Like No Other on Earth
Sep 12th, 2016
Inspired by a podcast interview with Seth Godin by Time Ferris, I'm going to start posting to this blog daily again. My original intent for creating this Thoughts on Story Strucure section called for regularly scheduled check-ins, but the demands of building a start-up story consultancy prevented me from keeping up that obligation. My hope is to build up enough momentum writing these posts that it eventually becomes second nature to me.
And I can't think of any other way to start this off with an excellent thought by writer Mike Lucas over on Discuss Dramatica:
The fact that a complete story is a model of a mind solving a problem is awesome for understanding the theory, but for writing a story I think you're best to focus on the Story Points (a.k.a. appreciations) which are the things that you can actually recognize and use as a writer. It's kind of like a race car driver -- you don't teach someone how to race cars by going through all the physics involved. They're much better off using their instincts to feel what's right and wrong, and develop those further through experience. However, an engineer might say to a driver "with this car, when you hear X sound from the engine, that's a sign that Y needs adjusting, so get to the pit stop ASAP". That's kind of like a Dramatica story point where the theory can communicate something useful to the writer -- "when the source of your main character's personal problems has to do with Helping, his solution will be in the realm of Hindering". This is how the storyform can be so useful in helping the 99.9% of us writers who have blind spots when it comes to narrative.
Dramatica's objective nature makes it possible for writers to see their own blind spots. Sometimes, writers new to theory find themselves caught up in the theoretical underpinnings and stunted by the amount of understanding involved. You can't really blame them—Dramatica is like no other theory of story on Earth.
Balancing the use of the theory with a constant practice of writing is the Goal of every thoughtful writer.