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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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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!




Dramatica -
The Lost Theory Book (Part 2)

by Melanie Anne Phillips
creator StoryWeaver, co-creator Dramatica

How Stories Came to Be


Before the final version of "Dramatica - a New Theory of Story" there was an earlier draft which contained unfininished concepts and additional theory that was ultimately deemed "too complex". As a result, this material was never fully developed, was cut from the final version of the book, and has never seen the light of day -- until now! Recently, a copy of this early draft surfaced in the theory archives. The following are excerpts from this "lost" text.


Because the text that follows was not fully developed, portions may be incomplete, inaccurate, or actually quite wrong.

It is presented as a look into the history of the development of Dramatica and also as a source of additional theory concepts that (with further development) may prove useful.

Note about this excerpt:

As we developed the concept of the Story Mind, we began to wonder how it might have come to be that stories function as analogies to the human mind. Over the years, we developed a hypothesis which is available in its polished form on the web in an article entitled "The Story Mind."

The attempt at that explanation which follows is an early effort that misses some of the key ingredients, but also provides a more emotional perspective on the topic which was lost in the final, logistically polished version. Although somewhat inaccurate, I find this embryonic explanation much more intuitive and in a sense more "charming."

How Stories Came to Be

Any writer who has sought to understand the workings of story is familiar with the terms "Character", "Plot", "Theme", "Genre", "Premise", "Act", "Scene", and many others. Although there is much agreement on the generalities of these concepts, they have proven to be elusive when precise definitions are attempted. Dramatica presents the first definitive explanation of exactly what stories are and precisely how they are structured.

The dramatic conventions that form the framework of stories today did not spring fully developed upon us. Rather, the creation of these conventions was an evolutionary process dating far into our past. It was not an arbitrary effort, but served specific needs.

Early in the art of communication, knowledge could be exchanged about such things as where to find food, or how one felt - happy or sad . Information regarding the location or state of things requires only a description. However, when relating an event or series of events, a more sophisticated kind of knowledge needs to be communicated.


Imagine the very first story teller, perhaps a cave dweller who has just returned from a run-in with a bear. This has been an important event in her life and she desires to share it. She will not only need to convey the concepts "bear" and "myself", but must also describe what happened.

Her presentation then, might document what led up to her discovery of the bear, the interactions between them, and the manner in which she returned safely to tell the tale.

Tale: a statement (fictional or non-fictional) that describes a problem, the methods employed in the attempt to solve the problem, and how it all came out.

We can imagine why someone would want to tell a tale, but why would others listen? There are some purely practical reasons: if the storyteller faced a problem and discovered a way to succeed in it, that experience might someday be useful in the lives of the each individual in the audience. And if the storyteller didn't succeed, the tale can act as a warning as to which approaches to avoid.

By listening to a tale, an audience benefits from knowledge they have not gained directly through their own experience.

So, a tale is a statement documenting an approach to problem solving that provides an audience with valuable experience.

Stories, Objective and Subjective

When relating her tale, the first storyteller had an advantage she did not have when she actually experienced the event: the benefit of hindsight. The ability to look back and re-evaluate her decisions from a more objective perspective allowed her to share a step by step evaluation of her approach, and an appreciation of the ultimate outcome. In this way, valid steps could be separated from poorly chosen steps and thereby provide a much more useful interpretation of the problem solving process than simply whether she ultimately succeeded or failed.

This objective view might be interwoven with the subjective view, such as when one says, "I didn't know it at the time, but...." In this manner, the benefit of objective hindsight can temper the subjective immediacy each step of the way, as it happens. This provides the audience with an ongoing commentary as to the eventual correctness of the subjective view. It is this differential between the subjective view and the objective view that creates the dramatic potential of a story.

Through the Subjective view, the audience can empathize with the uncertainty that the storyteller felt as she grapples with the problem. Through the Objective view, the storyteller can argue that her Subjective approach was or was not an appropriate solution.

In short then:

Stories provide two views to the audience:

• A Subjective view that allows the audience to feel as if the story is happening to them

• An Objective view that furnishes the benefit of hindsight.

The Objective view satisfies our reason, the subjective view satisfies our feelings.

[Lost Theory Book Contents]


$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 

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