Article

The Myth of Writer's Block

The way through lies in knowing your artistic intent.

If narrative structure exists as organized Truth, then the only thing the Author needs to learn is the essence of that Truth. Yes, strategies exist to communicate one's heart, but without knowing its depths, the process of writing it down becomes stilted. "Writer's block" is less a function of one's inability to write, and more a result of not knowing one's self.

As enlightening and exciting as it can be to learn Dramatica, many fall into the trap of thinking the theory a universal understanding of everything. They perceive its insights so illuminating that they conflate a storyform with reality. They completely overlook the role of the observer in developing a narrative.

I suppose I expected Dramatica to be something it is not and can never be. I am overly idealising this idea that somehow a model has the ability to be absolutely conclusive when dealing with truth but as we both know, although some of the Hegelians might contest, it is not how it is supposed to work.

Truth is subjective. The Dramatica theory of story objectifies that subjectivity. The model is, therefore, conclusive when dealing with an Author's perception of reality.

There is no one truth we all aspire to capture—only the reality we perceive in consciousness.

Dramatica helps illuminate what your truth looks like from the outside.

Tedious elaboration has guided me to think about Dramatica being a tool to design an experience that explores discord. If the author remains sincere and truthful, the model itself cannot be a means to invoke some sort of superiority of an author's artificial construct of truth. This was a misunderstanding on my part. As I understand it now, the model itself is neutral. It simply assists the author to explore as many possible perspectives on a given discord as humanly possible to hold in one sitting to avoid the recipients' skulls cracking.

The model is only neutral before the Author's intent or intervention. Once interacted with, the model shifts context and focal point in a process commonly known as projection. This now biased model is what you see when you view a storyform—and what every Author instinctively follows when they set out to write a story.

This leads me to believe that story outcome/success are not themselves necessarily the measures of an author's intents and biases. They are merely the dramatic components necessary in order to give the story a spark of life, a desire that drives the motion behind all of it, so to speak.

The Story Outcome appreciation of Success or Failure refers explicitly to the Outcome of the efforts to resolve the story's inequity. The effect of this choice on narrative structure is demonstrable and significant enough to warrant closer attention. This vital dynamic of the narrative is indicative of the Author's intent.

And bias merely fuels the fire of that intent, determining whether that Outcome will end in Success or Failure.

Without fuel, a fire won't burn. Like you said: if you're not blind to certain motivations, one loses the drive to do something or be someone. I, for one, can certainly attest to this, although I must profess that the realisation of this interpretation itself being a construct, seems to be the cure for it. It is possible to live peacefully, without desire, although it's oftentimes more fun to do the opposite anyway, but likely spiteful in equal measure.

Agreed. Inequity is the mother of all good things in this life.

Especially when it comes to writing.

Understanding the Form of Story

The elusiveness of meaning is such that many defer its knowing to process. Authors write without purpose in the hopes that their Audience will somehow put the pieces together—as if by magic.

Great storytelling is not a roll of the dice.

When it comes to meaning or the lack thereof, I think I now understand that this is ultimately in the hands of the author and happens much more so in the storyweaving style. And although the storyform does affect the way in which the story is experienced, it is not necessarily where the meaning comes from. Again, I now believe it up to the author to speak his (biased) truth (or lack thereof).

The storyform does not affect the way a story is experienced. The storyform is the meaning of a story—how it is perceived is both a factor of the Author's ability and the relative receptiveness of the Audience.

A meaningless story can be weaved and told in such a way that it provides a great experience. Inglorious Basterds is one example of this approach. Taken is another. Meaning is found in the formation of the Author's intent—not in the process of putting that intent down on paper.

The Dramatica storyform captures that intent.

The Foundation of the Storyform

Understanding what you want to say with your story cannot be understated: without purposeful intent, you reign chaos down upon your Audience.

Ask, what do I mean to say with my story?

Everything else follows.

So in my case, I think I put too much emphasis on the storyform itself, assuming that the storyform creates the meaning I am trying to communicate. This, ironically leads to writer's block.

The storyform represents the meaning of your story. The reason the process leads to writer's block for you (and for many) is that you still don't possess a clear idea of what it is you want to say with your work.

"Writer's Block" is nothing more than an unknowing of one's intent. If anything, Dramatica obliterates the excuse by providing the tools and concepts necessary to make the temporary concrete.

The only thing left for the Author to do is to build up from that foundation.