Considering starting a Dramatica blog/podcast/video series, any advice?

Hey all,

I recently finished a draft of my Big Project and I’ve run out of other people’s Dramatica-themed content to consume, so I thought, why not make my own? I’m certainly no expert, but I DO love exploring story theory, and I’ve been itching to start sharing those explorations with other people.

I was originally thinking of making a video series for youtube, b/c there doesn’t seem to be much Dramatica-related content on there not made by either Melanie or Jim. Then I considered doing a podcast (easier to create), but I definitely don’t want to move in on Jim’s territory! I could start a blog, but honestly, I like talking more than I like writing, so . . . .

As for content, I’m torn between one of two things.

  1. Creating an in-depth analysis of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, with a focus on exploring basic concepts of Dramatica story structure with examples from a public-domain masterwork.

  2. Building a story from scratch using Dramatica. This would be an in depth examination of how I use DSE to structure a YA novel, with a focus on trying to introduce folks to basic concepts of story theory along the way. I would cover everything from story conception to an outline based of the PSR (and perhaps beyond, if people were interested).

Anyway, I would really appreciate feedback as to what, if any of this, would appeal to folks, especially people who are new to Dramatica. It bugs me that so many writers are missing out on the kind of depth Dramatica theory can provide to their stories, and I hope I could provide another resource for people trying to get their toe in the door.


Love it. I would definitely be more interested in your second option. I’ve considered blogging about my journey through Dramatica, too. But not being an expert I don’t want to steer people wrong and I’m just not sure that I have anything to say that anyone would care to hear that’s not already covered better somewhere else. But I love the idea of more Dramatica content on the web. Please give it a go.


Wow! Awesome!

For content, #2 please! Although more in-depth prose fiction analyses would be GREAT, at least we do have some, and we have a vast amount of story analysis on films. Meanwhile, there is very little covering how to write a book using Dramatica from experiential point of view. In some ways we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. (Look how much attention @JBarker 's Far End of the Black script creation thread got.)

Plus, #2 would sort of accomplish the same thing as #1, as by the end you’d have a detailed analysis of the novel–and from the Author’s point of view.

I’ve been trying to accomplish something similar to your #2 with my own blog, but as it’s my first novel I’m writing (along with day job and kids to take up my time too), I’m needing to put 95% of my available time & effort into the novel, leaving only 5% for the blog. Still, I’ve been making a lot of notes along the way from Dramatica perspective, so when I have more time I should be able to add a lot of cool content.

That said, I think everyone’s writing process and way of using Dramatica will differ, so I think there’s PILES more room for people providing experience-based Dramatica content.

As for form, I certainly can’t speak for Jim but I’d bet he would love the company of another podcast. Do what you feel you would enjoy, what would make you stick with it, as it will still be work!


Hello Audz:

I like both of your ideas. Both are valid and needed.

Dramatica analyses tend to be focused on film mostly, due to Dramatica’s origins in that field. I’d love to see an in depth analysis of a novel and see how Dramatica theory works in that medium.

While there’s a plethora of Dramatica analyses now currently available online, there is comparatively little information on creating with Dramatica. Armando’s book is wonderful showing his particular creative process, but focused mostly on screenplay. @JBarker has shared his process of developing a story into a screenplay as well on these boards. Both again are screenplays. I try, and struggle, in applying Dramatica theory to fiction — short stories and novels, mainly — whenever I can. I’d love to see how others use Dramatica in novels and short stories. And a complete process through these mediums would be a treat to see.


I’m all for #2 please. Do eet!

1 Like

I would prefer #2, but would be happy with #1 as well.
I wanted to do something like #2 in the future, too. The more the merrier, I’d say.


.#2 sounds really good for me.

I’ve always wondered how others use Dramatica for their craft.

