My new project - Connie's Homecoming - Scene 1

Problem: accurate

Mike believes that they can pull off a surprise party for Connie in three weeks when she arrives in Uganda on Thursday morning. Mike believes he is accurate in his assumptions. After agreeing to hold this celebration. They all want to weigh in on how the event will go. They all believe their plan for the celebration is the best.

Solution: non accurate

_They all come to accept that when they work collectively and allow each of them to weigh in on a decision, things move on well and the collective impact is better than if it was one person dominating. They realize it was not accurate for them to think one person’s idea was better than the other people’s ideas. _

Focus: expectation

_the expectations of how the event should go slow down the already short time frame to organize the event and call the guests, _

direction: determination

they all agree to meet in the middle concerning the plans for Connie’s arrival.

Story concern: doing

They are trying to prepare a surprise celebration for their older sister Constance Olouch’s home coming after finishing her masters and PhD in Switzerland. The family has arguments about what kind of celebration they should have for her and where the celebration should be held.

Signpost one: learning -

The family come to learn about the return date for Constance. She tells them the transcript will be out in a three weeks.

Variation One: Knowledge

The family are having a phone call with their first born daughter Connie and are hopeful of seeing her in three weeks’ time. During the phone call she discusses that her time abroad is coming and she’s on her way back to her country. They are overjoyed. They are overjoyed that her time in university is coming to an end, they have spent 5 years without seeing her.


Scene One **: Reaction, **

The family react to the news of Connie’s graduation. They ask her about her graduation experience and if it was everything she imagined it would be. Connie informs them at the graduation ceremony and period met all her expectations.

I’m writing one throughline only - the OS throughline

Sunday 7th July, 2018 – Munyonyo Kampala

The Olouch family gathered in their living room to speak with their first born child Connie Olouch who graduated the day before. They settle into their dark leather chairs contrasted by the gleaming white walls in their living room.

Mr. Olouch picked up his iPhone and placed the call putting the phone on loud speaker. He wore a navy blue polo shirt, brown khaki trousers and brown flip flops. It rang five times then Connie picked up the call.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hey graduate, how are you doing?” said Jennifer Olouch her younger sister and second born of the family. She wore an orange blow and navy blue three-quarter sweat pants.

“Hi Jenny,” she replied.

“Hi Connie,” greeted her mom Millicent Olouch who was dressed in a dark green African dress that reached her ankles.

“Hi Connie,” greeted her father Mr. Olouch.

Mike scratched the back of his autographed Paul Pogba Manchester United jersey his uncle gave him on his twenty-fifth birthday back in February. “Hello to my favorite person,” said Mike.

“Congrats on your graduation,” said her Mom.

“Dad tried to call you yesterday but we figured you were busy taking photos, spending last moments with certain friends and all that.”

“Very true,” it was a splendid graduation after being here for five years.

Connie had finished her PhD at the University of Switzerland. She finished her masters in Psychology two years earlier at the same university.

“So how did it go? Who was the guest of honor?” said Mike.

“We had the vice prime minister of Switzerland as the guest of honor.”

“It was a colorful ceremony. My favorite part was when we all through our graduation hats into the air.”

“I’ll send you the photos as soon as possible.”

“It was a little bit of a sad time too. There’s lots of friends, acquaintances I’ll most likely never meet again physically. But this is the digital era. We’ll still be able to keep in touch.”

“That’s life,” said Jennifer. “We are with certain people for a certain season and once that season ends, we move on from them due to different circumstances.”

“True,” said Mike.


“So how many parties did you attend yesterday,” said mom.

“I attended two parties. There was one that was held at school for a course mate. My friend’s mom made such great cake. One of the best I’ve ever tasted. It was a splendid time getting to meet her parents, and siblings and her aunt and uncle. Families over here aren’t as big as hours.

Jennifer smiled. “And the other one?”

“The other one was splendid too. It took place at a restaurant next to a pier where ships dock. So as the ceremony was going on. Ships and other water vessels were going in and out of harbor. The scenery in Switzerland is just breathtaking. I miss parties in Uganda. The white folk here are very reserved in the way they do things and the way they dance. The party ended with us dancing to some Swedish pop music. I left about 10 am and headed for my apartment.”


