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A step by step approach to story development, from concept to completed story for your novel or screenplay. More than 200 interactive Story Cards guide you through the entire process.

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The most powerful story structuring software available, Dramatica is driven by a patented "Story Engine" that cross-references your dramatic choices to ensure a perfect structure.

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The most advanced screenwriting software available, Movie Magic is deemed a "preferred file format" by the Writer's Guild. An industry standard, MMS is used by professionals and studios around the world.

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Interactive index cards - Name them, add notes, titles, colors, click and drag to re-arrange, adjust font, save, export and print. An essential tool for every writer.

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Instant Dramatica
Musings from Armando Salda�a Mora


The Answer to All Your Troubles (Part 1)

This is a long E-mail, but I think it'll be worth it.

I've noticed two reccurent problems on Dramatica writers: 1) The "I'm encoding the same scene/information over and over in all the throughlines" syndrom. 2) The "I always fold a storyweaving" syndrom.

I know that well because I had those two problems myself. Here are the symptoms:

Let me show you the problem in vetro, let's say that I'm writing a story about a deformed child who is neglected by his father, in which Young Jed (the deformed child) is Protagonist and Main Character and Old Abraham is Contagonist and Obstacle Character. Now here comes the problem, I used to encode things like: - OS Signpost 3: Concious. "Abraham makes Jed conscious that he doesn't loves him" - MC Signpost 3: Understanding. "Jed understands that Abraham doesn't loves him" - OC Signpost 3: Being. "Abraham stops pretending that he loves Jed in order to make him know so" - SS Signpost 3: Future. "Abraham and Jed now know that ther won't be any love in their future"

Now, I went to storyweaving and only then I realiced that that was the same darn* scene written four times!

Why did that happened? Because I started writing with some ideas about the story and when I started encoding I only sticked to my original ideas, and didn't create new ones to flesh my storyforming apreciations in a dramatic and interesting way.

Now here's the cure, step by step:

1. make a complete tale about each throughline. Go to the Reports section, look at the Story Engine Settings report and look at each throughline Domain, Concern and Problem. It looks like this: OS: Mind, Preconscious, Effect. MC: Physics, Doing, Effect. OC: Psychology, Being, Result. SS: Universe, Progress, Accurate.

That is to say that your MC tale is about a character who is triying to change a negative effect by doing something. And your OS tale is about some characters that are fixed on the unthinking reactions somethings causes them and have problems with the effect this causes. (NOTE: On the OS Throughline you'll have to define your Objective Characters into a group. Go to the Story Info Window and look at the Period and Place fields. Are your Objective Characters a community? A working group like a police force? People find at random that shares the same fate, like in a Vonnegut novel? Your Objective Character group definition could be as broad as America or as the Milky Way, but the more precise, the better for you)

Going back to our example, Our OS tale could be encoded as "A mid-america small town community that has problems in accepting a deformed boy because they can't help the repulsive reaction his looks causes them" And our MC tale is about "A deformed child that's triying to overcome the effect he causes on people through an activity" let's give him something more "he has an incredible talent to play the violin. His violin playing has an incredible effect om people that makes them forget the boys physicallity" (NOTE: Even though the OS problem and the MC problem are the same "Effect" try and encode them differently. One is a effect of repulsion, the other is an effect of atraction. Do this every time you have the same element in different apreciations) Our OC tale is about a "Stepfather who used to be an alcoholic and after his only son was born deformed (let's give him more) and his wife died in the delivery room, he became sobber. But since his quitting didn't fixed his boy and didn't bring back his wife, (and he doesn't have the consollation of alcohol anymore) the man blames himself for all the misfortune and isn't able to accept his son love." Finally our SS tale is about "A father and son who isolate themselves from the outside world, more and more each time, until the moment they became misfits, not acurate enough to be sociable accepted, so they have to turn to each other"

Having worked on your throughline tales your apreciations have much more room to grow, but still beware: the idea inertia can get you to encode apreciations with the same ideas over and over. When this happens, go back and change them! think hard "How can I make another use of "Understanding"? The boy can't understand? He misunderstood the other character words? He tries to make everyone understand how it feels?..."

