Send An Email, Improve Your Understanding
Oct 7th, 2015
Funny observation I had tonight before slipping odd to bed ...
Twenty years of Dramatica theory and I still make mistakes. Need proof? Listen to a Dramatica Users Group podcast and wait for the silence from me when it comes to figuring out the Story Driver. Huge blind spot for me. Better yet, check out the Ida podcast and listen to me insert a giant Shaquille O'Neal shoe in my mouth when it comes to the Main Character's Resolve. Tldr: I need help too.
And when I need help, I turn to Dramatica's co-creator Chris Huntley. I have an entire folder in my Dropbox devoted to Chris's responses to my email questions. Questions about the Plot Sequence Report and questions about the differences between a Situation and an Activity and yes, questions about the Story Driver.
But a strange thing happens sometimes when I ask these questions. More often than not, the moment I hit Send on that email, the answer comes rushing to me. Usually it would be followed by a quick flush of embarrassment for even ever asking the question and a wish that I could somehow take the email back.
I think that taking the time to formulate a question about Dramatica theory necessarily sets into motion the mental facilities needed to answer your own question. The simple act of making the confusion you have towards certain terminology or an aspect of the theory a physical reality--with words and commas and a question mark at the end--organizes your thoughts on a path towards understanding. It helps you figure it out on your own, the same way outlining and organizing your Acts individually by Throughline before writing helps you figure out the meaning of your story way ahead of time.
So if you're ever struggling with a bit of Dramatica, take the time to write me a well thought-out email. And make sure you hit that Send button. The moment you do, the answer will come to you and you'll know story a little bit better.