Dramatica Theory (Annotated) Part 5 “The Free Form Author”

Excerpted from the book, Dramatica: A New Theory of Story

While some authors write specifically to make an argument to an audience, many others write because they want to follow their personal muse. Sometimes writing is a catharsis, or an exploration of self. Sometimes authoring is a sharing of experiences, fragmented images, or just of a point of view. Sometimes authoring is marking a path for an audience to follow, or perhaps just presenting emotional resources the audience can construct into its own vision. Interactive communications question the validity of a linear story itself, and justifiably so. There are many ways to communicate, and each has just as much value as the next depending upon how one wishes to affect one’s audience.


This is pretty straight forward.  The reason we put it in was that we had just (in the last section) belabored the notion that Dramatica Theory deals with Grand Argument Stories, which are the most complex and structurally demanding kind of stories.  And, we had gone way too far out of our way to be sure our readers understood that we weren’t bad-mouthing or seeking to diminish any other kinds of stories or storytelling.  (We were terribly afraid that by defining very specifically the nature of narrative itself, we’d be seen as saying that any other kinds of writing were somehow less, rather than what we meant, which was that other kinds of writing simply don’t use or need the full compliment of weapons in the narrative arsenal.  This doesn’t make them wrong or incomplete – it just means they don’t require all that to make their points and, in fact, trying to shove all that in would simply clutter the effort with too much narrative infrastructure.

But even after all those disclaimers, we still thought we might offend the most organic and intuitive writers who didn’t want to be shackled by structure at all – folks like Virginia Woolf who invented and popularized the “stream of consciousness”  style of writing, in which as long as one thought follows the next in a manner the reader can follow, that is all the structure you need.  And so, ever fearful of rejection before folks could read on and discover the wonder of Dramatica, we wrote the above section, specifically for those people.  We’re okay; you’re okay.

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