Musings from Armando Saldaña
Originally posted to the
Dramatica Email Discussion Group
For anyone interested in writing comedy: I've found a good book. Is called "Comedy
Writing Step By Step" by Gene Perret ISBN: 0-573-60605-6. I "test-drove" it
and by the end of chapter 12 I've made the first Dramatica stand-up routine:
"It's good to be back on this email list, back on the community. Even though we
have had our differences, we could only love each other. Mostly because hitmen are so damn
"But we're really fond of this list. Some of us think of it as our home. In fact a
few are still trying to put it up as collateral.
"Who says we spend more time posting messages here than with our own families?
Last night I took my wife for a walk under the moonlight, looked her in the eye and
whispered in her ear: "RESPOND TO: email@example.com. CONCERN: Dram: You're obsessed.
TEXT: I love you."
"My wife is very understanding. she said: "DIVORCE jerk.
"I'm back on the list. Call it nostalgia, but I couldn't live without a hundred
lurkers hearing every word I say.
"By the way, who are those lurkers? why do they lurk? Am I the only one who's
expecting to see a firstname.lastname@example.org asking "why four throughlines?"
"Anyway, this list is an example of global agreements and understanding. We all
agree we don't understand crap about Dramatica's theory.
"However, it's truly worth studying it. Dramatica won't assure you'll sell your
story, but you can Dramanalyse all those rejection letters and see if they're structurally
"On the other hand, Dramatica is so universal that is hard to beleive Shakespeare
didn't write with it. Especially since SSI found his registration card.
"Talk about Classic Writers! I'm so accustomed to computers that I can't
understand how they could use a quill. For starters where do you plug it?
"We are a new generation of writers. Some say the most beautiful words for a
writer are "The End." How about "We Were Able To Save Your Hard Disk"?
"All things considered, I conclude Technology is not substitute for Inspiration.
It's a much more elegant reason when you're explaining why you're stuck on that short
story for ten years.
"I think of me as an intuitive writer. I'm concerned if Dramatica could kill my
Muse. Then again, I'm also concerned the Tooth Fairy could develop homicidal tendencies.
"Still, some say Dramatica only works for commercial stories, I don't think so.
Especially after checking my annual income balance.
"But really: "Throughline", "Storyform", "State Of
Being"? Are those really words? Is this a shod of cybercrap concocted by some flaky
west-coast yahoos or what?
"Anyway, I don't like any Creative Writing Software. I'm affraid they'll made my
"I'm not really procrastinating, is just that my novel is too big. This month I'm
avoiding Chapter 57.
"Procrastinating is just a phase of the writing process. When you've gone through
all that the next problem is writer's block: how do you get it?
"Does that sound desperate? I'm at the point of looking for books about techniques
of reading books about writing.
"If everything fails, I can always come back to this list to discuss the theory.
"Which brings me to what I really wanted to say: Six months ago I realized
Dramatica's theory has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. In order to correct that,
I'm currently learning how to write from a slice of swiss cheese.
"This week we're gonna analyze "Mousehunt"... again.
"Ok, I'll concede. Dramatica may work in theory, but I'm sure no one could ever
finish a story with it, is like communism. I couldn't finish my story with that either.
""The Hero's Journey" is much better organized. For starters, he's
carrying American Express.
"I e-mailed SSI saying "with some stories you have to bend really hard in
order to analyze them." They responded "Have you tried placing the computer ON
TOP of your desk?"
"No matter what they claim, Dramatica isn't the last word. "Zygote," for
one, is much further down.
""Fuel for the imagination" doesn't really fit Dramatica's theory. How
about "At least you'll skip Purgatory"?
"People nowdays found religions on everything, even Writing Software. I'm
currently attending the First Reformed IdeaFisher Church.
"The biggest problem of Dramatica as a religion is: if you're looking for comfort
in the Good Book and the page opens in "Identifying the Variation which is most
suited to the central explorations of a Throughline..." your head will explode.
"Also, the festivity pageant should have four
"Imagine that, sewing all the little shepperd costumes and then
The book is basically oriented to gag and monologue comedy (it also has sketch and
sitcom comedy info) and is the sense of humor is somehow conservative, but the approach is
very solid and it's a great place to start.