Blog Post

How Do You Know You Have the Right Storyform?

Aug 11th, 2020

A frequent question from writers new to the Dramatica theory of story stems from the 32,000+ potential options for structuring your story. With so many to choose from, how can you be sure you're writing to the right storyform?

I keep banging my head against: How do I get past not being able to settle on a storyform? I think I know what I'm trying to say. But every time I look at a storyform (whether it's one of the ones already in Subtext or I upload it from Dramatica), there's always something that feels wrong with, and I just can't seem to get past that. Any suggestions?

Yes. Realize that there will always be a part of the storyform that doesn't fit right with how you imagine your story. That sinking feeling that you have the "wrong" storyform is Dramatica reflecting that part of you that you cannot see.

A Dramatica storyform presents the totality of an argument from a wholly objective AND a completely subjective point-of-view. Given the construction of our minds, we can't do the same on our own. We shift contexts all the time—a great survival technique, but a detriment to writing stories. Sound arguments require a consistent context. Relying on our minds to get us through without assistance is a recipe for disaster. In the past, we would ask friends and colleagues to give notes. Today, we have Dramatica to aid the re-writing process.

The Combo Approach

When working with Dramatica, you must juggle both intuition and storyform. Write to one storyform and ignore those feelings of doubt that say you're headed off in the "wrong" direction. Finish the scene, sequence, or even story, and take in the result.

Is it what you had in mind?

If the answer is no, then return to your draft and compare it to the storyform. Identify those areas that fail to capture you and make the necessary adjustments.

This process is what you do when you're re-writing. Might as well leverage the balanced insights of Dramatica theory to help speed up the process.

Continue this approach of storyforming and writing, re-writing, and storyforming until the story on the page comes closest to the one in your head. Eventually, you will narrow down the "inaccuracies" of the Storyform you see from Dramatica to sync with the story imagined in your head. When you feel it is the BEST representation of your heart's intention, stop.

That's when you can move on to the next attempt at capturing the vastness that is your imagination.