue reading

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What Drives a Main Character?

By Melanie Anne Phillips A story begins when the Main Character has become stuck in the highest level of justification. Nobody gets there because they are stupid or mean. They get there because their unique life experience has brought them repeated … Continue reading

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The Dramatica Table of Story Elements is a Model of the Mind

By Melanie Anne Phillips The Dramatica Table of Story Elements is really a model of the mind. Twisting and turning it represents the kinds of stress (and experience) we encounter in everyday life. Sometimes things get wound up as tight … Continue reading

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How is Dramatic Tension Created?

By Melanie Anne Phillips How is dramatic potential created? The Dramatica chart (below) organizes all the categories of things we think about. Notice that the chart is nested, like wheels within wheels. That’s the way our minds work – we … Continue reading

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