Before I go on to give a long-winded account on what prompted me to want to write an eBook on Dramatica, I'd like to very politely ask: what sort of copyright practices or guidelines are there regarding usage of the theory to create content other than stories?
My idea is to write a book where the reader is taken through the journey of answering an extra terrestrial journalist: what is a story? At the end, I'll make it very clear these are not my ideas and direct the reader to official Dramatica web page.
Here's the beginning of about twenty pages:
TITLE: Answer an alien: what is a story?
No doubt story is one of the most mysterious phenomenon known to man – forget black holes, quantum mechanics, dark matter etc. What else in the known universe is so close to us, so easily recognized by us, with nearly no one having an answer as to what the thing we're experiencing actually is?
No one has an answer as to what story is?! C'mon! Plenty of answers dating back to Aristotle:
“A story is a chain of events that starts at one place and ends at another.”
“A story is an arc of change in a protagonist that has a beginning, middle, and an end.”
“Stories are about shared mythology, archetypes, the hero's journey.”
“Story is a particular kind of narrative that produces a particular kind of pleasure in the audience”
A+ for effort, but these familiar answers do very little, if anything, to say what a story is, just like saying a car moves when you press the gas pedal says nothing about what a car is; someone with absolutely no previous knowledge of the word “car” wouldn't have any clue what moves, how it moves, or (maybe most importantly) why it moves.
Yet, this is exactly the situation with story; all the prevailing answers all around the world state: “something does something for some reason” – none answer the question: what is a story?
Why this is the status quo should be a burning question on top of the head of anyone with the desire for an in depth answer to one of the most human questions one could possibly ask: why do we keep telling stories?
Part of the problem in trying to come up with an answer might be the sheer proximity of the issue at hand; trying to answer this question can feel like trying bite one's own teeth, or trying to see one's own eyes without the aid of a reflection. So, to distance us from the question, let's come up with a thought experiment:
Imagine an alien journalist from outer space landed on Earth and observed us going to the movies, watching NETFLIX, reading novels, and seeing plays. Tasked by his boss to cover this peculiar activity or get fired for poor performance in the past, he timidly walks up to you with a question: “what is this thing you experience in these activities?”
But before we go on, let's stick to a conviction: story is something we can discover. What this means is that, at no point will we throw our hands in the air and resort to anything that isn't strictly qualifiable – basically, everything that needs magic, mysticism, or vague statements to explain the issue at hand won't be taken seriously.
The very project or trying to come up with an explanation of story akin to science understandably raises some suspicions; but, in a way, the mere fact that such a conviction raises suspicions should be an indicator that there's something very wrong with our cultural conditioning regarding story. Why, in a world where we've figured out what kind of mechanics cause celestial bodies to move, what kind of code is behind the phenomenon of life, what kind of equations govern the world of the sub atomic particles etc. do we still believe story is tantamount to magic? How could it make sense to leave this “hole” of magical thinking in our increasingly accurate picture of the world and life in it?
The inescapable answer is that it doesn't make sense; story is discoverable – this is our conviction as we try to come up with an answer to our alien friend's question.