Ok folks, I have a tendency to say whatever is on the tip of my tongue, or in this case fingertips, without thinking. I now find myself a bit chagrined by one of those previous slips. It’s true that Dramatica cost an arm and a leg or possibly some other vital body parts, but it is a good program.
At the time of said offense, I was struggling with plot twists and points it showed me that never would have come up otherwise. Yes, it annoyed me and I took it out on the poor defenseless program instead of where it belonged. Me! I felt like a complete moron for not seeing these things on my own.
Dramatica works from the writer’s perspective instead of that of the audience, look at this article by Chris Huntley to understand the why and how.
Dramatica lingo can be a little intimidating. When I first started using it, I was frustrated, mumbling about it being a waste of money. I guess I thought I was brilliant enough not to RTFM (read the f’n manual) as my adorable hubby so kindly puts it. It takes time to master, but there is help. I don’t mean the silly help files that come with every program. They give you explanations, theory, definitions and stories to compare as well as the online community. All very helpful.
There are neat little toys such as the Character List. Say bye-bye to all those index cards cluttering up your desk or getting lost, the info is all right there in your computer. You can insert pictures of how you visualize your character, a description, role in the story, gender…you get the picture.
Then there’s the Brainstorming tools. You spin the wheel and it randomly picks a storyform that matches the choices you’ve already made. The Character Generator gives you new characters to play with including name, gender and character elements or you can modify existing characters.
I use it as a safety net, to keep me on track, but it also serves another purpose, it makes you THINK! Do you have the answers to Dramatica’s Twelve Essential Questions for your story? Would you have even thought to ask them?
I took a moment and applied Dramatica Theory to some of the books I’ve read. Suddenly it made sense. My Main Character didn’t have to be the Protagonist (although she is) and the Impact Character didn’t have to be the Antagonist (which he is not) allowing me to see beyond the basic plot. You know, all those pesky subplots that heighten the experience.
I could continue with my biased opinion, but you should judge for yourself. Give the demo a whirl and tell me where I’m wrong or heaven forbid agree with me.
No, Dramatica is not going to write the book for you. What it can do is take a barely alive story and make it better. Better. Stronger. Faster. Ladies and gentlemen, you can rebuild your story…you have the technology!