Change & Steadfast / Start & Stop

The following  excerpt is taken from

The Dramatica Class Transcripts

Dramatica: Talking about the Main character, last week we asked two important questions… Does the Main Character change or remain steadfast, by the end of the story. In a “leap of faith” story, the Main Character will have to make a conscious choice to change, like Scrooge does, or to remain steadfast like Dr. Richard Kimble or Job, in the Bible. In a non-leap of faith story, the character will find themselves at the end of the story, in a situation similar to one at the beginning, and the audience will be able to see by their response, if they have been changed by their experiences or not.

There is no big choice by the Main Character in this kind of story, but the audience still gets to see the results of the drama on the character. The second question we asked was…Does the Main Character have to grow by starting something or stopping something. We have all seen stories in which the Main Character is the cause of the problem, and if they would just stop, things would be okay.

We have also seen stories in which the Main Character holds the solution, and if they would just start using it, everything would be okay. This is for a character that changes. For a steadfast character, its a bit different. Since the audience is not focusing on the character to change, they look at the plot situation instead. For the steadfast character, they must grow in their resolve to hold out or work for something to start or something to stop. Either way, change or steadfast, the character must grow.

So the notion that a character must change to grow is not accurate, as some characters must grow in their resolve. Finally, last week, we talked about the limit that draws a story to a close. Why does it end? Because the characters either run out of time, or run out of options. 48 hours is obviously a time lock. Remains of the Day is an option lock. Any questions on this before we jump into some new material? No?

Okay…Let’s put these questions into perspective…Dramatica theory has MANY questions from which to approach a story. But out of all of them, there are 12 that get right to the heart of a drama (or comedy). We call them (rather pretentiously) the 12 Essential Questions! You have just heard 3 of them. In fact, they break into three groups of four questions. The first group pertains to the Main Character. The second group to the plot. And the third group to the theme. Genre is the relationship created between character, plot and theme.

The four Main character questions are: Resolve: change or steadfast? Direction of growth: start or stop. Approach: Do-er or Be-er? Mental Sex: Male or Female (more on this later!) The four plot questions are: Work: action or decision? Limit: timelock or optionlock? Outcome: Success or Failure? Judgment: Good or Bad? The four Theme Questions are more structurally based, and we’ll deal with them when we get therein a later class… Any questions before we finish up the remaining two character questions we need to discuss? Well, either you’re all logging and in the other room, or I’m doing a heck of a job explaining it!

Dan Steele : I’m here.

Dramatica : Ah, that’s sweet!

Pdmedia : Me, too

DC Finley : Woof.

RDCvr : Me, too.

Dramatica : By the way, I’m Melanie Anne Phillips, the gal from the theory book!

William S1 : Nice to meet you. It just seems most of this is in the manual.

Dramatica : Yes, most of this is in the book, just explained more conversationally. That’s why I’m MORE than happy to answer questions!

Dan Steele : What theory book, by the way? The manual for Dramatica? Or do you explain the theory in a separate book?

Dramatica : Dan, there is a theory book that comes along with the software, and we will also be marketing it by itself soon.

Dan Steele : Okay.