@ MiggsEye let me try to summarize my experience
I have read the theory in the book using quads for short stories but couldn’t really transfer or use it (at this time) for my writing. As other have mentioned it here in this forum I just kind of felt the benefit of dramatica for my work but couldn’t get it on paper. So I used the Nanowrimo and just tried something out.
I tried three different approaches..
1) Create a short story from an element quad
- Pick an idea
- Come up with a short synopsis, in your head or better with one or two sentences on paper
- Look for a corresponding element quad either using the structure chart or the software
- Set a word count goal, good number for me is between 800-1200 words
- Write and don’t stop before word counts turns greenish in Scrivener
If I didn’t had any idea on hand I just took out the chart and tried to get inspiration by going over the elements and their short descriptions.
Jack (Help) wants to assists everyone’s effort even if they don’t ask for it. Bill (Hinder) is driven to make things difficult for anyone he can.
I usually didn’t look at the Issue or Concern yet before I had the first draft written.
Some finished short-short-stories (only 100words and in German) are here: http://einhundertwoerter.tumblr.com/
2) Create a short story from an issue
- Pick idea
- Invest a bit more to write a short synopsis
- Look at the synopsis to identify the issue
- Find the corresponding issue on the structure chart
- Set word count and go..
Same here, I usually didn’t look further at the Issue or Concern before my first draft is written. Identifying problems, issues and concerns is much easier once the first draft is written.
From my experience stories I wrote using this approach usually sounded a bit “stilted/artificial”. I guess it’s why you focus too much being intelligent on the theme instead writing with your heart.
3) Create a short story using a Concern
Last but not least, the third option is a combination of the element and the issue approach. It is the most powerful one but was the most difficult in the beginning. The further I went up the ladder (element, issue, concern) the deeper I got into the dramatica terminology jungle. But anyhow I had a try:
- Pick idea
- Write synopsis, keep concern in mind
- Decide on issue and the counterpoint to illustrate
- Assign characters using archetypes
- and go..
All the three options are good exercises to learn Dramatica and create stories at the same time - without the need to understand all the dramatica theory in the beginning. In parallel I spent a lot of time diving into character systems (Enneagram as best one, MBTI as second option) to develop my characters by combining traits with Dramatica elements.
For some of the shorter stories (short more by word count then by genre) I have written I still refuse to start with the revision. Knowing Dramatica today a little bit better, I think the reason is: I just imagine how buggy this stories are and how much potential I haven’t used.
Nevertheless, Dramatica is absolutely great for inspiration, plotting, working on theme, developing characters and gaining productivity. I personally manage nowadays to write 2-3 books (each approx. 50k words) a year plus keeping a daily writing diary. Compared to the time before without dramatica its more than 300%.
The only struggle I still have is doing revisions as new and better ideas flocking in day by day which want to be analysed in and written with Dramatica the same day. Anyone can help here how to stop and start revising first drafts in-time?