Has anyone read Inside Story

By Dara Marks?

She has a lot of parallels with Dramatica, although sadly doesn’t recognize steadfast characters. That part made my brain hurt.

But it’s one of the best discussions I’ve seen on theme.

Just wondering what y’all might of thought.

Yes, I went to a weekend seminar of hers in Ojai with Chris one time and have a couple copies of her book. As I recall, she collapses Influence Character and Relationship Story into one, but that there were a lot of similariites (which I think, is why Chris became introduced to her).

My disconnect came from the ancient references (80s one-hour dramas).

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I really like her - she and McKee are my number one and two non-Dramatica storytelling manuals. I agree, she’s fantastic on theme and its relationship to character and plot.

Her Transformational Arc is another 10 or 15 or 22 steps approach to standardizing a story approach to psychological growth, but it’s a really good one, and really nicely explains how the A, B, and C stories tie together to tell a united story - A being Dramatica’s OS, B “subplot” is the MC, and C “subplot” is the IC and RS collapsed into one. So when I hit a Dramatica wall, I’ll pick up Marks and take what I guess is the more subjective storytelling approach for a while.

And yes, agreed with @jhull the examples are really dated but the payoff is her use of those examples to give explanations and demonstrations of how to make it all work are very strong.

Yes also, she doesn’t acknowledge steadfast characters except in tragedy, where tragic heroes - her example is Henry Hill in Goodfellas - fails to learn and therefore takes a tragic arc towards a Dramatica Failure/Bad ending. Also in old Hollywood story guru style she insists a Protagonist (who she defines as must carry the goal of the plot) must also be the emotional heart of the story, so her view only allows for what Dramatica calls “Heroes”. Still, with adjustments for a Dramatica view that you need for using any other story theorist, I think it’s a really useful book. Hope you find her helpful.


Yes, I have spoken to Dara on the phone a few times too. The most interesting thing to me that came from our discussions is how she believes the RS can cause the outcome of the OS. Melanie shows all of the possible ways in which the outcome is related to the character arc of the MC — which is more precise and accurate since the RS is slave to the OS in the current incarnation of Dramatica.