Temptation • [Element] • dyn.pr. Conscience<–>Temptation • the urge to embrace immediate benefits despite possible consequences • Temptation is the draw to belief that the negative consequences of an action are imaginary or can be avoided. Often this is just a pipe dream, and when one gives into Temptation one must pay a price. However, just as often one can avoid negative consequence and indulge one’s desires. It is our Faith and Disbelief in consequences that defines the struggle between Conscience and Temptation. (“Psssst… We’ve got this new Dramatica program that will solve all your story problems but it’s going to cost you some bucks…”) • syn. indulge, embracing immediate benefits, intemperance, immoderation
Tendency • [Overview Appreciation] • the degree to which the Main Character feels compelled to embrace the quest • Not all Main Characters are well suited to solve the problem in their story. They may possess the crucial element essential to the solution yet not possess experience in using the tools needed to bring it into play. Like most of us, Main Characters have a preference for how to go about solving problems. Some prefer to immediately take action. We call these characters Do-ers. Others prefer to deliberate first to determine if the problem might go away by itself or perhaps they can adapt to it. We call these characters Be-ers. When a Do-er finds himself in a story driven by Action he is quite at home. Similarly, when a Be-er finds himself in a Decision driven story, he is quite content. Both of these combination lead to Main Characters who are more than Willing to accept the quest for a solution to the story’s problem. They are comfortable with the tools they will be required to use. But if a Do-er is placed in a Decision story or a Be-er is drawn into an Action story, the Main Character will be very Unwilling to participate in the quest at all for the tools he must use are not in his area of experience. Willing Main Characters force the plot forward. Unwilling Main Characters are dragged along by circumstances beyond their control.
Test • [Element] • dyn.pr. Trust<–>Test • a trial to determine something’s validity • To test is to try out a supposition to determine if it is correct. “Run it up the flagpole and see if people salute it” is the concept here. Any explanation that makes sense has the potential to be correct or incorrect once it is actually tried in “the real world.” The Test characteristic will always want to try things out before using it. This can weed out faulty items before they break down when one relies on them. However, it can also waste time when it is of the essence or waste one of the three wishes just to see if it works. • syn. trial of validity, examination, audit, inspection, scrutinization
Theme • [Dramatica term] • an argument about the relative worth of different value standards as they are compared in all appropriate contexts • Theme is developed by creating varying perspectives within a story on an issue which is central to the story. Presenting these perspectives in such a way that the most appropriate one, according to the author, moves to the forefront conveys theme to an audience. Theme occurs in both progressive and static elements of a story’s structure and is a consideration in all four stages of communication (Storyforming, Storyencoding, Storyweaving, and Reception).
Theory • [Element] • dyn.pr. Hunch<–>Theory • an unbroken chain of relationships leading from a premise to a conclusion • A Theory is an unbroken web of relationships that describes a mechanism. To be a theory, the actual mechanism of each relationship in the Theory must be known as well. Unless it is understood how point A gets to point B, it might just be coincidental. For example, if two completely different and separate mechanisms are working in the same area, it may appear that one is causing a certain effect when it is really the other. Developing Theories gives the character representing Theory the ability to understand and predict how things work and fit together. The drawback is that he will not accept an obvious relationship unless all its steps can be discovered. As a result, many “common sense” approaches and understandings are not used, despite their proven value. • syn. structured explanation, concrete hypothesis, systematized descriptive knowledge, description of linear connections
Thought • [Element] • dyn.pr. Knowledge<–>Thought • the process of consideration • When a character represents Thought, he illustrates the process of consideration. Unlike the logic element that is only concerned with arriving at a conclusion via reason, Thought deliberates both logical and emotional aspects of a problem, not particularly to decide an issue so much as to examine it from all perspectives. This has the advantage of illuminating every side of an issue, but has the potential disadvantage of Thought becoming an endless loop where consideration runs round in circles, chasing its mental tail and never coming to rest in a decision. • syn. the process of consideration, thinking, contemplation, mental attention, running over in your mind
Thought • [Variation] • dyn.pr. Knowledge<–>Thought • the process of consideration • Thought is not always directed. Often it wanders, experiential and without conscious purpose. Thought might be about a topic or simple random musings or creative daydreaming or inspiration. At its most essential level, Thought is simply the mental force of change that rearranges the inertia of knowledge. • syn. consideration, contemplation, ponderence, musing, reflection
Threat • [Variation] • dyn.pr. Security<–>Threat • an evaluation of potential negative forces • Threats are indicators or warnings that danger lurks. Avoiding real danger can be enhanced by acting at the first sign of a Threat. However, reading the indicators is a subjective endeavor. One’s biases and experiences may lead to inaccurate assessments of Threats. They may be real or imagined. When a character avoids actions or behaviors because he perceives a Threat that is truly imaginary, he might stunt his own progress toward his purpose based on an unreal fear. • syn. perceived danger, indication of peril, perceived vulnerability, warning, detected hazard
Throughline • [Dramatica Term] • A sequence of story points within a single perspective• The Objective Story, Subjective Story, Main Character, and Obstacle Character Domains each represent a different perspective on a story’s problems. Each own distinct sequence of story points which must be consistent both within the perspective and also in conjunction with the other perspectives in the story as a whole.
