How does a single POV Novel mix four throughlines?
Is it by have the main character have scenes with other characters?
Or you need addition POV characteres?
I haven’t figured this one out.
How does a single POV Novel mix four throughlines?
“POV” in a novel happens at a different “level” than “perspective” in a Dramatica sense. So you absolutely don’t need to have additional POV characters.
Another way to look at it: Dramatica story points are always from the perspective of the author; POV in a novel is how the story is told from the perspective of a narrator or character. The storytelling “illustrates” the underlying storyform. So you as the author can use a first person character to illustrate all of the throughlines.
I realize this can be tricky in practice. You could look at some examples, like To Kill a Mockingbird in which Scout is the MC and first-person narrator, while much of the OS is about her father, Atticus. The Great Gatsby is another example.
I understand POV. I have three 100000+ word multi-POV novels out and a book called Writing Great Stories under a pseudonymn.
My question is about how to go about handling four throughlines in a single POV story. I’m trying to understand how a Dramatica expert might answer the question.
Apparently the only way it can be done is by having the main character in his throughline have recurring scenes with the impact character and with the antagonist character or one of his henchmen.
Just trying to dope-out Dramatica.
I appreciate your help.
There are actually lots of ways to do this. Taking the IC throughline as an example – the influence character doesn’t have to literally be present in every act – their perspective just has to show up. It could be one line, a thought, a fleeting moment – the classic example is at the very end of Star Wars where Luke is about to blow up the Death Star and hears Ben’s voice (“trust your feelings”). Or there may be a hand-off, like in Black Panther where Nakia is the IC at the beginning before Killmonger shows up.
FWIW without getting into it all here, it might be worth taking a look at Dramatica’s distinction between “players” and “characters” to clarify.
Sometimes, a story ends up being a tale and not a complete storyform with four developed throughlines, and that is ok.
Hi, Lakis an Prish,
Thanks again for your helpful suggestions.
My Win11 now includes now includes a Copilot, which is an AI linked to Bing chat. I asked it the same question and received an informative answer.
Here’s partially what it answered (similar to your answer,Lakis:
The Impact Character Throughline can be presented in the novel through the scenes and dialogues that showcase the conflict or connection between the main character and the impact character. For example, in a mystery novel, the Impact Character Throughline could be the killer’s motivation, methods, and messages to the detective, which force them to question their assumptions and beliefs.
The Relationship Story Throughline is the interpersonal view of the story, where two characters develop a bond or a rift over the course of the story. This throughline usually involves the emotional dynamics, tensions, and resolutions between the main character and the impact character, and shows how they change each other for better or worse.
The Relationship Story Throughline can be presented in the novel through the subplots and moments that highlight the evolution of their relationship, such as attraction, conflict, intimacy, betrayal, or reconciliation. For example, in a mystery novel, the Relationship Story Throughline could be the romance or rivalry between the detective and their partner, which adds another layer of complexity and stakes to their investigation.
Somewhere in my mountain of data, I have a Dramatica article that says each Throughline should be touched on at least once or more between each Signpost. I’m looking into that next.
The AI’s complete response satisfied my thirst for knowledge on the subject. It also recommended that using 3rd-person deep POV to handle the work. Plus, it gave examples of how to do it. I didn’t know what that was, but found out that’s what I’ve been doing all along. Now, I’ll move on to my next Dramatica problem.
I bought Dramatica 4 when it first came out, and only am I taking a serious look at it. It’s certainly intriguing. I especially like the concept of Contagonist.
Again, thanks a bunch. I intend to use many Dramatica suggestions in my current novel, which is a science-fiction adventure.
As the AI said to me, “Good Writing,” I say the same to you.
Thanls for the tip.
I just reread that information and realized I had read it years ago.
It seems everyone uses the the To Kill a Mockingbird example.
I wrote a book like that once, a mystery, sort of a copycat version of Sherlock Holmes. I called my Watson an “ignorant narrator” because he knew what my Holmes was doing,but not why.
May I ask what types of stories you write?
I’ve tried hard to find a decent writers group around Southern Cal, but most of the ones I discovered tended to be more social and not into serious study of the craft.
i thinkj I have found what I was looking for at Dramatica.com.
Hope you have a nice day.
I developed a tendency to mix genres, i.e. a little sci-fi with historical with current, etc. I found writers groups needed to focus on publisher requirements and making connections. Both were crucial, btw, but when our local group merged with another one cities away, I stopped that interaction in my life. Then I found out about auditing beginning fiction writing classes at colleges and universities. Super Cool!
Hi, Again, Prish,
You’re a true studend ot the craft. That’s great.
I have used The Contour format for all three of my books (all three science-fiction tinged.) The four signpost equivalents to Dramatic in The Contour structure are: 1. Orphan; 2. Hunter/Seeker; 3. Warrior; 4. Martyr.
I asked my Windows AI to relate that structure to Dramatica Signposts. Here’s what it said:
The Contour act structure is a four-act model that describes the emotional journey of the main character in terms of four archetypes: Orphan, Seeker, Warrior, and Martyr. Each archetype represents a different stage of the character’s growth and transformation as they face the challenges and opportunities of the story1.
