Dramatica forms in Excel/PDF

Continuing the discussion from Analysis of Raiders of Lost Ark:

I created these several years ago so a group of us could watch a movie and jot down notes as the movie progressed or discuss an analysis in a group without a computer.

If you want the excel spreadsheet that you can edit, send me an email address, privately.



That looks really nice! I have some quibbles with it, though.

EDIT: Oops, I just noticed. You have Start and Stop flipped. In Stop stories, the Overall Throughline and Main Character Throughline are Companion, and in Start stories, they’re Dependent.

First, the organization of the Static Story Types threw me for a bit. I was expecting the Driver types (Goal, Consequence, Cost, Dividend) together and the Passenger types (Requirement, Prerequisites, Preconditions, Forewarnings) together. I… guess they kind of are? Like I said, it threw me at first.

Next, the Symptom isn’t always companion to the Problem. That’s only if it’s a Stop story. If it’s a Start story, then the Symptom is Dependent to the Problem.

The same goes for the Catalyst/Unique Ability. The formula determining what the Catalyst actually is turns out to be very complex, involving not only the choice of Overall Issue but also the Growth, the Problem-Solving Style, and the Outcome or Judgment (depending on the PSS). Also, the Inhibitor isn’t Dynamic to the Catalyst. Again, it’s more complicated, but if the Resolve is Steadfast, it’ll be… Companion, basically. (For example, if the Unique Ability is Rationalization, the Critical Flaw is Hope.)

And same (again) with the Benchmark. The Benchmark is calculated using a super-complex combination of the Resolve, the Problem-Solving Style, the Driver, the Outcome, the Judgment, and the Overall Concern.

Seems like it would be easier to buy the software. Might be nice to support the people who put so much time and energy into it as well.

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Thanks that’s the kind of input I was hoping for. Will change and repost.

Oh, I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I did this mostly to help myself understand the relationships. There are a lot of people struggling with Dramatica and I offer it in case it might help them. Others have to understand & want the value of Dramatica before they will spend $180 on it. Of the 50+ people I’ve tried to get interested in Dramatica every single one of them has given up either sooner or later because it’s so complicated, so wordy, and they don’t see how it can help their writing. They haven’t bought the software or continued exploring Dramatica with or without the forms.

Also, these are the types of reports I would like to see in the software (1 page summaries)

  • You absolutely cannot go below Type level without the software, it just gets too complicated too fast
    – you can’t carry a computer with you everywhere
    – you can’t discuss/analyze in a group without a projection screen or without making dozens of pages of handouts from the software.
    – when I"m writing I want concise 1 page summaries/reminders so I don’t have to flip in and out of the program as I type the narrative. Dramatica repeatedly crashes on my Macbook Air so I really would rather it not be running when I’m in Scrivener.

All of these things inhibit the acceptance of Dramatica so that’s why I don’t think having forms like these harm sale of the software.

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What I hear when I read your response.

I run the latest version of Dramatica on my Macbook Air and it never crashes.

Your sampling of 50 people is anecdotal and doesn’t reflect countless more who will use your forms as a way of avoiding purchasing the program.

You can go below the Type level without the software, you just have to understand the relationship between different appreciations. It takes time and dedication but anything worth doing does. The more important thing is understanding why these connections exist, not how to make them. By understanding why you can more readily apply them to your own writing. (And I’m more than happy to explain them to you in a separate post, just ask!).

You can carry all you need in your pocket (once you’ve done the above). Load up the Table of Story Elements and point your smartphone’s browser to dramatica.com.

If you want to whine about the lack of a PC version of Dramatica please do so here.

I’m not a huge fan of people who feel like they’re owed something or make excuses for open-sourcing Dramatica. I don’t think your forms will hinder any sales, in fact, I think they make the whole process look scarier than it needs to be. I’m glad that you purchased a Mac so that you could use the latest version of Dramatica. Please note that you’re in the minority though. Most people feel entitled to have everything given to them for free, and your forms play into that attitude.

