Recently, a StoryWeaver and Dramatica user asked me to compare StoryWeaver's story development approach to that of New Novelist software. He sent me a copy of the final report from New Novelist as reference material.
Here's my reply...
Here are a few conclusions I draw, and also a few clarifications...
In fact, New Novelist takes a completely different approach than StoryWeaver (or perhaps I should say StoryWeaver takes a different approach because New Novelist is a lot like a number of other programs like Truby's Blockbuster, Collaborator, Power Structure, and even a few reports from Dramatica.
Here's what they have in common, and then how StoryWeaver differs....
Each of those programs (with the exception of Dramatica) relies on a variation of the hero's journey. Truby does it directly, tailored to specific genres, Collaborator relies on Aristotle's version as laid out in "Poetics." Power Structure doesn't rely on one concept or perspective, but still lines things out in "steps" that you can tailor to any "journey-
Essentially, you work on each step independently, referring to what you created in other steps, then string them all together to see what needs to be done when. You end up with a linear list of instructions for writing your story, containing all the specific information you developed along the way.
Dramatica differs insofar as it is NOT based on the Hero's Journey concept. In fact, when I started Dramatica, I'd never heard of the Hero's Journey -
And what's worse, StoryWeaver was designed as both a departure and complement to Dramatica, so it is, essentially, the inverse counterpart of something that is NOT the hero's journey. Try explaining that!
First, a brief paragraph on how Dramatica was designed to tackle story structure, and then an explanation of what StoryWeaver is designed to do...
Okay, here goes... Dramatica in one paragraph... Rather than seeing a linear journey, Dramatica sees a story as a ball of twine, or perhaps more like the scanning lines on a TV screen. Linearly, everything needs to make sense like the hero's journey -
Well, I did it -
While Dramatica deals with the underlying structure of a story, StoryWeaver deals with the subject matter. Nobody sits down to write a great structure. We write (and audiences and readers come to our work) because of passion -
StoryWeaver looks at the big picture just like Dramatica, but not at the structure. Rather, StoryWeaver helps you build the big-
There are four stages in StoryWeaver. The first is inspiration that helps you describe all the bits and pieces of subject matter you already have, then use them to inspire more material until you have a well-
Unlike Dramatica and even the Hero's Journey-
The final big difference between StoryWeaver and ANY of the other programs, Dramatica included, (and also what I think is truly revolutionary about StoryWeaver) is that you constantly build on the work you've already done for the story as a whole, rather than working on each piece or step independently and then assembling them together.
The New Novelist report you sent shows Step 1, and then describes what ought to happen there and shows what you wrote to accommodate this step. Then, the report moves on to Step 2 and so on. In this way, it seeks to be a blueprint for your story.
But in StoryWeaver, it takes the global perspective of Dramatica, shifts the focus to subject matter and works on the overall Big Picture through a series of "Developmental" steps. So, each step is not a plot point in the story, but a creative step in the Author's Journey of getting the story told.
You see, before StoryWeaver, I realized that all the other programs out there were concerned with having the author work out the order of events and their meanings in his or her story. But there really wasn't anything that helped the author know what to do next in his or her own creative process!
The departure, then, is that StoryWeaver presents a series of 175 questions that move the AUTHOR one step closer to a completed story. Each step deals with the WHOLE store. You work out a few details, work them into a brief synopsis, then add more details and re-
So, when you arrive at the end of StoryWeaver, you don't get a blueprint for a story that you then need to write -
This final treatment is a descriptive narrative that relates the story in a conversational way. Everything is there, but not yet ratcheted up for style. So by the time you finish StoryWeaver's path, the only thing left to do is re-
For example, StoryWeaver's final treatment might read, in part:
"John enters the room, slamming the door behind. He storms over to Lydia and shouts, "Why?!""
You would take that final treatment and re-
"Like an explosion, John burst into the room, slamming the door so hard the paint cracked around the hinges. Gasping heavily with anger, he zeroed in on Lydia as if she were a target and shouted with the cry of the damned, "Why?!" His bellowing scream rattled the chandelier. In the silence that followed, a lone paint chip drifted lazily down from one of the cracked hinges, shaken loose by his invocation."
Therefore, the reports in StoryWeaver are quite different than in any other program. You do get information on every question you answered, but you also get something none of the others have -
Well, I hope I've adequately explained the "vision" I've had for StoryWeaver, and what I believe makes it more creative and more author-
And, of course, I decided to sell it at $29.95 because, quite frankly, I think most writing software is overpriced by a factor of 5, and writers generally have a lot of passion, not a lot of money.
In future versions we'll be adding all kinds of creative aids, like time-