So, do you not think becoming kingly / becoming king-like / becoming worthy of the throne remove the need to assume the context?
Well, this is where it gets slippery – I read “king-like” as sounding more like Being … and “becoming worthy” sounds a bit like Worth, which an Issue under Mind/Preconscious, not Psychology.
1000% You can take a really broad gist and break it down to be a bunch of more accurate gists. Which gets you more inspiration and more accurate storytelling. Isn’t that the Dramatica dream?
Right. I’m not saying I nailed it. But at the very least they feel internal instead of external.
I think the whole point of Dramatica is that you don’t consider only one point in isolation. I actually think it’s a good thing that some of the Becoming gists don’t include a psychological or internal colour to them. This expands our thinking, allows us to include things into our stories that at first glance we might think don’t apply.
Becoming a king, or in the novel I’m revising right now, “becoming Earth’s defenders” may not force you into proper use of a Becoming Concern. That’s why you put the Domain of Psychology above it – that’s how you get things right.
I don’t think it’s the job of gists to force a perfect narrative structure on their own.
I don’t disagree with that.
There is the flip side where you read a definition and it seems vague and esoteric and you scroll through the gists to get a better handle on something.
You can imagine a newcomer to Dramatica flipping through gists, deciding their Braveheart-type story is a Becoming concern, getting through half a draft then coming here to vent about how all the definitions are too broad and made writing worse for them.
That’s why, for me, I try to crystallise it down to a concrete encoding of the element in question. It’s ok to have vague terms at first. It’s great for brainstorming even! But as it becomes clearer, I need to pull it down to the concrete level.
I got this way of thinking from one of my favourite authors ever- Brandon Sanderson! He calls it the pyramid of abstraction. It’s a school of thought where you pull things down from the lofty heights of vagueness to the concrete level for the sake of clarity. This is a great way to use imagery in prose as well.
Concretizing the appreciations tends to create limits. Thinking creatively around such limitations is the opium of storytelling IMO.
I’ll have to read about that technique. Sounds really helpful! I know Armando has the technique of taking Domain, Concern, Issue and Problem for each throughline and using that to get a title that encompasses the whole thread.
I’ve seen Jim do a variation this on Writer’s Room too.
I guess what I’m getting at is that because an element is sandwiched between a parent and it’s children, it should have some flavor of the parent and encompass or imply it’s children.
If I chose Becoming A Werewolf as a concern and then saw Rationalization / Obligation / Commitment / Responsibility as issues, I’d probably be completely bewildered.
I think the original intent for gists was inspirational, like @Mlucas said. A cool gist can spur a completely new and interesting direction.
At the same time, I think gists have become a tool for learning, understanding and storyforming. In that context, reigning them in for accuracy can only help.
Stop and imagine an entire story with Becoming a Werewolf as the Concern … say a group of teenagers becoming werewolves (OS throughline). Can’t you see them failing to meet obligations to friends/family around the full moon, making excuses about what they were doing those nights, while feeling responsible for the news reports of people attacked, and trying to decide which werewolf pack to commit to?
I think if you spread the Becoming process over the right context, you naturally end up in the right place. Whereas if you just think of someone “being a werewolf” that’s more of a Universe thing.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place where everyone could help create thousands and thousands of gists?
You’ll find a form at the bottom of every Element’s List of Illustrations (gists)
Here’s a quick link to Becoming
I wonder if these dual purposes almost require two kinds of gists – ones that are more “certified” for accuracy, and ones that are good enough for inspiration but not necessarily self-correcting.
Not that I’m trying to make more work for Jim & Sutbtext!
I actually kept a Notepad open on my laptop today and I was jotting down Becoming gists as they pop into my head so I could submit them later. So, enjoy your 21 new Becoming submissions.
I don’t necessarily think so. Just the ones that are maybe so broad that they can be seen as being in multiple throughlines could be gently nudged in their phrasing. Or mixing more accurate versions with the hand-wavy versions would give you a better impressions when scrolling through a list.
I can totally see how that Psychology Werewolf story could play out. But I can also see someone getting totally thrown by it. It’s just that on it’s own it seems like it could go a couple ways. If you were spinning up a random story it could lead in a cool direction, like how you took it. If you were coming in with an idea for a werewolf story it’s pretty unlikely it would be in Psychology anyway and might lead to a lot of wasted time and frustration.
“Becoming feral”, “Becoming savage”, “Losing your humanity”, “Becoming the evil you wish to destroy” or “Becoming one with the inner beast” could all be in a Werewolf story and feel a little more Psychology-ish to me. (Already submitted, btw. )
If by context you mean Psychology vs Physics or Universe, then I think treating it as internal already removes the need to assume a context because treating it as internal sets the context.
