Story Judgment: Good or Bad?

Judgment determines whether or not the Main Character resolves his personal angst.

The rational argument of a story deals with practicality: does the kind of approach taken lead to Success or Failure in the endeavor. In contrast, the passionate argument of a story deals with fulfillment: does the Main Character find peace at the end of his journey?

If you want an upper story, you will want Success in the Objective Story and a Judgment of Good in the Objective Story.

If you want a tragedy, you will want the objective effort to fail, and the subjective journey to end badly as well.

Life is often made of trade-offs, compromises, sacrifices, and re-evaluations, and so should be stories. Choosing Success/Bad stories or Failure/Good stories opens the door to these alternatives.

If we choose a Failure/Good story, we can imagine a Main Character who realizes he had been fooled into trying to achieve an unworthy Goal and discovers his mistake in time, or a Main Character who discovers something more important to him personally in the course of trying to achieve the Goal. Each of these would be called a “personal triumph.”

A Success/Bad story might end with a Main Character achieving his dreams only to find they are meaningless, or Main Character who makes a sacrifice for the success of others but ends up bitter and vindictive. Each of these would be a “personal tragedy.”

Because Success and Failure are measurements of how well specific requirements have been met, they are by nature objective. In contrast, Good and Bad are subjective value Judgments based on an appreciation of the Main Character’s personal fulfillment.

From the Dramatica Theory Book