The Character’s Search for Meaning

The story unfolds as the Main and Obstacle Characters argue over direct vs. indirect, repetition vs. framework, strategy vs. analysis, and problem solving vs. justification. As the story progresses, it is the Obstacle Character’s function to force the Main Character through all four of these conflicts, each representing a different “level” of justification (problem solving) until they both stand at the neutral point where one means of problem solving/evaluation is as good as the next. This is the moment of the Leap of Faith, where life experience has been completely counterbalanced by what has been recently learned. This is the moment the Main Character must step into the void with absolutely no personal experiences to guide him, and choose to continue with the path he has always taken or adopt a new one.

The story then resolves in Success/Good, Success/Bad, Failure/Good, Failure/Bad. These four resolutions are the “Author’s Proof,” wherein he states his personal bias as to what the most appropriate and inappropriate choices were.

Sequence and the Passionate Argument

From this perspective, we can see how the sequence in which dramatic events occur has tremendous impact not on the structure of a story, but on the meaning derived from that structure. The “feel” of the passionate argument will be determined by the order in which the Main Character passes through the levels of justification to face the real source of the story’s inequity.

This sequence affects not only character, but plot and theme as well, and is therefore a complex series of cycles within cycles that is unpredictable during the viewing of a work, but falls into understanding at the conclusion or denouement. Because it is so complex, this is the part of Dramatica best left to computer calculation or to the intuition of the author himself.

From the Dramatica Theory Book