Four mind bending questions

Hi every one. I have four questions that have me stumped.

Q1: Dramatica is for “grand Argument stories”. I assume this is also suites coming of age stories. Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of?

Q2: Is it okay if my antagonist is entirely oblivious to, and unaffected by, my protagonist’s existence? My protagonist is a human boy whose goal is to “kill” the angel of death (antagonist). Clearly, the protag sees the angel of death as the antagonist. But the Antag (angel of death) doesn’t do anything to stop the protag because he’s unconcerned by humans. The antag, therefore, is simply doing his job.

At its core, this is a coming of age story. Man against self. Am I looking at this right, or does my antag have to be someone who acts as proactive barrier to protag achieving the goal.

Which is my Overall v/s Main Character Throughline? First and foremost, this is a coming of age story. And the revenge plot in the character’s personal barrier to growth. Does this mean my OT is coming of age and my MCT is revenge?

Also, if my OT is coming of age, and my Protag’s primary barrier is his own emotional instability, then wouldn’t this mean that my protag and Antag are the same person. (I understand this go against the theory of dynamic pairs and a character not being able to serve 1 master).

I’d really appreciate comments. :grinning:

1 Like

Hi @Henckel

Regarding Q1, yes, of course there are many GAS that are coming of age stories. A common arrangement is OS Psychology/Becoming | MC Universe/Future. I would also consider any arrangement in which the Concern quad is lower left (Future/Obtaining/Subconscious/Becoming). If you have Jim’s Subtext app, that’s the best way to look at different genres, or also on the analysis section of the Dramatica website.

I would think of “coming of age” as something that describes the whole storyform, not just one throughline. For the individual throughlines, you want to describe a source of conflict from different perspectives. What are all the characters dealing with (OS)? What describes the personal problem of the MC?

I’m not sure, but it sounds like you’re conflating the MC and OS throughlines here. “Barrier of emotional instability” sounds like a personal problem (MC throughline). Remember that while the MC and Protagonist perspectives are usually in the same “player”, this isn’t always true.

The best way to figure out Protagonist/Antagonist is to determine what the Story Goal is and then ask who is pursuing that goal and who is preventing/avoiding it.


Thanks for the advice! That was really helpful. I understand that I was looking at this wrong.

I’m going to chew on that for a couple hours and see what comes of it,

Until then, what is Jim’s Subtext app?


It’s really a great resource. (@jhull)

1 Like

Totally works for coming of age stories.

Absolutely. Usually as we enter adulthood we are attracted to people who are attractive or exciting. This isn’t a great long-term strategy because bright flames burn fast and/or people who know we will fall for the flash can manipulate us.

I am pretty sure that General Tarkin has no idea who Luke Skywalker is, though he is aware of Princess Leia, and they share the Protagonist role. There are some juicy scenes between Leia and Tarkin, and if your characters don’t know each other, this is what you are going to sacrifice.

It’s pretty cool that the angel of death is named “Antag” and is the antagonist! It makes it seem like whatever ancient text you are reading from somehow predicted the English language, and that kind of stuff blows him mind.

Just a storytelling note, the reason a Rock isn’t a good antagonist is because it can’t react to what is going on around it. I would say this awaits you if you pick Antag as your Antagonist. If you listen to @Lakis and put the OS in Psychology then it’s more likely that your Antagonist is going to be someone who challenges the thinking of other characters, and not actually be the angel of death.

I think of coming of age stories as man against the world, specifically, “I didn’t know the world could be like this?!” What is man against self, really, besides a guy named Man trying not to face the world?

One of the things that falls out of Dramatica is the realization that all stories are people with one set of habits facing a world that may or may not react well to those habits. So, right off the bat, it’s not a good fit for “man v self” stories.

Going back to Star Wars. Tarkin wants to get rid of the rebels. The rebels want to blow up the Death Star. It’s easier to think about this like the protagonists proactively preventing the antagonist.

In math, we would say that you have led to a contradiction and therefore your assumptions are incorrect. This applies here too.

Somewhere you are not seeing what part of your story belongs to the OS and what part belongs to the MC.