And then, be creative! Don't be bullied by the software to beleive that you must give an exact answer like if you're working with Microsoft Excel. You are writing! and when encoding don't think on terms of black and white. My rule of tumb is "The apreciation says "Understanding", if my encoding idea just feels like "Understanding" (even if I didn't use the word "understand" anywhere) I go for it!

So using all this**: - OS Signpost 3: Concious. "Jed decides to give a public violin performance. He goes to the church with his violin without even consulting the preacher. After the service, when the people is getting up he shouts 'Wait, I wanna play for you!' and drags himself to the stand. Everyone lowers their sight. Jed takes his violin but before playing a single note he hears a little girl saying ''why is he so ugly, mommy, did he sinned a lot? Jed frozes. He takes down his violin and goes home." - SS Signpost 3: Future. "Abraham is in his living room, he never goes to church. Jed arrives home. His father looks at him coldly and says 'I heard you made a fool of yourself today at church. Now you'll have to spend the sundays in here with me... just what I needed' And goes into his room" - MC Signpost 3: Understanding. "Jed doesn't wants to understand the comunity rejection, his father rejection. He tries to scape the pain. Once more he goes into the attic to play his violin for 12 hours or more, uninterrupted" - OC Signpost 3: Being. "Abraham hears the violin and gets furious. He plans to go to the attic and shout the kid to shut up, but while going up the stairs Jed's music works his magic. Abraham sighs and began to cry. Abraham reaches something inside of him. He spends all night siiting in the hallway under the attic trap door, hearing his son playing. Criying in silence"

Now, that works a lot better.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES: Please forgive my horrible spelling and use of english. I write all these e-mails in spanish and try to translate them the best I can.

* Forgive me for using the word "Darn" but I needed to express my frustration of looking at an unuseable encoding.

** These type of encoding the plot progressions, to encode them as events, opposed to the Exploration Areas Encoding described in the Storyguide book works for me. You can encode your progressions as Exploration Areas if you like and still use the Throughline Tales techniques described here. If you want more information on how I weave the Event encoding progressions (and about weaving), I'll write about these in other E- mail called "The answer to all your troubles-2"


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*Try either or both for 90 days.  Not working for you?  Return for a full refund of your purchase price!

About Dramatica and StoryWeaver

Hi, I'm Melanie Anne Phillips, creator of StoryWeaver, co-creator of Dramatica and owner of Storymind.com.  If you have a moment, I'd like to tell you about  these two story development tools - what each is designed to do, how each works alone on a different part of story development and how they can be used together to cover the entire process from concept to completion of your novel or screenplay.

What They Do

Dramatica is a tool to help you build a perfect story structure.  StoryWeaver is a tool to help you build your story's world.  Dramatica focuses on the underlying logic of your story, making sure there are no holes or inconsistencies.  StoryWeaver focuses on the creative process, boosting your inspiration and guiding it to add depth, detail and passion  to your story.

How They Do It

Dramatica has the world's only patented interactive Story Engine� which cross-references your answers to questions about your dramatic intent, then finds any weaknesses in your structure and even suggests the best ways to strengthen them.

StoryWeaver uses a revolutionary new creative format as you follow more than 200 Story Cards� step by step through the story development process.  You'll design the people who'll inhabit your story's world, what happens to them, and what it all means.

How They Work Together

By itself Dramatic appeals to structural writers who like to work out all the details of their stories logically before they write a word.  By itself, StoryWeaver appeals to intuitive writers who like to follow their Muse and develop their stories as they go.

But, the finished work of a structural writer can often lack passion, which is where StoryWeaver can help.  And the finished work of an intuitive writer can often lack direction, which is where Dramatica can help.

So, while each kind of writer will find one program or the other the most initially appealing, both kinds of writers can benefit from both programs.

