Writing Tips & Writing Software

Screenwriting Software

Books and Videos on Writing

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.

Details and Demo



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.

Details and Demo

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.

Details and Demo

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.


Academic Discounts
on Select Products

Are you a student, teacher, or academic staffer? Get the very best price on select products with these manufacturer sponsored academic discounts!




Elements & Variations

by Melanie Anne Phillips
creator StoryWeaver, co-creator Dramatica

Here’s some info on the arrangements of Elements and Variations. The name, "Elements" gives a clue that it is referring to the basic "particles" of the drama. Therefore, Elements can be said to be an appreciation of a story when it is seen "spatially" (in terms of the arrangement of dramatic items).

"Variations," on the other hand, give a clue in their name that they "vary," and are therefore more "temporal" appreciations, that depend on how things evolve over time.

The arrangements of both Elements and Variations change from Storyform to Storyform, but for different reasons:


If you look at the entire Dramatica Structural Chart (the periodic table of story elements) you will see that it is divided into four separate classes, Universe, Mind, Physics, and Psychology. Each class is the name of the largest square at the top, but also refers to the entire "tower" of sub-items below it, including Types, Variations, and Elements.

The Types and Variations have different names from Class to Class, but the Elements at the bottom of each Class have the same names - in other words, the same 64 Elements appear at the bottom, most detailed level of each Class. This is because each of the four Classes is really trying to see (or get to) the most detailed understanding of the story’s problem. As a result, each Class ends up coming to the same Elemental pieces in trying to put the puzzle together.

But, each of the four Classes really represents a different "take" on the problem. Universe and Physics look to the external world for the problem (and solution). Mind and Psychology look to the internal world. Universe and Mind are fixed states (arrangements) where the problem might lay. Physics and Mind are processes (progressions) where the problem might lay. So, among the four Classes, we are trying to locate the story’s problem in terms of being an external or internal state or process.

If you stop to think about it, there is not a problem that cannot be classified as either an external or internal state or process. So, each class is a different take on the problem. As a result, there is a built-in bias to each Class. Therefore, though they all end up zeroing in on the same Elements, the ARRANGEMENT of the Elements varies from Class to Class, representing the "warped" view of the issues from each bias.

Characters are built from the Class which is selected as the Objective Story Domain. So, depending upon which Class you (or Dramatica) select, the arrangement of Elements will vary appropriately.

(Keep in mind that there is no "normal" unbiased Class among the four. Each is like a different side of an aquarium looking at a stick poking into the water at an angle. From each side, the warping of the refraction will cause the stick to appear more or less angled, and perhaps at a different direction. Only by comparing all four views together can one determine whether the stick is truly bent or straight. So, the actual problem at the heart of the story can never be found in a single Class, but rather somewhere in the middle, outside but touched on by them all. ("The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao.")


As for Variations, it works quite differently, seeing as how Variations are more progressive appreciations.

When you make choices in Dramatica about the 12 Essential Questions (Character, Plot, and Theme items, four each) you are really priming the Story Engine to run. What the Story Engine does is twist and turn the entire Dramatica structural model like a grandiose Rubik’s Cube. This represents the way the Story Mind is altered over time by experience - the process of mental "justification."

The first four essential questions give a value or direction to the Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire) of the Story Mind - the most basic components of self-awareness. The second four questions give a value (or direction) to Mass, Energy, Space, and Time the most basic components of the Story Mind’s environment. The last four questions determine in which realms the two forces, Consciousness and Environment, come into friction.

In a sense, the first four questions determine where you are looking from. The second four questions determine what you are looking at. The last four questions determine the perspective created between the two.

Armed with this information, the Story Engine twists and rotates the components of the periodic table of story elements, throwing them out of alignment with one another in a manner that represents the disparity between the Story Mind and its environment. Some of the principal items that might be dislodged from their normal positions are the Variations, which are fragile appreciations, easily shifted by justification.

So, when you create a Storyform, you may be applying mental perspectives to the Story Mind that shift Variations out of their own Class, just as a human being may "project" a personal problem onto a friend or onto the environment, rather than admit it resides within.


$149.95                       $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

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 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.

Dramatica Details & Demo 

StoryWeaver Details & Demo 







Subscribe to Storymind Writing Tips Newsletter


Most Popular





Creative Writing

Constructive Criticisms

The Story Mind

Story Points



Story Development

Story Structure

Dramatica Theory

Dramatica Software



The Story Mind






Story Ecoding




Story Structure eBook

4 Hour Audio Program
on Story Sructure


Story Struicture inThe Real World eBook

eBooks, Guides

Demos & Trials

Subscribe to Storymind Writing Tips Newsletter

Contact Us - About Us - Lowest Price Guarantee - Shipping - Return Policy

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips - Owner,, Creator Storyweaver, Co-creator Dramatica