Series of Articles

Collections of articles centered around a specific topic

The Justification Process

The genesis of all motivation is justification. Whether entrenched deep within the psyche, or building towards an immovable force, the process of hiding characters from themselves is the key to dynamic conflict. Understand the why of your story and you understand what to write.

James R. Hull

The Science Behind Dramatica

Hubris is defined as "excessive pride, or self-confidence." In this series, I match hubris with hubris in the definitive defense of what I consider to be one of the most important narrative theories of all time.

James R. Hull

The Hegelian Chronicles

The romanticism of ancient philosophy often leads many a writer astray. The assumption of accuracy in centuries-old concepts blinds one to present realities and modern understandings of consciousness. Do we still adhere to Ptolemy’s Earth-centered Universe? Of course, not. And neither should we cling to the reductive nature of the Hegelian Dialectic.

James R. Hull

The Story Consequence

Dramatica is a theory of story--not a set of dogmatic rules or narrative edicts to follow without thought. As groundbreaking and enlightening as the original text is, further development and practical application of the theory requires one to understand the thinking behind the concepts. The presence of the Story Consequence in a story is more than merely a function of Main Character Growth.

James R. Hull

The Holistic Premise

A complete story is a model of the mind at work. Narrative structure depends on the nature of that mind's base operating system: does it prefer linearity or holism? While the Linear approach to Premise building is clear-cut and forward, the Holistic approach is more complex.

James R. Hull

The Relationship Story Throughline

Misunderstood for far too long, the Relationship Story Throughline balances the more objective concerns of plot with a complimentary subjective bond. Often felt as 'the heart of a story,' this relationship focuses on the dynamic conflict existing between individuals...and not always the two principal characters in a story.

James R. Hull

Creating Complex Characters in Complex Times

Character Archetypes like Protagonist and Antagonist are the building blocks of solid story structure. Those familiar with the Dramatica theory of story also know them as the virtual "training-wheels" of narrative construction. In this series, we dive down into the specifc Character Elements that form Protagonist and Antagonist, and then move out to explore the other Archetypes found in elementary understandings of story.

James R. Hull

How to Use Dramatica the Right Way

The Dramatica theory of story makes writing harder, not easier. To make the experience of learning Dramatica easier, I recommend two important tasks at the outset: discard the training wheels and go above and beyond what seems to be the purpose of the theory. A great narrative requires careful consideration—the development of your understanding of narrative requires even more.

James R. Hull

Preparing to Write a Complete Story

The foundation of all great narrative lies in the clarity of intent. Identifying the initial inequity, setting the Goal and Consequence, and then preparing the Protagonist and Antagonist to resolve conflict--these are the initial steps towards developing a strong story.

James R. Hull

Plotting Your Story with Dramatica

The difference between Dramatica and other paradigms of story structure? Dramatica takes your Original Intent--what it is you want your story to mean--and gives you back the order in which you should present your material. Tragedies move through a different sequence of events than Triumphs; some characters change by growing while others grow by changing--the specific sequence of the narrative thematic material in your story shifts depending on what it is you are trying to say.

James R. Hull

Building a Story Outline for NaNoWriMo

Wanting to write a novel and knowing what to write about are two different things. The daily support that comes with participating in National Novel Writing Month helps, but a structural map of what those days ahead look like clears up any uncertainties. This series outlines a fun and inventive way to capture that motivation to write and convert it into a meaningful and engaging story.

James R. Hull

The Audience Appreciations of Story

When we think of story structure, we often tend to focus on characters and plot--never thinking for once how the Audience understands our structure. The Dramatica theory of story features a handful of Audience Appreciations that help Authors understand where their story crosses over from intent to interpretation.

James R. Hull

Structuring Narratives in the Real World

We turn to stories in order to find some meaning in our lives. By setting the context and unique perspectives at play, we construct a framework of narrative thematics that help teach us the best way to resolve conflict and balance out that which cannot be resolved. Understanding that stories function as a model of the problem-solving process within our own minds, it becomes easy to define and set the narratives present in our everyday lives.

James R. Hull

Using Dramatica to Come Up with New Story Ideas

Tired of writing the same story over and over again? With the Dramatica theory of story (and Subtxt, our practical application of the theory), you can quickly develop a unique and engaging story unlike anything you have written before. In this series, I show how to use the Narrative First Playground Exercise to access an unlimited source of great new ideas for your next story.

James R. Hull

A Playground for Writers

In this series you will learn an exciting and fun way to brainstorm new story ideas by using Dramatica’s powerful Gists feature. These Playground Exercises are the cornerstone of our Dramatica Mentorship Program. In short, they help you transform theory into story.

James R. Hull

A Deep Analysis of A Separation

Some films require a closer look--one that seeks to understand the greatness of the storytelling within, and why it feels so different from anything else. A Separation stands out as the simple story of a divorce that turns out to be something much more dramatic and complex in the end.

James R. Hull

The Story Goal

When looking for what a character wants, look to the Story Goal. Often seen as something to acquire, goals of attitude and psychology account for many a sophisticated narrative. Goals are something to acquire, but the nature of those goals can range from the physical to the mental and all spaces between.

James R. Hull

Character and Change

While many writers understand the idea of a character arc, the specific storypoints that define that development receive little consideration. Parsing the Main Character's path through a story reveals two key appreciations of story structure: the Main Character Resolve and the Main Character Growth. A better understanding of these two principles allows a writer to see that an arc is more than merely change.

James R. Hull

Patterns of Conflict

Writing great conflict into your stories is as simple as finding the context for an inequity, for without context there can be no conflict. Thankfully, the Dramatica theory of story offers writers several different ways to understand and create effective conflict. This multi-article series will reveal to you patterns of conflict you never knew existed.

James R. Hull

Never Trust a Hero

One of the first things you learn when it comes to writing is the idea of the Hero. You may even hear about how important his Journey is (and in recent years, how much her Journey is). You may even come to the conclusion that you have to have a Hero in order to write a great story, or at the very least, an Anti-Hero. Both conclusions are wrong, you don't need either concept and in fact, thinking in those terms will limit the kinds of stories you can tell your Audience.

James R. Hull

Writing the Antagonistic Hero

To most, the idea of Protagonist and Antagonist is clear cut and simple: the Protagonist is the "good guy" and the Antagonist is the "bad guy." But what happens when the efforts to resolve conflict put both good and "not-so-good" forces against one another. Who is the Antagonist and who is the Protagonist? Connnecting motivation to the Goal of the story is the best way to delineate both sides and to ensure a story that doesn't fall apart at the end.

James R. Hull

New class begins January 2022!