Since discovering Dramatica I have been a bit sad that there aren't more analyses of novels out there. I understand why (takes a lot more time to read a novel, and there's probably a lot more "noise" making it harder to see the storyform sometimes, and/or multiple storyforms). But I enjoy books a lot more than films so I've been trying to jot down Dramatica thoughts from the books I've been reading. Not to say I don't love movies, in fact Dramatica has re-kindled my enjoyment of them, but books are the best!
Anyway, here are some rough ideas I had about Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel, Dune (1965), which I just finished re-reading.
As I started analyzing it was going well, but then fell into the trap of looking at the Problem level too soon (hard to avoid that in the software). That's not a good idea because you start seeing all sorts of neat concepts at the Problem/Element and Issue/Variation levels that sound like they'd be so cool, like
Speculation, in a novel that involves prescience as a central concept. But I think it's a bad idea to start at the bottom like that (until maybe you've got decades of Dramatica experience under your belt and can just sense an IC Problem of
Determination like @jhull did with Zootopia.)
So to do this PROPERLY I would need to follow the proper procedure of the Domains first, then Concerns, then Issues, then Problem quad, and only look at next level when needed. And of course, the 8 story dynamics / essential questions.
- Overall Story is "destroying enemies to gain control of Dune and the Spice, and thereby the Imperial throne"
- Main Character is "Paul Atreides, burdened with being the Kwisatz Haderach and the Fremen Messiah, and with the future jihad that he cannot escape"
- Influence Character is "Jessica of the Bene Gesserit, Duke Leto's concubine and mother to Paul"
- Relationship Story is "Mother and Son: training in the weird Bene Gesserit ways; manipulated by the Bene Gesserit designs"
I have no doubt that Paul is in
Situation because I have never known any story that explores all 4 Types (Present, Past, Progress, Future) so blatantly. As the Kwisatz Haderach he can see the many possible Futures, which become part of his Past, but they keep Changing as they reach a nexus in the Present. The term prescient memory (where he accesses Past memories of the Future in the Present, but sometimes the Present has Changed or Progressed slightly from those Future memories) is used over and over again, here is one quote:
He joined her in the ornithopter, still wrestling with the thought that this
was blind ground, unseen in any prescient vision. And he realized with an abrupt
sense of shock that he had been giving more and more reliance to prescient
memory and it had weakened him for this particular emergency.
So anyway, it seems like his biggest concern is avoiding this terrible future (a jihad that consumes the universe, with Paul as its figurehead), so at first glance I would guess the MC Concern is
The Future. But I wouldn't rule out
Progress either -- he wants to change the future, or at least, control which of the infinite possible future paths the present goes down.
Now if the Overall Story is in
Activity like I would guess, then
Obtaining works pretty well: obtaining control over the spice, achieving freedom from Harkonnen/Imperial oppression, obtaining revenge, losing Caladan, losing access to the spice, achieving the ultimate human in the Kwisatz Haderach and obtaining control over him, etc. -- all of these are terribly important.
For the IC, I think
Innermost Desires fits Jessica really well too; she impacts others' fears through her witchy Bene Gesserits ways and she is often consumed by desperate fears for her mate, Duke Leto, and her son Paul (and later, daughter Alia). And she is also filled with longing for their lost water-rich home of Caladan.
This would put the Relationship Story in
Changing One's Nature and I think that also fits, since their mother-son relationship changes drastically once Paul utterly surpasses her with his abilities as the Kwizatz Haderach, and the strangeness of that change in their relationship causes problems between them.
Still, I wouldn't mind others' thoughts on this, if anyone has read the book and remembers it enough. There is a heck of a lot of scheming and plotting driving the overall story too, so I guess it could be
Manipulation... the phrases "plans within plans within plans" and "tricks within tricks within tricks" come up several times. (But if I'm right about Jessica as IC,
Manipulation fits a lot better for the RS than
Next up ... story dynamics questions.