Also running DSE 5.0 (latest version) on Macbook Air: It never crashes. DSE + Scrivener + Final Draft 9 + web browser in action together – ZERO complaints

Also: I purchased DSE 5 (Mac) from Melanie’s StoryMind.com for $120:


That price might spur more sales

Great to see someone digging into the Dramatica Program and managing the data for their own purposes. I have no need for the forms, however, I am sure many will find them useful. Cheers for your efforts LLou.


jhull, after you have done so much to further the knowledge of the Dramatica community it is difficult to read that you condescend to call some of your supporters whiners. I would hope that you would reconsider your choice of words.
Regards Fumio

@Fumio nope. Not gonna happen. There are a group of people who consistently complain about there not being a PC version of Dramatica – as if they’re owed it. They’re not. They use this lack of catering to their needs as an excuse for larceny and after awhile it begins to sound like whining. Trust me, I have four kids – I know what it sounds like.

To be clear, I do not work for Write Bros. so @LLou is not a “supporter” of mine. I’m a writer who thinks Dramatica is the greatest development in our understanding of story and I feel the people who created and continue to develop it deserve our financial support.

If you have a problem with that, you’re free to whine about it on another site.

Really?! Sa-weet!!! Gotta ask then. Why does Dramatica work the way it does, Jim?

Boy the trolls are coming out in droves this week. No need to be a punk. If you have a serious question about something specific, ask it in a separate post. Not this disastrous waste of time.

Jim, meant no disrespect whatsoever. I was being 100% sincere. Sorry you took it as a troll thingy.

EDIT: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the work you’ve done for the Dramatica community has opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people. Your countess contributions, the hours, make that months, no – YEARS! doesn’t get anywhere near enough praise & recognition. What you’ve done is fucking amazing. I haven’t said it often enough, so I’ll say it here THANK YOU!!!

& sorry if you took my words as being in any way disrespectful. That was never my intention.

Thanks @Jerome. I appreciate that. If you really want to know how Dramatica works I would definitely buy Melanie’s book on the Dramatica Clockwork here. Parts of it may be challenging but it will give you a good idea of why it works the way it does.

I would also read everything you can find on Melanie’s site storymind.com

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Dude! Whoa! “Yet every once and a while, someone asks what is to me a much more interesting question: Why does it work?” Just reading that made my eyes swell up.

Can’t say it too often, THANK YOU!

Jim, I just want to jump in here with Jerome and thank you.

Fact is, I think I probably “came to Dramatica” a little before you did…

However, without you taking up the Dramatica baton and running like the wind with it, I never would have understood it so well as I do now, nor maintained (much less increased) my excitement for it and advocacy of it. And I’m sure a lot of other “longer-with-Dramatica-but-never-such-good-proponents-of-it” could say the same thing!

Your dedication to promoting and explaining the theory is legend, and your talent for making it more and more attractive — intellectually, emotionally and visually — has consistently been awesome.

Your name is definitely in my Dramatica “pantheon,” alongside such other greats as Chris, Melanie, Stephen, Sandy, etc. Thanks for all you are and do, Jhull!

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No way I’m deleting this thread now. Thanks!

I want your excel spreadsheet of dramatica. Please send at yohanis126@gmail.com. Thank you.

For what it’s worth to anyone reading this: the software is expensive, but you will get your money’s worth if you use it to understand the theory.

Let’s say you value your own time at $10/hour. I guarantee you will be able to use the theory to be a better writer and better reader at least 18 hours sooner. And if what you want is to be a better writer, then why waste time by not spending the money?

I haven’t seen @LLou’s spreadsheets, but my guess is that making them was probably helpful. Reading them… I’m not so sure. We learn by doing. You will learn the theory by applying it – waaaay easier with the software. You learn by studying – waaaaay easier with the software.

A PDF is static, and the program is dynamic. The struggle to understand is how you understand it. Nobody can tell you how it works, the same way that nobody can tell you how to dribble a basketball. You actually have to get a ball and dribble it.

So, while I agree with @jhull that supporting the people who have written the software and developed the theory is the right thing to do, it’s also just the right thing to do for yourself.

@LLou, if you want an honest assessment of the forms: mikewollaeger@gmail.com

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