From Conflict to Storyform

Yeah, that’s a pretty cool takeaway.

Yes! I thought that was really interesting. I think your exercise here proves this point.


I would totally read that second story.


This is an awesome way to do things! I think it might also be a good way to generate something from a random story form, too!


I love this idea, but how do you know what parts of an idea to assign to which level? Like the town attacked by werewolves does sound general enough to be in Domain, but how do you assign the more specific stuff?


The source of conflict and the conflict are two different things. The storyform is about the source of conflict, so that’s the one that needs to be at the right level. The conflict can be anywhere.
Ex. The Physics of building a bridge leads a town to be attacked by werewolves. The plot to obtain the moonstone leads a town to be attacked by werewolves. A towns self interest in finding a shorter trade route leads them to be attacked by werewolves. The townspeople’s drive to pursue the killer leads a town to be attacked by werewolves.


So every part of the throughline is “(item) leads to the town being attacked by werewolves”? Are the killer, trade route, and moonstone just random, seemingly disconnected examples, or would the author have those in mind and assign them to whatever fit the most?

Is this a separate way of thinking of things from asking “why is this a conflict?”

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No. You mentioned that being attacked by werewolves sounded general enough for Domain and asked about more specific stuff. The throughline I gave was just showing that it doesn’t matter where the conflict of “attacked by werewolves” goes. In an actual story, I wouldn’t use the same conflict for every level.

No. In the example above, it’s saying Physics, Obtaining, Self-Interest and Pursuit are all problematic in that they all lead to werewolf attacks. But again, in an actual story, they should all probably lead to various types of conflict…like being attacked by vampires!


Ok. I was wondering how an author takes a handful of conflict ideas and assigns them to which level.


However you want … whatever makes the most sense for your story.

If the conflict is the smoke, Dramatica tells you what’s causing it (the fire), but it doesn’t restrict you in any way as to what the smoke looks like, which direction it blows in, what shape it takes, etc. All of that is storytelling.

Keep in mind that in an actual story there are a lot of feedback loops, though. For example, the Physics of building a bridge causes werewolf attacks because they’re logging in the forbidden forest where the werewolves live. Now Self-interested parties begin to wonder if other legends about the forest are true and subvert the werewolf peace mission in order to Pursue the fabled lost treasure of the silver unicorn…

So the smoke from one fire often drives characters to start similar, related (by the storyform) fires. In my experience this happens naturally, as long as you remember to view your story points not just as sources of conflict but as drives.


This reminded me of the Story Embroidery threads I’ve see around the forum. It might be interesting to do one of those using this method.

You know, after NaNoWriMo…