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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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Tips from Dramatica Users...

"Defining Main Characters in stories with multiple narrators"

From: Armando Salda�a Mora (tictic@DATA.NET.MX)

   There seem to be some troubles defining the Main Characters in stories with multiple narrators and I'd like to comment on the matter.

   First, a brief discussion of the nature of the Main Character, and then some practical tips to work in stories with multiple narrators:

   The worst part of pitching a project for TV is when the Network Exec pulls out a demographics chart and says: "Our public is made in 45% of farmers, 21% of secretaries, 19% of housewives, 12% of hydraulic engineers and 3% miscellaneous", at this point the Exec gives you back your project synopsis and says "The public has to identify with the Main Character, so make her a farming secretary married to a hydraulic engineer."

    The other possible mistake comes from thinking that the Main Character doesn't has to resemble the public, but must act exactly as the public would act given the same situation. (Thank to George Lucas, if I'm ever in a lasersword fight now I know what to do)

    I believe that the mistake of the Main Character identification with the public was first introduced by Aristotle (or by someone who translated him badly from the original Greek) and was coined by the 18th century critics. The mistake is basically this: You don't identify with the Main Character, but rather involve with his troubles on an emotional level.

    I mean, no one on his right mind would say: "Gee, I'd love to be Oedipus!"

    I know that we all came out of the first Rocky walking like Sylvester Stallone, but none would trade his life with a beat-up south Philly Italian boxer, we were only happy that Rocky was able to solve his problems. Because we cared for the guy, but doesn't have to agree with him.

    How we do this? Because a complete story works a every psychological level of your brain.

    Let's look at Hamlet. He's what is called a "Tragic Hero", that means a character that we care about, but who begins with the wrong idea. In the pure rational plain, Hamlet is a complete idiot. He has something important to do, but instead wanders on the hallways, hangs on on cemeteries and pretends he's crazy.

    "Whether 'tis nobler for the soul..?"

    "WOULD YOU DO SOMETHING? YOU LITTLE JERK!!... AND CUT THAT HAIR TOO!"

    But in the emotional level we learn of his conflict, of his feeling of being powerless. We fear his father and feel compelled to him at the same time. In the emotional level we understand Hamlet's inaction.

    The objective throughline, main character throughline, obstacle character throughline and subjective throughline each works at a different level of the mind (I've seen that lot's of guys in this discussion group are into psychology, so here it goes):

    The Objective throughline goes to the rational parts and forces them to analyze and synthesize the story problems, logic for a rational solution.

    The Main Character throughline is the view of the Ego (more in a Freudian term than in a "transactional analysis" term).

    The Obstacle Character throughline has heavy Super Ego and/or Id issues (That is why is so easy to use a Super Ego Guardian [like Obi-wan-Kenobi] or a Id Contagonist [Like Hannibal Lecter] as an Obstacle Character)    The Subjective throughline works like the "Adult" in Transactional Analysis, struggling to find an balance between the emotional parts of the mind.

   So, the main character identification, doesn't come from a character that resembles oneself, or one that acts like oneself or about who is the narrator. The identification comes from learning the emotional view the Main Character has on the problem.

That was a not-so-brief discussion about the Main Character, so, about the multiple narrators:

   The first and easiest way to work this would be to form one story, encode it and weave it using the multiple narrators revealing in each view new information about the story, I believe Melanie and Chris call this the "Building Size" or "Changing Scope" technique. Some of the information could be Red Herrings (changing importance or giving false information) or play with anyone of the spatial techniques of story weaving. You can play giving your narrators archetypical traits and focus on the difference the traits make on the narration: the same scene viewed by the skeptic and the sidekick would seem as two different new scenes. Remember, using this techniques, you'd have to weave the Main Character scenes colored with the narrator point of view, but all the information about your Main Character emotional troubles should remain clear. An example I liked of this techniques would be a movie called "To die for". Here the main character has all the wrong ideas and acts in the worst of ways, so you need many points of view (the movie has about ten narrators) to understand all the implications of the problem.

    You may also want to write subplots or parallel plots in your novel. Each of them should be treated as a complete story with it's own Main Character even if in the weaving stage you give more emphasis to one story over the others. Here you can play with the meaning of each story. Try this: make the OS problem item in one story the OS solution in other story, if you have a Domain of Physics, Concern of Obtaining, Range of Morality and Problem of Disbelief in the Objective throughline in one story, give that same Domain, Concern, Range and Problem on the Subjective throughline on another story. If you have a scene order of "Learning-Understanding-Doing-Obtaining" in one story, try and get an order of "Obtaining-Doing-Understanding-Learning" in another story. Have fun, but a word of warning about this wacky techniques: they all must serve your novel. Do the storyforming and do some encoding to see if this works as a subplot, if it doesn't, throw it away. Remember that each of the subplots could be told by multiple narrators.

Hope this works for you. As usual, post any doubt you have about this derangement.

    By the way, I was quoting Hamlet from memory and from a cheap Spanish Translation, so forgive me if I'm not too accurate. Incidentally, here is how the famous monologue looks in Spanish:

Ser, o no ser, �esa es la pregunta! �Qu� es m�s elevado para el esp�ritu, sufrir inerte los dardos y flechas de la fortuna infamante o oponer el brazo contra ese torrente de injusticias y luchar?...


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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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StoryWeaving Tips Book - $19.95

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

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StoryWeaving Seminar 8 DVD Set - $99.95

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