Dramatica Dictionary: G


Goal (Objective Storyline) • [Type] • the central objective of a story • A Goal is that which the Protagonist of a story hopes to achieve. As such, it need not be an object. The Goal might be a state of mind or enlightenment; a feeling or attitude, a degree or kind of knowledge, desire or ability. Although it is his chief concern, the Goal which a Protagonist seeks is not necessarily a good thing for him nor is it certainly attainable. Only through the course of the story does the value and accessibility of the Goal clarify. Dramatica points out the nature of Goal that is consistent with an Author’s dramatic choices, but it remains for the Author to illustrate that nature. For any given category of Goal, an unlimited number of examples might be created.

Good • [Plot Dynamic] • If at the end of the story the Main Character is no longer nagged by his personal problems, the judgment of the story can be said to be Good • The Main Character ultimately succeeds in resolving his personal problems • Even though the effort to achieve the story’s goal may result in success, this is not necessarily a good thing for the Main Character. In fact, success might be obtained in the objective story even though the Main Character fails to resolve his personal problems. Similarly, the effort to achieve the story goal might end in failure yet the Main Character ends up overcoming his personal problems. Regardless of whether the objective story ends in Success or Failure, if the Main Character succeeds in resolving his personal problems the outcome is deemed Good.

Grand Argument Story • [Dramatica Term] • A story that illustrates all four throughlines (Objective Story, Subjective Story, Main Character, and Obstacle Character) in their every appreciation so that no holes are left in either the passionate or dispassionate arguments of that story • A Grand Argument Story covers all the bases so that it cannot be disproven because, from the perspective that it creates, it is right. There are four views in a complete story which look at all the possible ways the story could be resolved from all the possible perspectives allowed; these are represented by the perspectives created by matching the four Domains with the four Classes–(the Objective Story, Subjective Story, Main Character, and Obstacle Character Domains matched up with the Classes of Universe, Physics, Psychology, and Mind to create the four perspectives of the particular story they are operating in). Every complete storyform explores each of these perspectives entirely so that their view of the story’s problem is consistent and that they arrive at the only solution that could possibly work, allowing the givens built into the story from the start. When this is done, a Grand Argument has been made and there is no disproving it on
its own terms. You may disagree that the things it takes for givens really are givens, but as an argument it has no holes.

Growth • [Character Dynamic] • The development of a Main Character toward something starting or stopping • The meaning of Growth is different for Change and Steadfast Main Characters. Change Characters grow by starting or stopping some quality they lack or possess. Steadfast Characters grow by redoubling their resolve while working toward or holding out for something to start or stop.

A Change Main Character who Starts adds a quality he previously did not possess. A Change Main Character who Stops eliminates a quality he originally possessed. At first it might seem as if the Start Character has a hole in his heart and the Stop Character has a chip on his shoulder, but just because a Character Changes doesn’t mean he should have. It may well be that if a Change Character Starts, he adds a bad quality that will undermine his efforts, or if he Changes by Stopping, he will lose a quality that was essential. For a Change Main Character, Start and Stop merely describes how his character is altered, not whether or not it was a positive growth.

A Steadfast Main Character sticks with his guns and tries to outlast the problems he encounters. If he is at odds with current troubles which he would like to stop, then he is a Steadfast Stop Character. On the other hand, if he is trying to hold out until something positive begins, he is a Steadfast Start Character. As with the Change Character, the Steadfast Character may or may not be correct in his appraisal that he can outlast or even should try to outlast his problems. It may well be that the problems can only be resolve if the Main Character Changes, in which case holding out for either Start or Stop is fruitless.

Of course, whenever something begins, it can be seen that something else has ended. The real question for an author is, how do you want your audience to see things, as half full or half empty?

Guardian • [Archetype] • An Archetypal Character representing the qualities of Conscience and Help • This Archetypal character acts as teacher/helper to everyone including the Protagonist. As Conscience, he provides the audience with the story’s assessment of what is good and bad in the world it describes. In his Dynamic Pair relationship, the Guardian counterbalances the efforts of the Contagonist to hinder progress and tempt the Protagonist from the proper path. Since, according to Archetypal convention, the Protagonist must ultimately face the Antagonist without assistance, both the Guardian and Contagonist must be dramatically nullified before the climax of the story so that they cannot interfere. This often occurs as a separate confrontation between them, just prior to the Protagonist meeting the Antagonist, or it may occur concurrently, but concludes before the actual climax of the story is reached.