And, like Lakis, I think ‘becoming kingly or kinglike’ could be read as Being in that it could be
‘moving into playing the role of king’ because becoming kinglike isn’t the same as becoming a king. Not saying becoming kingly doesn’t work as becoming, but just that it could also be misread or misunderstood. I think the important thing to remember is that these are Gists…they are meant to give the essence of the element in question while acting as a bridge from storyform to storytelling as opposed to a complete description of what the term is.
I hear you. Those weren’t great examples, and I was kind of feeling around for better ideas. Here are the gists I submitted tonight based on the “Becoming a king” idea.
embodying the qualities of king
becoming what’s necessary to rule a kingdom
becoming the king that people deserve
becoming a king that people fear
becoming a ruthless king
transforming a boy into a king
becoming mature enough to handle being king
becoming ruthless enough to ascend to the throne
becoming hardened to the needs of the people
Not sure if all of them fit, but they all feel more about a psychological transformation and I can feel the issues in most of them. Do you have any thoughts or critiques on making them stronger?
You’ve got to be kidding me
I’m not doing anything until I figure out what’s the best approach for everyone. Just watching this thread, and seeing what transpires It’s really great to read everyone’s feedback.
Yes, I was kidding. Well mostly anyway!
You’ve got the definitions (short and long) in Subtext already, so for accuracy people can always look there.
This is a great exercise @glennbecker.
Not to be difficult but for me the more modifiers you use to describe the thing being transformed into, the further it feels like a wholesale “becoming” transformation.
If I say to my son, “you’re mature enough now to become a college student” that has a less encompassing quality than “you’re a man now” – even if “you’re a man” is more general and leaves open for interpretation what exactly that means.
Whenever possible, I think using a more precise noun solves this (e.g. “becoming a tyrant” rather than “becoming tyrannical”).
is interesting because the transformation is now not into a king, but into a ruthless person (ruthless enough to become a king!).
This sounds like it could be Being, depending on someone means by “embody”.
So my take home from reading this list is that most of them seem great but I wouldn’t want to lose the more general gist as well.
Using gists for me is never really “plug-n-play” – I’m always reading through the long list and comparing, and then putting one in that feels close (or suggesting one). Seeing that “becoming a king” and “becoming a vampire” are both “becoming” is what helps me figure out what “becoming” means in the context of my own story.
I realize that’s different from what some writers might do though.
I’m thinking of a series like The Vampire Diaries and it’s numerous spin-offs. These are, at heart, coming of age stories. Who am I becoming? What does it mean to become an adult? What if I could become immortal? What would have I have to change about myself to be with x,y, or z person?
I think I might make a separate post about it, because it is a great way to level up your grasp on an element.
I asked for critiques, so bring it on.
I took embodying from the synonyms in the original definition entry. I agree it might be a little wobbly.
I think the thing that stood out to me doing these was that making them more qualitative seemed to give it the flavoring of psychology.
Becoming a tyrant feels okay because it’s not tied to a position or status. A two year old could become a tyrant in his or her house.
This is really cutting into the heart of what I was getting at. Thinking genre-ally, what sort of feel is implied by the gists.
Think of the types of story ideas you get from Becoming ruthless enough to be king compared to Ruthlessly eliminating all competitors to the throne.
They both share the elements of ruthless and reaching the throne, but the feel is different enough that you would get different stories depending on which you chose.
I would wager just taking those gists and nothing else as writing prompts you’d get to a Psychology story and Physics story on your own.
This may seem heretical, but I feel like we have to be careful not to assume that every element in the model must “be” what its parent or parents are.
There’s no doubt Psychology is internal. 100%.
But when you go down to the next level, is Becoming always 100% internal? What about when it’s used, not as Concern under a Psychology Domain, but another Story Point like Consequences? (e.g. humanity becoming batteries in The Matrix. To me, the psychology flavour there comes not from the gist or encoding, but from the whole rest of the story – the fact that it’s the consequences of a Physics/Obtaining story.)
Then look at the next level down. Are Morality and Self-Interest and Attitude variations entirely, 100% external? What about Fantasy, Threat, Preconception? When they are the Issue, they absolutely exist in a larger external context, but they bring an internal aspect to that larger external conflict. And when they’re something else like Unique Ability or Catalyst, I don’t know that there’s any rules on how internal or external they must be.
I believe Psychology is the context of Becoming, not a restriction on everything Becoming can represent.