The Dramatica Theory
By Melanie Anne Phillips
The Story Mind
When I wrote the first edition of “Dramatica: A New Theory of Story” in 1991, it was the intent of Chris Huntley and myself to introduce our model of story structure in text book format, so as to most accurately document our work.
With Chris’ editorial skills guiding my prose, and the inclusion of his charts and illustrations, we achieved our purpose: a dry, dense, technical manual fit for a college-level course in narrative theory. Problem is, our approach was so academic in nature that it was a stunningly horrid read for the writing community to whom it was ostensibly targeted.
Through subsequent editions we sought to soften this stark presentation with real-world examples of novels, movies and stage plays and, with the inclusion of Chris’ own brilliant chapter on propaganda, the final edition elevated its overall manner from impenetrable to stilted.
Which brings us to the reason for this book. While it is true that one could not improve on the specificity of the original, it is equally true that there are far more accessible ways to convey the same information.
And so, I offer you “The Dramatica Theory: A Conversation on Story Structure.”