Questions About Dramatica’s Features

A teacher of writers recently asked:

  • Does Dramatica include a database structure for building character files? Too me it seems this would be an important story building concept that a computer could offer with great advantage; the ability to collect character names, traits, histories, personalities etc.
  • Are there other database structures for collections of titles, dialog, story starters, first line hooks, etc? 
  •  Is there an outline structure regarding acts or scenes and the order of events?
  •  From my experience in writing classes two important difficulties always seem to come to light. Point of view and order of events (plotting the story with Beginning, Middle, & End). Does Dramatica help with these trouble areas?

My reply:

In answer to your questions, though Dramatica is all about the Story Engine, it does have a data base of character names and information and a few pre-built stereotypes to start from.

While it doesn’t have story starters per se, it ships with about 70 example files of notable movies, books, teleplays and stage plays.  Each can be used for ideas, and there’s even a feature that lets you strip out all the identifiable storytelling and subject matter leaving nothing but the bare bones structure.  You can then use that to build your own story since structure is just the blueprint and the storytelling makes it your own.

There are also built-in scene by scene and chapter by chapter templates for a novel or a screenplay to give you some timeline guidance if you wish.

As for the “trouble points” you list, point of view and timeline issues are the center and purpose of Dramatica.  Each story point is defined not just by what the subject matter is, but how you want to position your readers or audience in relation to each issue.  And characters are all defined by their points of view as well.  Plus, Dramatica can actually predict what should happen in act two, based on other information you’ve provided about your story’s underlying message argument.