Dramatica Dictionary: L

Leap of Faith • Just prior to a story’s climax, a conscious choice by the Main Character to either Change or remain Steadfast with no way of knowing for sure which will best lead him to his goal or resolve his personal problem • No Main Character can be sure that he will succeed until the story has completely unfolded. Up until that moment, there is always the opportunity to change one’s approach or one’s attitude. For example, a Main Character may determine that what he thought was the true source of the problem really is not. Or he may reconsider his motivation to try and resolve it; whether he should give up or try harder. Again, there is no way for him to tell with certainty which path will lead to success. Nevertheless, when these scenarios close in on a single moment in the story, the moment of truth, where the Main Character has their last opportunity to remain steadfast in their approach and attitude or to change either or both, there will be a Leap of Faith. After that, all that remains is to see it to its conclusion, good or bad. That moment of truth is called the Leap of Faith because the Main Character must choose a course and then commit himself to it, stepping into the unknown with blind faith in a favorable outcome or resignation to an ostensibly poor one.

Learning • [Type] dyn.pr. Understanding<–>Learning • gathering information or experience • Learning describes the process of acquiring knowledge. It is not the knowledge itself. When a portion of a story focuses on learning, it is the gathering of an education that is of concern, not the education that ultimately has been gathered. Learning need not be an academic endeavor. One might learn to express one’s feelings or learn about love. Learning does not even require new information as sometimes one learns simply by looking through old information from a different perspective or with a new approach. It is not important if one is learning to arrive at a particular understanding or just to gather data. As long as the focus is on the process of gaining information, Learning is the operative word. • syn. cultivating experience, acquiring information, collecting data, gathering knowledge

Level • [Structural Term] • One of the vertical strata of the Dramatica structural chart. The relationship between levels (Elements, Variations, Types and Domains) of dramatic units is similar to turning up the power on a microscope: each has a different resolution with which to examine the story’s problem. Domains take the broadest viewand have the greatest structural impact on Genre. Types are more detailed and most directly affect the Plot. Variations are even more refined, most intensely inflluencing Theme, and Elements provide the greatest detail available in a story, concentrating on the qualities or traits of Characters.

Limit • [Plot Dynamic] • The constraint of time or options that, by running out, force the story to a climax • The Limit is what forces the story to a close. One of the functions of a story is to give the audience the value of experiences it has not had itself by living through the Main Character. As such, the Main Character in the story Changes or Remains Steadfast and hopes for the best, and we learn from his accomplishments or disappointments. Yet, even a Main Character would not jump into the void and commit to a course of action or decision unless forced into it. To force the Main Character to decide, the story provides all the necessary information to make an educated guess while progressively closing in on the Main Character until he has no alternative but to choose. This closing in can be accomplished in either of two ways: either running out of places to look for the solution or running out of time to work one out. Running out of options is accomplished by an Optionlock; a deadline is accomplished by a Timelock. Both of these means of limiting the story and forcing the Main Character to decide are felt from early on in the story and get stronger until the climax. Optionlocks need not be claustrophobic so much as they only provide limited pieces with which to solve the problem. Timelocks need not be hurried so much as limiting the interval during which something can happen. Once an established Limit is reached, however, the story must end and assessments be made: is the Outcome Success or Failure? is the Judgment Good or Bad? is the Main Character Resolve Change or Steadfast? etc.

Logic • [Element] dyn.pr. Feeling<–>Logic • a rational sense of how things are related • Logic is the mental process of choosing the most efficient course or explanation based on reason. The Logic characteristic exemplifies the theory behind “Occam’s Razor,” that the simplest explanation is the correct explanation. Therefore, the Logic characteristic is very efficient but has no understanding or tolerance that people do not live by reason alone. As a result, the character with the Logic characteristic often ignores how other’s “unreasonable” feelings may cause a very real backlash to his approach. • syn. linear reasoning, rationality, structural sensibility, syllogistics