Examples of Story “Concerns”

In previous classes, we’ve looked at how to zero in on the nature of your story’s central driving problem or issue at the most broad stroke level by seeing it as being an external state or process (situation or activity) or an internal state or process (attitude or chain of thought).  But we can delve even deeper into the story’s problem by further sub-dividing whichever of these four realms the story is in into four even more detailed categories.  For example, we can sub-divide a situation into Past, Present, Future and Progress.  Or, we could sub-divide a state of mind into Memory, Conscious, Subconscious and Preconscious.

Why these words – especially since some like Progress and Preconscious seem out of place or unfamiliar?  I’ll get into that in a minute, but first, consider that Past is to Situation as Memory is to Attitude. And, Present is to Situation as Conscious is to Attitude.  The point is that in order to look at your story at a more detailed level, you need to sub-divide the nature of the problem without bias or warping or changing your point of view.  You must, as an author, remain objective when dealing with structure so that the sub-categories in one realm have exactly the same relationship to the parent category in each of the four realms.  Only by being consistent in examining our structure can we accurately build it.

Finally, in answer to the question of “why THOSE words” – well the simple answer is that the Dramatica theory was built by taking that objective look at structure as deep as we could see with it, sub-dividing and then further sub-dividing the nature of the driving tensions of the dramatics until we could sub-divide it no more.  The names of these sub-categories were chosen to be as unbiased as possible to keep each realm consistent.  But, because every culture has its own biases built right into the language, we found that sometimes we had to slightly redefine a common word to get to the meaning we really wanted, and other times we had to use the closest match or even come up with a new word to fit the meaning that should be at a particular sub-category if it was to not introduce that cultural bias.  So, Progress means how we measure how the situation is changing.  Preconscious is how we measure how our attitude is changing.  Preconscious describes the fixed filters of our mind to which we can compare how our overall outlook is changing.

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