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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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Dramatica Domain Placement
in Story Structure

by Melanie Anne Phillips
creator StoryWeaver, co-creator Dramatica

Over the years, a lot of people have asked why Dramatica forces some of the throughlines into certain domains. Why canít "anything go?"

Well, once again, the Dramatica theory allows for more versatility, but the software doesnít - yet. Still, what the software does is probably what you want!

Software-wise, OS, MC, SS, and OC form a quad. OS is always opposite SS and MC is always opposite OC. So, When you plop down OS or SS on a domain, you know where the other one will be. And, if put MC or OC in a domain, youíll know where the other is. Why does the software do this? Because it creates conflict.

Universe and Mind (two of the domains) are fixed states of things and share a similar nature. Physics and Psychology (the other two domains) are processes and thereby share a nature.

Therefore, "forcing" the MC and OC into opposite domains and forcing the OS and SS into the other two creates a structure-wide consistency. In short, it forces each of the two families MC & OC (people) and OS & SS (relationships) into the greatest conflict within each family.

Since Hollywood thrives on conflict ("whereís the conflict?!") this arrangement serves very well for MOST of the stories actually written, purchased, and produced.

But, quads have more that one kind of relationship! To see what I mean, go to the Build Characters window in D Pro (or Movie Magic Dramatica). If you open that window full wide, youíll see three different kinds of relationships listed on the right for every quad.

The family of two items in a diagonal relationship form a "Dynamic Pair." Since there are two diagonals in each quad, there are two Dynamic Pairs.

The two items in a horizontal relationship form "Companion Pair," and there are two of those as well.

Finally, two vertical items form a "Dependent Pair," also being two in a quad.

Each of these relationships has a different nature. Also, one of the two pairs of each kind will be "positive" and the other "negative."

1. Dynamic relationships are conflictual. Positive Dynamic relationships are like the "loyal opposition" where two sides butt heads, but synthesize a better solution because of the conflict. Negative Dynamic relationships occur when two sides butt heads until each is beaten into the ground.

2. Companion relationships involve the indirect impact one character has on another. Positive Companion relationships occur when there is beneficial "fall-out" or "spill-over" between the two sides. For example, a father might work at a factory where he can bring home scrap balsa wood which his son uses for making models. Negative companion relationships involve negative spill-over such as a room-mate who snores.

3. Dependent relationships describe the joint impact of the two sides. For example, positive Dependent relationships might bring Brain and Braun together so that they are stronger than the sum of their parts. A negative Dependent relationship might have a character saying, "Iím nothing without my other half."

Thereís also one other relationship which doesnít show up in the software - the Associate relationship.

4. Associative deals with the relationship of the individual to the group. Rather than being consistently positive or negative, the two varieties of this kind of relationship may be either - but in any given relationship one variety will be positive and the other negative. The Component variety sees the items in a quad as individuals. The Collective variety
sees them as a group.

For example, two brothers might fight between themselves (Component), yet come to each othersí aid when threatened by a bully because they now see themselves as family (Collective).

Neither one is inherently positive or negative - it depends on context. That is why we, as a culture, have trouble with terms such as "the United States." Well which are they, United or States?

Now these same kinds of relationships can also function between MC and OC or between OS and SS. In theory then, the Main Character and Obstacle Character might be in Dynamic, Companion, or Dependent relationships, and so might the Objective and Subjective stories.

But more than this, the each throughline will have the other kinds of relationships with the other throughlines. So the MC, for example, will have a Dynamic relationship with one of the other three throughlines, a Companion with another, and a Dependent with the third. Quite a lot of interrelationships going on in a single story!

As it stands in the software, those relationships already exist. They just arenít referred to anywhere. If you plot the positions of the four throughlines in your story on the Dramatica structural chart (or look at them in the Theme Browser) you can see by the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal relationships how each throughline relates to the others. Again, a lot to explore in your story!

Still, you canít yet make the MC and OC companions or dependents in the software. But shouldnít it be easy enough to do? Shouldnít it be easy to just allow the MC and OC to share any kind of available relationship?

Sure itís easy, but thereís a catch. EVERYTHING - all story points are connected by the Story Engine. And, for the story to have consistency, all parts of the structure must favor ONE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP. So, you canít just change the MC and OC rules, with out changing them for everything else as well. And, you also have to rewrite the entire DYNAMIC part of the engine so that it can "flip" items (as discussed in an earlier post) on the horizontal or vertical axis of a quad, rather than on the diagonal.

To tell the truth, we simply havenít had time to work out the algorithms that would drive such a system! But we will. Or someone else will. And then the software will expand in versatility yet again.

To get a feel for the size of the nut we will have to crack to get this working, try to imagine a gripping story which has no conflict at any level. Itís do-able, but tough. Weíll add that part of the theory to the software eventually.

In the meantime, when dealing with any quad, go beyond thinking about only the diagonal conflictual relationships and think about the horizontal companion ones and the vertical dependent ones as well. Even if there is not a lot of specific support for that in the software, a little bit of theory knowledge can go a long way to added nuance and depth to your work.


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About Dramatica and StoryWeaver

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 Engineô 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 Cardsô 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 Alone

By itself Dramatica 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.

How They Work Together

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.

Try Either Program Risk Free!

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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