Revenge/freedom plot

by Brooke

Question: My heroine wants to get revenge on some people who have mistreated her in the past, one of whom is a tyrannical parent figure whose influence she is trying to free herself from. Is this type of story better suited for Dramatica or the Hero's Journey? If the answer is Dramatica, what do you think the Story Goal is, and what would a possible Consequence be?

Answer: Certainly, Dramatica is far less limited than the Hero's Journey and has the ability to describe a much wider range of stories.

Of course, the Hero's Journey has been used to structure many revenge stories as well (Harry Potter, Star Wars IV-VI).

My feeling is that the Hero's Journey is best suited for revenge stories where the hero starts off not knowing about the past -- the villain who killed or defeated his father -- and must be recruited to go on the mission by an external force. Often, such a hero confronts the villain as much to save the lives of the friends he makes along the journey as to avenge his father's death.

That said, there's no reason why you have to limit yourself. Dramatica offers many insights you can profitably incorporate into a Hero's Journey story.

But if you feel the Hero's Journey does not quite fit the story you want to tell, stick
with Dramatica.

As for the Story Goal, you've already stated it: revenge. The Consequence in such cases usually has to do with what the villain will do if hero fails to get revenge. Sometimes, the villain has a particular plan that will be bad for everyone if they are not stopped (e.g. Emperor Palpatine will use the Death Star to enslave the galaxy). In other stories, the situation is already as bad as it can get (the villain is in power, making things bad for everyone) so the consequence is that things will stay the same.

If you are using the Dramatica software, please note that "revenge" can be interpreted in different ways. You have to think of the Story Goal as the primary concern of the majority of characters.

For instance, in the Harry Potter series, revenge falls under the label of Developing a Plan. Everyone (Harry, Dumbledore, Voldemort, the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione, etc.) is concerned with developing a plan that will determine how the prophesy will be fulfilled -- whether it will be Harry or Voldemort who survives. If Harry survives, he will have successfully avenged his parents.

In other revenge stories, getting revenge is all about Doing something. Or it may be about revealing the truth about the Past, discovering someone's secret (Learning), mastering one's desires or impulses, etc.

Best of luck.

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