First Driver Removed -- Fluid, Resilient Stories

What would happen if I found a GAS that wasn’t well know by the Dramatica community, and I lopped off the first 5 to 15 minutes (essentially causing the First Driver to occur offscreen). Then, I gave it to the Dramatica community to find a Storyform.

Would the same Storyform be found regardless of the lost 5 to 15 minutes?

Would two different Storyforms be found - both correct depending on the version evaluated?

Would two different Storyforms be found, but one would be weaker than the other?

Would a GAS and a Tale be found?

I have a feeling that it is possibility that two different Storyforms could be found, both equally strong.

Also, I think the different possibilies above might occur as well depending on the story as well.

It might be difficult to imagine, but think about Star Wars starting with Princess Leia giving the plans to R2D2 or a similar point after the First Story Driver as it is. Or imagine the filmmakers starting with the plans being stolen.

All expressions of a Storyform aren’t equal. In other words, although perfect structure is a fairy tale, some expressions of structure are more equal.

We naturally seek structure as writers. We naturally seek structure as viewers/readers. Dramatica is a theory based on thousands of years of storytelling, not the other way around.

Is it better to look at Dramatica as a tool to strengthen a story as opposed to a tool for creating stories? I’ve started to look at stories as being fluid and resilient despite our best efforts to break them.

What do you guys think?


I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but from the perspective of writing rather than analysis – getting to the middle or end of a draft and then realizing you have to change your storyform-- only to find out how much of the earlier writing is still usable, even with a completely different storyform.


If we naturally seek structure as writers, it follows that if Star Wars had started with Leia giving the plans to R2 that there would have been a completely different Storyform (story).

Whether through creation or analysis there is always the drive for meaning - starting with R2 would have been an attempt to argue a different meaning.

If for some reason I came into the theater 20 min late, I’m sure I would find the same meaning – because the Author’s intention (starting with the illegal boarding) would have still been intact.


Great point! BUT imagine you’ve never seen it, and you go to a friend’s house who has it on VHS… And he starts it 20 minutes into it, but he also tricks you into thinking that you hadn’t missed anything, that he’d started it at the beginning.

I bet in that case you would feel like something was missing from the story, that something wasn’t quite right. (The meaning would be apparent by the end, but you’d recognize that the false beginning didn’t properly fit that meaning.)


I tend to doubt this. Not that that it would never happen, but that it would happen every time.

If we had such a capacity to create stories, then we would never find broken story forms. But we do.

The weird thing to me is that we find both tons of broken storyforms and lots that are complete without the author knowing anything about Dramatica.

It’s a little off topic, but I sometimes wonder what’s the minimum viable knowledge of Dramatica that one would need to have in order to flesh out a story and make sure it’s complete. (Of course I’m sure mileage varies).

1 Like

I’m inclined to agree with @MWollaeger, here, but more than likely because I’m reading the claims a different way. The statement is “If we naturally seek structure as writers…”, which only makes sense in the case the premise is considered true. Deny the premise, and the whole statement is still true, but it may not mean much.

Personally, I deny the premise. I think as culture, humans seek structure, but I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that writers naturally seek structure. Though, I’ll admit that many probably do. Though, if I take that line of thought any further it becomes a deep philosophical and psychological question that is still under active research. Thus, that’s as far as I’ll take it.

I’ve found that when I talk with people about Dramatica, without actually telling them that I’m using Dramatica, and give suggestions, usually the minimum I’ve found that seems to improve writing are two concepts:

  • That there are four categories, not three (the Quad), which is most easily explained with KTAD and MEST.
  • The four throughlines, spoken to in some fashion or another.

Generally, those two so significantly improve others writing and ideas that I’m actually going to start experimenting with taking my own advice and boil Dramatica down to that for my own novel.


As with everything, this is context dependent.

Broadly speaking, I think writers seek either meaning or excitement. Only the first requires structure. But even then, there is nothing that says “meaning demands structure” in an overt obvious way. This had to be discovered.


I suppose I lean towards the idea that writers and readers seek structure, categorization, etc. The very idea of language is based on repeatable, categorizable structure. It is ingrained into our psyche.

Look at one of the great ideas in Dramatica: givens and justifications. Here a person has a given that is the basis for their entire world view. To reconsider this given would wreak havoc on a structured set of ideas that we have built, one upon another.

I guess writer’s can seek anything that they want. Good writers probably seek to evoke emotions (which excitement falls into) and that is found through structure. Good writing obliges us to seek structure.

Look at the base form of writing: up down up down up down. It doesn’t matter what form that takes or how that is articulated: thrust, counterthrust, thrust counterthrust; up, down, up, down; balance, imbalance, balance, imbalance.

Sometimes, I think Dramatica works because we need it to work, and that is good enough for me.

I’m going to update my view here and say that maybe we all seek structure when we take in information.

When we create, we probably also want structure, but aren’t very good at it. Just like a bad artist (me) trying to draw Scooby Doo. I want to, I’m just really bad.


My original reply said readers only, but I don’t want to come across as criticizing Dramatica. It’s not that. So, I put writers and readers. And it doesn’t matter because…

To be rewriters, we must be readers. After our first draft, we read, then we write again. So, I don’t think it is necessary to make that distinction.

I guess we can be stream of consciousness, no rewrite-writers or writers restricted by time limits…