Timelock versus Optionlock • The two kinds of limits that can force a story to its climax , running out of time or running out of options • Stories would go on forever unless they were limited in some way, forcing an end to action and/or decision. One way to bring a story to a conclusion is with a timelock which limits how long the characters have to solve the problem. The limit might be a bomb set to go off, the timing mechanism on a safe, or the poison that takes effect in 24 hours- anything that has a specific deadline and needs to be prevented or achieved. The other way to force a story to end is with a optionlock which limits how many things the characters can try to solve the problem — trapped aboard a spaceship with a vicious creature with no one coming to the rescue, trying to escape from Alcatraz, struggling to save a relationship — anything that has a specific scope and needs to be resolved. So in short, in a timelock the characters run out of time, in a optionlock the run out of options. As a side note, timelocks and optionlocks can co-exist but only one can be the real limit that forces the climax.
Timelock • [Plot Dynamic] • the story climax is brought about by a time limit • If not for the story being forced to a climax, it might continue forever. When a story is brought to a conclusion because the characters run out of time, it is said to contain a Timelock. As an analogy, a story might be thought of as the effort to find the solution to the story’s problem which is hidden in one of the rooms of a mansion. Each room contains a clue to the actual location of the solution. The Main Character is told he may search as many rooms as he likes in five minutes. At the end of five minutes he is given a choice. Based on the clues he has already found, he must decide if the solution is in one of the rooms he already searched or in one of the rooms he has not yet searched. Either choice may lead to success or failure, but because running out of time forced the choice it is a Timelock story. The choice represents the Timelock which brings the story to a close and forces such appreciations as Main Character Resolve (Change or Steadfast), Outcome (Success or Failure), and Judgment (Good or Bad).
Trust • [Element] • dyn.pr. Test<–>Trust • acceptance without proof • To Trust is to accept without trial. Whether a concept, relationship, person, or mechanism, it will be accepted by the character possessing the Trust characteristic without supportive evidence. This helps him to get on with the job at hand in the most efficient manner, but opens him up to disastrous surprises when an assumption is proven incorrect at a critical moment. • syn. untried acceptance, untested belief in, accept implicitly, assumed dependability, unquestioned reliance on
Truth • [Variation] • dyn.pr. Falsehood<–>Truth • that which is actually correct • Truth is more than facts and accuracy. Truth is meaning. Whenever someone is quoted out of context, what is reported may be factual and may be accurate but it is not Truthful. Meaning depends upon intent and purpose. That is the beauty of the legal system — that even if someone is caught red-handed, the jury can acquit because it feels there were mitigating circumstances. The problem with Truth is that it is an interpretation and therefore open to debate. One person’s Truth is another’s Falsehood. • syn. honesty, correct information, correct notion, verity
Type • [Structural Term] • The 16 terms which are grouped directly beneath the Classes which most strongly affect Plot • There are 16 Types in the Dramatica structure, four to each Class. The Classes each represent a different point of view and the Types in that Class represent a more refined exploration of that point of view. In a sense, Types describe the basic categories of what can be seen from a given point of view. Just as Domain level appreciations create genre-like brush strokes in the story structure, Type level appreciations determine the nature of the plot.