Dramatica....I still don't see how great it is,


(LOS ANGELES)

Question: I've read all the comments on how great Dramatica software is a thing that makes you work very hard, but it reminds you to add interest in character stories as well with help I guess in organizing the novel's layers to now a perfect ending.

But I still don't understand by reading its reviews on what it looks like? Does it have tabs that you put all your info in some part of your book, like a character tab? Then you load up your whole story on its software and then you click, mix it up, and the end results are a perfectly constructed work that you could never do by just writing the normal 4 point method. I shall not like this software until I see examples of how it works as with what it does that makes it a "Must Have," and any other writing method is now dross...I know I ask a lot of questions, but I care very much for my book, and if it's damaged in anyway by not using Dramatica, then I have failed in taking good care of my people--my characters--as in exhausting myself in reading all about it, however I still don't understand the way it looks and why so great when you put all your input in...If you could explain this to me would be awesome, however I'm redundant and hope I'm not exhausting your free gift of advice, and will understand if I'm asking too much, thank you, thank you...many people I've told about you are not convinced that you are doing all of this for free, and I never want you to burn out whenever you see me coming, all I can say is you are my first teacher, for I've tried so many sites, and none do what you do! Again, thank you,

Answer: Dramatica is a tool. It's not designed to replace what a writer does with his imagination and skill with words. What it does is support your writing by helping you create a dramatically sound structure.

The software invites you to answer questions and make choices about your story that affect the dramatic structure. There are over 50 story elements used in dramatica, all interrelated. Twelve of this are the key variables that work together (or not) according to a mathematical formula.

As you make choices about your story (the thematic issues, what type of story goal, whether your main character is a do-er or a be-er, whether the outcome is success or failure, etc.) the software narrows down the list of possible story forms from over 32,000 until you reach the one story form that fits with all your choices.

If you can only think of a few choices, the program can also randomly generate a variety of story forms you can choose from.

Once that story form has been reached, based on the choices you've made, the software gives you information about how to design all the other elements to make them fit within that story form.

In addition, the software helps you map out character motivations/functions, make detailed notes on your story, plot out the order of events, etc. It gives you a lot of ways to look at your story, which helps you make sure your story is balanced and complete.

It is not, however, a word processor. You don't actually load your story into dramatica, although you can export your work as an outline into Movie Magic Screenwriter (another software package by the same company) which does include a word processor.

The downside: the risk of paralysis by analysis. You can get so caught up in trying to make your story perfect, according to the theory, that you stop writing. That's why I think it's best to take dramatica in small doses, so it inspires you instead.

Also, if you're the type of writer who just wants to sit down and write without doing a lot of planning, then you should just do that. You can use dramatica after you've finished a draft as a way of analyzing your story to see if there are elements you can improve in the second draft.

Do you "need" dramatica? Of course not. It's a tool. Traditionally, most writers learned by trial and error how to make a great story. In a sense, they made their own tools, and there are almost as many tools as there are writers. Dramatica is a very sophisticated tool that helps with one aspect of writing. It can save you a lot of time spent in trial and error, but it's not the be-all, end-all.

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