The Dramatica signposts are the markers that separate one act from another in a story. They indicate the kind of concern or issue that is central to each throughline (a perspective or point of view) in each act. Each signpost belongs to a family of structural items that give a consistent identity to the story as it unfolds. One such family consists of the signposts of Learning, Understanding, Doing, and Obtaining2.
One possible way of relating the Contour act structure to Dramatica signposts is as follows:
- The Orphan act corresponds to the Learning signpost. In this act, the main character feels isolated, vulnerable, and confused by the situation they are in. They need to learn more about themselves, their environment, and their goal. They may also learn new skills, information, or allies that will help them later in the story.
- The Seeker act corresponds to the Understanding signpost. In this act, the main character has gained some knowledge and confidence, and decides to take action to pursue their goal. They need to understand more about the nature of their problem, their opponent, and their potential solution. They may also face tests, trials, and temptations that challenge their understanding.
- The Warrior act corresponds to the Doing signpost. In this act, the main character has developed a clear vision and strategy, and engages in direct conflict with their opponent. They need to do whatever it takes to overcome the obstacles and achieve their goal. They may also face setbacks, sacrifices, and surprises that require them to adapt their actions.
- The Martyr act corresponds to the Obtaining signpost. In this act, the main character has reached the climax of their story, and faces the final confrontation with their opponent. They need to obtain their goal or give it up for a higher purpose. They may also face a moral dilemma, a personal revelation, or a transformation that changes them forever.
Of course, this is not the only way to relate the Contour act structure to Dramatica signposts. Different stories may have different combinations of archetypes and signposts depending on their genre, theme, and message. The important thing is to understand how each structure works and how they can help you create a compelling story. I hope this helps you.
I intermingled the 7-point plot structure with Contour struce in the past. Now I intend to add in some of the useful Dramatica Elements like Contagonist, etc. in my new one.
FYI: I’m at www.cbhampton.com
I’m retired from a magazine editing job and now write books 6 hours a day for fun.
Have a nice day.
If the novel is from a MC POV viewpoint, for example, he still needs to describe what is going on in the other throughlines. Here is an over-simplistic example of Star Wars all told from Luke’s voice.
Luke speaking/thinking as MC: I found myself stuck here on Tatooine feeling sorry for myself because I believe I am made for greater things.
Luke relating OS: There is a huge battle raging between the Rebels and the Empire – I can see it in the night sky sometimes – (back as MC or possible protagonist) I just know I can help if only Uncle Owen would let me leave this rock.
Luke relating Influence Character throughline: I ran into this old crazy guy, Ben Kenobi, who saved my butt from the Sand People. He told me that he knew my dad – that dad was an expert pilot and something called a Jedi. He tried to convince me that I should follow in my father’s steps, but I’m not sure why he’s telling me this stuff. It’s tempting, but I can’t just leave my uncle and aunt to go running off on some wild adventure with someone I barely know.
Luke relating the Relationship throughline: I can’t believe it, but now I’m on a spaceship running away with from the Empire with Obi-wan and he’s training me to become a Jedi. He says I’m supposed to FEEL the Force, which I don’t understand what he means, so he has me put a blinder helmet on and use my father’s light saber to block energy blasts from a practice drone. I think he’s nuts! I keep getting zapped, but then after listening to him something seems to change and suddenly I can sense where the bolts of energy are coming from and can block them without using my eyes! It’s amazing!! I sure hope he can get me trained quickly, though I suspect it’s going to be a long slog.
As you can see from the example above, the perspectives and information from each throughline are all told from a single ‘voice’ – the first person. I think this answers the question you asked.
Thanks for the clarification. After digging into the subject, I went back to my three novels and discovered I had done just that without any deliveration. I even addressed all four throughlines at least twice in each act, I think it comes naturally. I also learned about a new concept (new to me) called deep POV, a term I’d never heard before. Again, I went back to my previous work and discovered I used deep POV naturally as well. In my new book, I have a contagonist, but didn’t think of him in that light. He’s better now that I understand his role.
Am still trying to dope out the Dramatica language.
For sure I am not a Dramatica expert, but maybe my experience may help in some way.
First of all scene describing interaction between MC and IC does not mean it is part of RS. Depends on what story point is illustrated. It still can develop IC signpost or story point.
I have in mind three approaches for stories with MC POV and IC scenes:
- MC and IC interact directly but the subject is IC throughline story point, MC can by kind of catalyst for such scene, to allow IC by more active,
- MC discovers/learns something about IC or IC activity,
- MC and some other character interact to tell something about IC.
Las two may work good if IC is antagonist, for example.
And side note: AI (Bing build-in, OpenAI or any other) is just a language model. It is smart enough to combine words into credible sentences, but… it does not mean it knows everything :). “Intelligence” refers to building sentences and not to its subject. Still. it’s better to trust real intelligence
I’ve pretty well got an answer to that question, at least to my satisfaction. I read an article somewhere that said the MC needs to interact with each throughline at least twice per act. The key word that is interact.
As for AI, I understand your response.
My way of using it is in two parts: 1) simple curiosity about what it will answer; 2)using it as a factual research tool. The second is very useful and time saving. A dumb example is to ask: At what time will the sun set on April 25, 2025. It answered in about four seconds. Answer: 6:11 PM in my location.
To get that information would have taken a bit more time. The new Windows 11 built-in AI, makes research of that type quick and easy. It cites sources and links to other sources as well. Thats great for a novelist.
Thanks for your input.