Encoding Plot

Encoding Static Plot Appreciations is very simple. One need only figure out what it is. How and when it is going to actually show up in the story is a completely different issue and is part of Storyweaving.

The way to approach the encoding of Static Plot Appreciations is more or less the same for all of them. As an example, let us consider something fairly conventional: a Goal of Obtaining. Obtaining what? That is what encoding determines. The Goal might be to Obtain the stolen diamonds, a diploma, or someone’s love. In each case, Obtaining has been effectively encoded. Which one you might choose is dependent only upon your personal muse.

Interestingly, there are many ways to stretch an appreciation to fit preconceived story ideas. Suppose that we want to tell a story about a woman who wants to be President. It might be he wants to be elected to the office. That would encode a Goal of Obtaining. Or, he might want to have people believe he was the President on a foreign trip. That would be a Goal of Being. He might already hold the office but feel that he is not authoritative enough and wants to Become presidential. That would encode a Goal of Becoming.

Clearly, there are ways to bend a story concept to fit almost any appreciation. And, in fact, that is the purpose of encoding – to create a symbol that represents an appreciation’s particular bend. So, going around the remaining Types, we might also have a Goal about discovering a president’s Past, how much legislative Progress a president is able to make, the Future of the presidency, whether the president is able to address Present concerns, to Understand the president’s vision, Doing what is necessary regardless of chances for reelection, Learning the President’s hidden agenda, Conceptualizing a new order, Conceiving a new kind of political leverage, trying to evoke the Memory of a past president’s greatness, responding with Preconscious reflexes should the president be attacked, trying to curb a president’s subconscious drives until after the election, making the president Conscious of a problem only he can solve.

Each of the above encodings deals with the presidency, but in a completely different way. This allows an author to stick with the subject matter that interested him in the first place, yet still make sure the Story Goal is accurately encoded. And why even bother? Because the wrong perspective creates the wrong meaning. Anything that is not properly encoded will work against the dramatics of your story, rather than with them, and your story’s overall message and experience will be weakened.

From the Dramatica Theory Book