Dramatica Definition: Positive vs. Negative

Positive versus Negative • Positive and Negative are not evaluations of the ultimate outcome of a story, but evaluations of how the story feels during its course toward the outcome. Does the story feel like it is drawing closer to a satisfying and fulfilling conclusion or farther away from an unsatisfying, unfulfilling conclusion? Then it is positive. Does the story feel like it is drawing closer to an unsatisfying and unfulfilling conclusion or farther away from a satisfying, fulfilling conclusion? Then it is negative. Any given story will have either a positive or negative feel to it. This is caused by a combination of two kinds of dynamics, one of which describes the Main Character, the other describes the Author. Every Main Character’s personal problem is either caused because he is doing something he needs to stop or because he is not doing something he ought to be. In other words, his problem exists because he needs to remove or add a trait. In a sense, the Main Character must either move toward something new or move away from something old. That alone does not give a positive or negative feel to a story, as what he is moving toward or away from could be good or bad. Every Author has feelings about which traits are good ones to have and which are bad. Just because a Main Character successfully solves his problem by removing or adding a trait does not mean he has become a better person for it. The Author’s message may be that failure in problem-solving is preferable to diminishing one’s overall character. So the Author’s identity is exposed to the audience by passing a value judgment on whether removing or adding a trait (Start or Stop) was good or bad. Taken together, Start and Stop, and a value judgment on what the Main Character is growing in relation to of good or bad create four combinations. Two of these are positive and two of them are negative. Start and good means the Main Character is moving toward something good and that feels positive. Stop and bad means the Main Character is moving away from something bad and that also feels positive. Start and bad means the Main Character is moving toward something bad and that feels negative. And Stop and good means the Main Character is moving away from something good and that feels negative as well.

From the Dramatica Dictionary

This entry was posted in Definitions. Bookmark the permalink.