Hi Doctor Funk,
I think there are some different ways to apply Dramatica to a story idea.
1. Full fledged idea
This first is when you have a full-fledged story idea that your muse has already populated with at least hints of all four throughlines. You’ve probably spent some time developing it, and really care about it. Basically, there is already a storyform hidden inside your story idea, created by your subconscious, but the “conscious you” doesn’t know exactly what that storyform is. (As an aside, I think this is why sometimes you can get new ideas that seem great, but when you try to apply them to your story, they don’t really fit, or mess everything up in a way that you don’t understand. I think the reason is the way you’re applying the new ideas doesn’t fit the storyform, and your subconscious can sense this, but can’t tell you exactly what’s wrong.)
So, the way you use Dramatica here is to try and figure out your storyform, sort of like analyzing an existing story. It can be frustrating and usually you don’t get it right the first time, but when you get one that seems close you can go with it and adjust later. The nice thing is when you get close to your real storyform you start to feel like Dramatica is reading your mind (literally!) because the software comes up with outputs that match parts of your story so well, even though those parts weren’t part of the input you gave it. (Let me know if you want some examples of that.) This gives you confidence to rely on the entire storyform, like it’s kind of got your back.
2. Using random story points (story embroidery)
You could just generate a random storyform using the software, maybe setting a few fixed items if you wanted like an OS Issue of Approach (the thing about hurrying could be Approach, but that’s just a guess). Then once you have that storyform, you could say okay, Bill is the MC and his dog is the IC ,and apply all the story points to create a great story out of it. I think if you check the Story Embroidery youtube videos, like this one, you will find examples of this process.
This is probably the process that would work best for your “cheeseburger” idea, though keep in mind, it would still take some time.
3. Create an outline using helpful Dramatica concepts
The other thing you could do is to follow a process like the one used in Jim’s free “logline to treatment” email course, which involves using Dramatica principles to come up with a solid outline. From there I think you would be close to a single storyform. I think you would want to start that with a solid idea that you really care about though, as you will be really working at breathing life into it.
I think Melanie might have a similar process that you can follow as well.
Does this help? I’m not sure if you were thinking it would be quicker, but a full Grand Argument Story storyform takes some time and energy. OTOH you can definitely apply a few Dramatica concepts to quickly develop the idea a bit further. If I get time maybe I’ll post again with how that would work…