Blog Post

Dramatica: A Relativistic Model Of Narrative

Dec 1st, 2015

The Dramatica theory of story is a relativistic model; the location of story points within the Table of Story Elements carries as much importance as the definition of the items themselves. It is no coincidence that Memories and the Past sit in the same upper left hand position on the Type level, or that Conscious and the Present rest in the lower right. Memories are to the fixed internal state of the Mind as the Past is to the fixed external state of the Universe; Conscious identify the current state of the Mind as the Present signifies the here and now of the Universe.

The Dramatica Relativistic Model

Understanding this relativism helps quell the panic induced determining slight variances in terminology across the model. Every level, whether Domain, Type, Variation or Element, identifies an inequity--just at different levels of magnification. This is why you'll find the quad of Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire at both the Element and Variation level; and why you'll find Evaluation/Reevaluation on one level and the similarly defined Appraisal/Reappraisal on another. The former identifies problems of assessment at a granular level, the latter at a slightly broader context.

When it comes to elements with similar definitions at the same level, it is important to look at the context within which those elements rest. For instance, the short definitions of Possibility and Speculation strike a disconcerting resemblance:

Possibility: a determination that something might be true

Speculation: an extension of possibilities into the future

Both focus on the possibilities and the differences seem to be awkwardly semantic.

But they're not.

Look to the context. Possibility rests in the lower right under the Present and Conscious; Speculation sits under Memories and the Past. The former guesses the likelihood of something happening now, the latter surmises what could be based on past performance. The former sees inequity within the energy of what is, the latter finds conflict within the weight of what was.

The Dramatica model is a complex schematic of specific narrative story points arranged in such a way that meaning can be derived by their relativistic nature. In short, there is purpose to their position.