1 Like

Seeing others reactions here I’ll toss my hat over to the #2 side as well. Looking forward to seeing your blog or pod or video cast. Given we are all writers here, I see a blog as necessary aspect of what your are doing, even of you choose to pod or video cast, because you’ll need a spot to post whatever you’ve written (storyform outlines, story appreciation descriptions, and your prose).

Judging by the reaction, over just a few hours here, you’ll have an audience of at least 6 other interested folk. That’s a start!

1 Like

Oh yes to #2 please!

I agree with everyone here that there’s just not enough information on story creation using dramatica, especially in novel/ short story format.

While a podcast is good, an accompanying visual aid would also be helpful…perhaps in the body of the blog. When I say visual aid, perhaps just a list of dramatica terms you are using in that particular podcast. The reason I suggest that is due to my own experience of having listened to podcasts about Dramatica, I often pause mentally to translate the term being used before continuing. Doing that 3 or 5 times in the course of a single podcast, I eventually lose track of what is being said and the podcast is rendered useless to me. So, having a relevant terms reference list would be really helpful.

Finally, about trampling on anyone’s turf…I have a few thoughts on that that might help you overcome any trepidation and instead get you to trample away!

  • The first thing is that the theory (source material) is meant to be applied.
  • The second thing is that one or two methods of instruction will never be able to communicate fully to everyone.
  • The third thing is that different people learn in different manners, which is why different instructors are very necessary. For example, if there’s only one news outlet delivering information, the world would only ever need one newsite. That’s just not the case. We have thousands of newsites all writing about the same or similar source material because people have different perspectives and different ways of grasping information.

Hope that helps.

I really look forward to seeing whatever you decide to do!


Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback! I guess option 2 it is!

With that said, I’m off to draw up some podcast episode scripts. I’ll try and keep folks posted in the coming weeks as to when I’ll be able to get this thing off the ground.

And P.S. if anyone has any podcast name suggestions, I’d definitely welcome those too! Otherwise it’ll probably just be “Story Structure with Audrey,” which might be kinda lame.


…just kidding…
…sort of.

1 Like

FYI… The last podcast episode of Narrative First entitled “Story Structure Senioritis” is pretty awesome. Perhaps Jim, like you (Audz) and us here on this thread, is sensing everyone chomping at the bit about using Dramatica not only for an analysis tool but as an expansive and powerful creation tool. I seem to just eat up anyone sharing their process of how they create with Dramatica. So far the models I’ve encountered on creation are:

  • The tuturials that Chris Huntley narrated as the start-up user videos for Dramatica Story Expert.

  • The annual Storyweaving Dramatica User’s Group events. That fact that this is done only once a year while they have 11 monthly (wonderful) analyses a year illustrates how Dramatica has been more favored as an analysis tool rather than as a creation tool.

  • Armando’s creative process outlined in the book “Dramatica for Screenwriters

  • @JBarker’s process for a screenplay outlined here.

  • @jhull’s process outlined in this class, video available here:

  • @jhull’s processes described throughout his Narrative First blog and podcasts.

  • @jhull’s process that he started in this week’s Narrative First episode entitled “Story Structure Senioritits” (that I noted above) in which he begins demonstrating taking a story from a raw storyform (with gists) and giving it shape. I hope he continues this series to a point where we can see the path from story form to more finished work. (Jim is clearly establishing himself as an expert and leader in the creative aspects of Dramatica. It’s good to see.)

To me, using Dramatica as a creation tool is the most underutilized and lesser understood aspect of it. Bravo to those continuing to forage the possibilities of Dramatica as a creation tool.


@MiggsEye, awesome post.

One thing I’d like to add is that what we’re missing right now is examples of going beyond the outline stage with Dramatica, into the actual writing of a novel. (There’s not that much for screenplays either, but Armando’s book has some as does @Jbarker’s thread.)

Stuff like, you think you have your storyform down pat, but then halfway through your first draft you begin to doubt it. What should you do?

