Blog Post

Does Dramatica Work For Novels?

Feb 22nd, 2016

A couple times a month I am asked, Dramatica looks great for screenplays, but can it work for novels as well? The answer is a resounding yes.

Several of my clients are novelists--in fact, I would hazard to guess that at least half of them write for the page rather than the screen. The only difference--and it's not really a difference as much as it is a result of the amount of "space" a novel has to explore a narrative--is the amount of storyforms contained within a single work.

A Dramatica storyform is a unique collection of seventy-five story points working together to deliver the Author's message. Unique to this collection are several different points-of-view, the Main Character and the Influence Character functioning as two of the most important. The Main Character takes the 'I' or first-person subjective viewpoint whereas the Influence Character takes the first-person objective 'You' viewpoint. Establishing from whose perspective an Audience member experiences a story is an important key to an effective and complete story.

The Lord of the Rings has several different storyforms depending on who is the Main Character and who is their individual Influence Character. At times Frodo is the MC, other times it is Sam, and yet still at other times Gollum is the MC. That's three storyforms right there, and that is only the beginning.

You can have as many storyforms as you have room to explore them--that is why novels generally tend to have more than film. The reason most movies run a little less than two hours is because that is the shortest amount of time you can take to accurately explore a storyform. Any shorter and you would have to leave something out.[^short]

To Kill A Mockingbird is an example of a novel with one storyform. Lord of the Flies is another. It all depends on what it is you are trying to say. The storyform, or multiple storyforms, are there to carry your message to the Audience.

[^short]: Short stories have to "slice" or "dice" a storyform. They simply don't have enough time to explore everything.