Looking for additional, practical ways of thinking about the Objective Story

Theoretically, I understand the need for the Objective Story and what it is meant to be. I don’t usually have trouble finding it on analysis, either. Thus, I should think I’d be able to illustrate one in my own stories. Alas, this post

When I attempt to illustrate the OS, I feel I get stuck on the different ways of thinking about it, including the claim that the OS is “what the story is about”.

I just don’t think of stories that way. To me, the answer to that question, is usually the MC Throughline, or a blending of any of the non-OS throughlines. (This is the reason I have a lot of trouble finding movies I would enjoy per trailers alone, which often portray only the OS.)

I also have trouble illustrating the OS based on the ideas given below, so I’m wondering if any other possibilities might exist. I’ve had some luck thinking of the OS as a “backdrop” in which the story (as described here) plays out, but I’m quickly finding the limits to that point of view.

  • The “They” perspective
  • What the story is about
  • What causes conflict for the group

Any help would be appreciated.

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Good question! And tricky… I think it might be a matter of training yourself to see the objective perspective in your own stories/ideas, which seems to be a bit of a blind spot. Hopefully the more you work at it, the easier it will become. (If you can identify it on analysis you must be close.)

Are you ever able to think of it in terms of the Story Goal? That would help immensely…

The other thing that can help is to look at the characters who are neither MC nor IC, and see what they are involved in and what’s driving them.

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You aren’t alone in this. I rarely think that the OS is what the story is about. In fact, I think the whole idea of a Story from the Dramatica point of view is that the Story is what it’s about. Not the OS.

This is what I was going to say too. Let me abstract out the Story Goal just a bit. I tend to ask myself “What thing will bring the story to its end if it’s either overcome or made permanent?”

So, to pick a random movie… Jurassic Park.

The Dinosaurs are the thing. If you can control them… the movie is over. If they kill everyone and reign on the island, then the movie is also over. It can go either way, with various “parties” having a way to their success. (Antagonist “success” = OS Failure.)

Now, the paleontologist. If he learns to loosen up, like kids, and embrace uncontrolled… that’s basically his arc, right? (but this example will work even if that detail is wrong)… then, so what? The movie is clearly not over at that point. Imagine walking out of the theater! You’d be so unsatisfied.

Another movie–> The Babadook.
It’s much more important to this movie that the mother/son relationship be healed than it is that the paleontologist learn to like kids. But if the Babadook were still roaming around, the movie would clearly still be going. He has to be expelled from the house or trapped. But this movie might feel more like a movie where the OS is less important.

Hope that helps.


Before Dramatica I didn’t thought a lot about the goal, but my stories didn’t work. I still remember, that I thought I don’t really need a goal. My idea is unique enough or something like this…

Since I am working with it, I am trying to find the story goal first. If I don’t have it I don’t start writing. The goal could be anything like a need to win, to stop, to escape from, to deliver or retrieve something.

If I cannot figure it out the idea might be a holistic story (someone searches to balance something). For me, this stories are more difficult to handle.

Another reason for not finding a goal could be the story doesn’t work as GAS. There is just not enough meat on the bone/idea to build it. But maybe, the idea works within a quad or two.

I also made the experience that I couldn’t find a storyform for ideas which I had already before I learned Dramatica.

Nowadays, when I get an idea I first look (like Pavlovs Dog, Continioned by Dramatica) for the goal.

Here is an example to illustrate the process.

Story Idea: Kids go up to mountains for wild woodland party

The MC has an issue with Impulsive Responses and needs to learn abandon being good enough about something.

The MC part of the story might be the biggest part in the novel … but …

The OS goal could be either: Obtaining (get to the top), Doing (walk up), Understanding (doing outdoor activities is great fun) or Learning (climb to the top)

For the example the goal here is Doing:

Everyone (OS) is troubled by an Activity - while concerned with Doing - they are affected by issues of Experience vs. Skill


These three together helped solved it for my NaNoWriMo work. Thank you!
(I’ll have to keep that rewording of what a Story Goal or Intention might be in mind.)



Hmmm…think mystery plot and the romance part of the story (OS is main in mysteries) Think romance novel plot and the plotting part that keeps chugging along just a little so the two characters have a reason to meet up. (SS/RS is main in romances.) Genre writing nailed reader interest, and it developed cool patterns. There might be genres you love and are more familiar with.

That’s also my experience. Its not »just« about a specific story with OS, MC, OC and RS.

Its about THE story with a spot (from a Dramatica view point) on four different perspectives, contexts or subjects from where YOU look at the whole story.

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