Does Dramatica Edit Your Story?

A writer asks:

Does Dramatica software edit and give better solutions for certain parts of a story as a editor may do?

My reply:

Dramatica doesn’t read or process what you write in it. Rather, it asks a series of multiple-choice questions about your dramatic intent. As you answer them, Dramatica’s interactive Story Engine cross-references the dramatic impact of your answers to start building the underlying logistic structure of your story. The more choices you make, the more options are ruled out because of the combined influence of what you’ve already chosen. Eventually, you answer enough questions for Dramatica to go ahead and finish the rest of the structure for you.

This structure is called a Storyform, and it is essentially a map of all your story points and how they relate together in your story. But, this is just the basic bare-bones structural points – it doesn’t include your subject matter or any of your storytelling style. For example, every story has a goal. As a result of your answers, Dramatica may determine that the goal in your story is about Obtaining something. For another story you might develop, the goal might turn out to be Becoming a different kind of person. Clearly those are two different kinds of goals, and each one would be the dramatically sound goal for each particular story.

But, if your goal were Obtaining, Dramatica won’t tell you what is to be obtained. Or, if you have a goal of Becoming, it won’t tell you what kind of person the character is trying to become. That part is up to you. But if you know your goal is Obtaining and NOT becoming, then you understand that underlying structural story point and then need to fill it in with your own subject matter.

You can answer the questions about something you’ve already written, or something you are going to write. Either way, Dramatica will provide that kind of help for over eighty different story points from the Main Character’s personal problem to the overall concern that everyone is worried about in the story at large. Armed with this information, you have a sound dramatic framework from which to write.

Melanie Anne Phillips

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