Or, your storyform is working great and seems more accurate the more of your first draft you get. So you want to use all that storyform goodness to help you along… except, buried in the heads and situation of your characters, you’re not really sure where you are in the story – like which Act/Signpost you’re in. Was that thing that just happened an Act Turn? Or is the thing coming up? It’s hard to use the very valuable Signposts and PSR when you don’t know where you are. Even if you outlined fairly extensively, a lot of things can change from your outline, making your “location” uncertain.

Then there’s the question of, if you give a character enough POV time in your novel, and personal-seeming issues, isn’t it perhaps likely that your subconscious will create a substory for that character (with them as MC)? How can you tease out whether that’s true and if it is, what the storyform is and how it interacts with the main one? Or is it perhaps better just to leave it alone, let your subconscious handle it?

Those are just a few examples. I could probably come up with a list of a hundred things that I wonder about all the time! Most if it in the intersection between Dramatica and the writing process, which will vary among writers.

1 Like

Greg, I think you should start your blog. You could always put a disclaimer on the “about this blog” page that mentions you’re still learning. But the truth is, we all are – even Jim and Chris.

And dude, I’d definitely read everything you blogged about even if you thought it was already covered, it’s cool to see others’ perspectives!


Happy to see that post from several years ago is so helpful to other people. I originally did it on G+ and copied it over, but at the time, there really wasn’t anything else out there and I read Armando’s book repeatedly. I think the best suggestion I could give is to jump in and don’t worry about failing; doing so will result in getting nothing done and you’re much more likely to find it a more rewarding experience with others (e.g. readers) going along for the ride.

I haven’t written anything on my blog since before my dog passed away earlier this year, but I’m always amazed to see how many referrals I get from college websites and several high schools where the articles are apparently part of a curriculum (this one always has me smiling, if you go down to during and after viewing/an expert’s opinion.) I’ve been in the midst of something completely different (starting a biz), but the grand plan is for that to allow me more time down the road to focus on writing. I just needed a break with everything that’s happened this year (it’s been a nightmare.)

My advice as a potential reader/viewer to anyone creating Dramatica related content would be to do your best to upload said content mainly between November or so and late Feb/early March. Jim has a whole built-in audience that I bet starts jonesin for some Dramatica content right around those months.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m also perfectly willing to browse multiple Dramatica sites a day.

I don’t have much to add to this conversation other than to say awesome idea @Audz. And I agree with everyone that #2 would seem to address a real need. Addressing @mlucas questions about process would be particularly welcome – Armando’s book is great for example, but all of his examples are very neat and idealized where as reality (at least when you’re still learning?) feels much messier. Acknowledgment of that and how to deal with it could be very useful. On that front, if you were interested, interspersing interviews with other experts could be cool as well.

Regarding option 1 – I think that’s actually a great idea too. I know nothing about Middlemarch other than it’s a great novel and it’s really long so it probably has multiple storyforms. There’s actually very little Dramatica analysis at that scale – for obvious reasons – but I think there’s a need for it, given the move toward series/serials across media and genres.

1 Like

For a title, think backward from google search terms that people would use. I send much encouragement and pledge to listen/read!

Writing with Dramatica
Practical Dramatica
Getting Started with Dramatica
How to Use Dramatica
Dramatica for Beginners


It would be great to have a troubleshooting segment too, where perhaps you interview an expert on how to handle such and such. I’m at a loss for examples, but I’m always running into trouble.

I’d also love to see real examples of how people use Dramatica to create shorter works: short stories, essays, etc.

How about Dramatica to create 4 panel comic strips?

Dramatica in the real world? Dramatica as a means of self-examination, exploring one’s personal issues (or hypothetically personal issues)?

I wondered about Dramatica as a means to compose subject matter for Art. Paintings, Murals, etc.

So much to play with here.

How about titling it: A User’s Guide to Dramatica? It keeps it humble, from a users perspective, rather than an experts. However, having expert interviews would be fabuloso!

1 Like

I think @HaroldLloyd’s suggestion of using a title that is search optimized will get you the most mileage.