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





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 4.0<br>Plus FREE Bonus!

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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Movie Magic Screenwriter


Movie Magic Screenwriter<br>Plus FREE Bonus!

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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Throughline Index Cards


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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A New Theory Of Story
By Melanie Anne Phillips  
and Chris Huntley

Chapter 28

Encoding Subjective Characters

Although authors use Subjective Characters all the time they unfortunately view the Subjective functions simply as other aspects of Objective Characters. In fact, the two functions are most often blended into a single concept of character that does double-duty. This is dangerous since every aspect of the argument must be made twice: once Objectively and once Subjectively. If both roles are blended, this can appear redundant. As a result, important points in the separate arguments may be missing. In a temporal medium such as motion pictures, it is often the Subjective argument that suffers as the focus is on more objective action. In novels, the Objective Story is often flawed as the spatial nature of a book favors the Subjective view.

Just because a medium favors one view over the other does not mean anything can be neglected. All parts of both arguments must be present in order to create an effective synthesis in the mind of the audience regardless of the emphasis a medium may place on each view.

The Main Character is Not Necessarily the Protagonist

Many authors are not aware that a Protagonist does not have to be the Main Character. When we stop to think about it, many examples come to mind of stories in which we experience the story through the eyes of a character other than a Protagonist. Yet when it comes to writing our own stories, many of us never diverge from a Protagonist/Main combination.

There is nothing wrong with this combination. In fact, as long as both characters are represented in the single player, such a blend is a fine Archetypal Character. The point is: there are other ways.

Subjective Characters range from the Main Character with whom we identify to all the "other soldiers in the trenches" around us as we experience the battle together. They are friends and foes, mentors and acolytes. We see in them characteristics of Worry, Instinct, Experience and Doubt. Rather than functioning as approaches the way the Objective Characters appear to do, the Subjective Characters function as attitudes.

"We're Both Alike, You and I..."

The Main and Obstacle Characters are counterparts. They represent the two principal sides to the argument of the story. Because they are dealing with the same issues a case can be made that they are not too far apart. This often results in such familiar lines as "We're both alike," "We're just two sides of the same coin," "I'm your shadow self," and so on. In contrast, though they are concerned with the same things, they are coming at them from completely opposing views. This leads to common line such as "We're nothing alike, you and I," or "We used to be friends until you stepped over the line."

Evil Twins?

Many authors picture the Obstacle Character as a negative or evil twin. Although this can be true, it has little to do with the Obstacle Character's dramatic function. For example, if a Main Character is evil and needs to change, their Obstacle might be a virtuous steadfast character. Or both characters might be evil, with the resolve of one contrasting the change in the other. In any case, the function of the Main and Obstacle Characters is to show two opposing sides of the same issue. That is their story function: to show what happens when one changes and the other remains steadfast on a particular issue.

Encoding Mental Sex

Both Males and Females use the same techniques, but in different contexts. As a result, what is problem solving for one may actually be justification for the other. In fact, for the four perspectives in any given story, in one Domain both male and female mental sex characters will see a given approach as problem solving, while in another Domain both will see it as justification. The third Domain would be problem solving for one mental sex and justification for the other and the fourth just the reverse.

Men TEND to use linear problem solving as their first method of choice. In linear problem solving, they set a specific goal, determine the steps necessary to achieve that goal, and embark on the effort to accomplish those steps. Gathering facts, or successfully achieving requirements all deal with seeing a number of definable items that must be brought together to make the mechanism work in the desired manner.

This is a very spatial view of problem solving, as it sees all the parts that must be accomplished and/or brought together to resolve the problem or achieve the goal.

Women TEND to use holistic problem solving as their first method of choice. In holistic problem solving, steps are not important and there may not even be a specific goal to achieve but simply a new direction desired. As a result, the RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN things are what is measured and adjusted to create a change in the forces that determine that direction. Unlike male problem solving, there is no causal relationship stating that THIS leads to THAT. Instead, COMBINATIONS of changes in the way things are related alters the dynamics of the situation rather than the structure, and changes context rather than meaning.

This is a very temporal view of problem solving, as it looks at the way things are going and tries to alter relationships so that the direction of the forces that create the problem is deflected.

Now, men and women use both techniques. Also, women may become trained to use the linear method first, and men may develop a preference for the holistic method as their primary problem solving approach. These are preferences made through conscious choice, training, or experience. Underneath it all, the brain's operating system for problem solving will either be linear or holistic. This is what sets men and women apart from each other. No matter how much common ground they come to from training, experience and conscious choice, there is always that underlying level in which they can never see eye to eye, because they have intrinsically different outlooks.

So, when choosing male or female mental sex, we are not concerned with the up front and obvious, we are concerned with that hidden level at the foundation of the Main Character's psyche that dictates a linear or holistic approach to the problem regardless of what is done consciously.

That's why the issue becomes vague - because it is not cut and dried in the Main Character nor is it up front. It is just their tendency at the lowest most basic part of their mind to go linear or holistic.
How can we illustrate this in a Main Character? The following point by point comparison can help:

As we can see, though both men and women will use both techniques depending on context, one kind comes first or takes priority. Which one is the principal technique is determined by mental sex. So, if you keep in mind that this all may be overshadowed by other learned techniques, you can illustrate male and female problem solving techniques as a TENDENCY to employ those listed above, all other things being equal.

Building a Mind for the Audience to Possess

When an audience looks at the Objective Characters, they see the Story Mind from the outside in. When an audience empathizes with the Main Character, they see the story from the inside out. In order for the audience to be able to step into the shoes of the Main Character and look through his eyes, he must possess a complete mind for the audience to possess. And that perhaps is the best way to look at it: the audience takes possession of the Main Character's mind. That's why you hear people in a movie yelling, "NO.... don't do that!!!" to a Main Character who is about to enter the shed where the slasher is waiting.

However, the question arises: who is taking possession of whom? As authors we direct our Main Character to take control of the audience's hearts and souls. We make them feel what the Main Character feels, experience what he experiences. It's a pretty sinister occupation we engage in. But that is how a story stops being a spectacle and worms its way into the heart.

Proceed to the Next Section of the Book-->

How to Order Dramatica: A New Theory of Story

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Back to the Dramatica Home Page

Copyright 1996, Screenplay Systems, Inc.

The Dramatica theory was developed by Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley
Chief Architect of the Dramatica software is Stephen Greenfield
is a registered trademark of Screenplay Systems Incorporated

Visit the Dramatica Theory Home Page

Try Dramatica & StoryWeaver Risk Free*

$179.95                       $29.95          

*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  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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We have a 90 Day Return Policy here at Storymind.  Try either or both of these products and if you aren't completely satisfied we'll cheerfully refund your purchase price.

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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.

Dramatica Pro 4.0<br>Plus FREE Bonus!

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

12 Hour Writing Course - $19.95

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.

Dramatica Software<br>Companion CD ROM

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!)

Master Storyteller:<br>Improve your<br>Writing Skills!

Master Storyteller Improves Your Writing - $29.95

Become a better writing with this series of interactive exercises.

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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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