Choosing the Proper Classes for Your Story’s Domains

Which is the right Class for the Main Character Domain in your story? For the Objective Story Domain? For the Subjective Story Domain? For the Obstacle Character Domain? Assigning the appropriate Dramatica Classes to the Domains of your story is a tricky but important process.

There are four Domains or throughlines in a story: the Main Character, the Obstacle Character, the Subjective Story, and the Objective Story. These throughlines provide an audience with various points of view from which to explore the story. The four audience points of view can be seen as I, YOU, WE, and THEY as the audience’s point of view shifts from empathizing with the Main Character, to feeling the impact of the Obstacle Character, to experiencing the relationship between the Main and Obstacle Character, and then finally stepping back to see the big picture that has everyone in it (all of THEM). Each point of view describes an aspect of the story experience to which an audience is privy.

There are four Classes containing all the possible kinds of problems that can be felt in those throughlines (one Class to each throughline): Universe, Mind, Physics, and Psychology. These Classes suggest different areas to explore in the story. The areas can be seen as SITUATIONS, FIXED ATTITUDES or FIXATIONS, ACTIVITIES, and MANNERS OF THINKING or MANIPULATION.

In Dramatica, a story will contain all four areas to explore (Classes) and all four points of view (throughlines). Each Class will be explored from one of the throughlines. The combination of Class and throughline into a Domain is the broadest way to describe the meaning in a story. For example, exploring a Main Character in terms of his situation is quite different than exploring a Main Character in terms of his attitude, the activities he is involved in, or how he is being manipulated. Which is right for your story?

Pairing the appropriate Class with the proper throughline for your story can be difficult. An approach you may find useful is to pick a throughline, adopt the audience perspective that throughline provides, and from that point of view examine each of the four Classes to see which feels the best.

From the Dramatica Theory Book