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StoryWeaver - $29.95

Our Bestseller!  A step by step approach to story development, from concept to completed story for your novel or screenplay.  More than 200 interactive Story Cards guide you through the entire process.

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Dramatica Pro - $179.95

Includes 2 Exclusive Bonuses! The most powerful story structuring software available, Dramatica is driven by a patented "Story Engine" that cross-references your dramatic choices to ensure a perfect structure.

Dramatica Writers DreamKit 4.0

Dramatica Writer's DreamKit - $49.95

Little brother to Dramatica Pro, Writer's DreamKit is built around the same patented Story Engine - it just tracks fewer story points.  So, you develop the same solid story structure, just with fewer details.  Perfect for beginning writers or those new to Dramatica.

Power Structure <br>Story Development <br>Software

Power Structure - $149.95

An all-in-one writing environment with built-in word processor that helps you organize and cross-reference your story development materials.  INCLUDES DVD SET BONUS!

Power Writer

Power Writer - $99.95

The little brother of Power Structure includes the essential organization and word processing tools writers need the most.

Throughline - Index Cards (Mac) - $19.95

Interactive index cards - add notes, titles, colors, click and drag to re-arrange.  An essential tool for every writer.

Movie Magic Screenwriter<br>Plus FREE Bonus!

Movie Magic Screenwriter - $149.95

The most advanced screenwriting software available, Movie Magic is deemed a "preferred file format" by the Writer's Guild.  An industry standard, MMS is used by professionals and studios around the world.

Final Draft 7 <br>Screenwriting Software

Final Draft - $199.95

Like Movie Magic Screenwriter, Final Draft is an industry standard, used by many professional screenwriters and studios around the world.

Between The Lines (Macintosh) - $29.95

The lowest cost automatic screenplay formatter for Macintosh includes high-end features such as interactive index cards linked to your script.

20 hour Writing<br>Course on CD ROM<br>featuring Dramatica

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Everything you need to know about story structure - twelve hours of video on a single DVD - presented by Dramatica Theory co-creator, Melanie Anne Phillips.

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Dramatica Software Companion - $19.95

More than four hours of video demonstrations of every key feature in Dramatica, narrated by the co-creator of Dramatica.

Writing with the Story Mind<br>1 hour audio program

StoryWeaving Tips Book - $19.95

170 pages of eye-opening essays on story structure, storytelling, finding inspiration and a wide variety of writing techniques.

Writing with the Story Mind<br>1 hour audio program

StoryWeaving Seminar 8 DVD Set - $99.95

14 hours of video from a live two day course taught by theory co-creator Melanie Anne Phillips covering Dramatica story structure and StoryWeaver storytelling.

Writing with the Story Mind<br>1 hour audio program

StoryWeaving Seminar Online - $49.95

The same 14 hour program presented in streaming video that you can view online or download for a permanent copy.

The Dramatica Theory<br>2 hour audio program

Dramatica Theory 2 Hour Audio Program - $19.95

Every key concept in the Dramatica Theory of Story is fully explained in this double-CD set.

Writing Characters<br>of the Opposite Sex

Writing Characters of the Opposite Sex - $29.95

A three-hour audio CD set that explains everything you need to know to create characters of both sexes that ring absolutely true (and maybe even gain insight into the communication problems in the real world!)

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Master Storyteller Improves Your Writing - $29.95

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How to Create Great Characters DVD - $19.95

A 90 minute video program recorded during Dramatica co-creator Melanie Anne Phillips' live in-person seminar on story structure and storytelling.

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Structure vs. Passion - Audio CD $19.95

The Story Mind approach to writing uses your own passions to create your story's structure.  It focuses your efforts, clarifies the direction of your story, and triggers your imagination.


Writing with the Story Mind - Audio CD - $19.95

Learn how to psychoanalyze your story's "mind" to uncover and treat problems with characters, plot, theme, and genre.


 

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