“Thanks for making us proud,” said Mr. Olouch. “It’s easy to lose your way when you’re in a European country all by yourself to peer pressure and other negative influences. But you’ve made it through successfully.”

“Thanks dad.”

“I can’t wait to see the output and difference you’re going to make in your life’s work and career.”

“I’m flattered dad. I’m looking forward to what the future holds too.”

“Apart of me wishes I had got better grades in school.”

“Well, your grades are fine,” added. “The marks on your transcript are a minor indicator of the output you will have in your career. Keep reading, keep researching keep learning. Don’t look at this as an end to learning. If you keep learning and applying yourself after this, you will go places. For a lot of graduates, university is the end of their active learning. Don’t let this be your end.”

“That’s true dad.”

The house went dark. Within 30 seconds, their standby generator kicked in.

“These power cuts are becoming more frequent,” said Jennifer.

“Not really. The daytime security guard told they’re changing the poles in the area. So once they finish with the repairs, the electricity supply will return to normal.

“What’s that I hear about electricity?”

“Power had just gone off but it’s back on now,” said Mike.


“Well, this week the government began charging citizens to access various social media apps, because they say they need money which they are most likely going to use for selfish reasons,” said Mike folding his legs onto the sofa.

“I heard about it,” said Connie.

“It’s absurd,” said Mr Olouch. Even LinkedIn in is blocked when accessing it via mobile.

“However at home because of we have Roke telecom internet, we are able to access all sites.”

“I saw something about it in my newsfeed on Facebook. So it seems like the OTT tax is limited only to the mobile internet.”

“That’s true,” said Mike.

“Life has been a little boring this week on social media since a lot of my friends are offline this week. People are planning to boycott mobile internet next week.”

“Sounds serious,” said Connie.


Scene 2 - Certainty

They get to learn about the date when there sister’s is arriving the family learns about Connie’s return date.

“So when will you be arriving back in Uganda?” asked Mike.

“Um, I’ll be arriving back on a Thursday three weeks from now.”


“Have you already booked the ticket for that day?” said Mr. Olouch.

“Yes, I’ve already done so.”

“I can’t wait to be back in the hot sun of Uganda.”

“I’m tired of the weather here.”

Mike looked up and saw the maid bringing food onto the dining table. The maid brought in a large dish that radiated with the smell of grilled meat. Smells like grilled turkey, thought Mike. Kalo. Groundnuts soup and steamed vegetables and fruit salad. After she’s done, she comes to where Mrs. Olouch is and informs her that food is ready.

Let me just walk up to the table and grab some juice then come back and join the family, thought Mike. He walked up and headed for the dining table.

Just as he was walking past his mom, she grabbed him by the hand, “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m just going to grab some juice.”

“That’s fine, I thought you were going to start eating without the rest of us.”



Scene 3 - Potentiality

Dad says, make sure you try to get everything cleared quickly before even next week, you may run into some snags, the dad can give a bit of his experience where a clerk fell sick and things stalled for a while, or there’s the risk of long times at times. Dad is biased in the view that if her daughter is not keen on sorting out her clearing with the university and going to pick her transcript on time, she may find herself missing her flight deadline.

“I hope you’ll begin handing in your university clearance forms come Monday,” said Mr. Olouch.

“I’m thinking I’ll start on Tuesday.”

Jennifer walked up to her mom and asked to be excused.

“Where are you going?” her mom whispered.

“I’m going to the toilet,” said Jennifer.

Her mom nodded.

“I’ll recommend you start on Monday.”

“It’s nothing to worry about,” said Connie.

“Don’t take chances,” added dad. “I remember when I was handing in my clearance forms at Makerere University 30 years ago, there were days I would go to certain offices and find the members of staff were not around. Sometimes a document I handed in for example to the library stayed on the librarian’s desk for three days.”

The University of Switzerland is more efficient than Makerere University thought Mike to himself. He felt like verbalizing the distinction to his father but decided against.

Mr. Olouch did not like being intellectually challenged by his children.

“I’ll do as you’ve,” said Dad.

“Better to start clearing early. Something unexpected could happen and cause delays as you’ve said.”

“That’s my girl,” dad said.

Mike consulted with Jennifer whether to ask mom if they can serve food and eat from the living room while continuing to speak with Connie because their food would get cold.

“Give it a try, but you know mom, she’s a stickler for rules and traditions.”

Mike walked up to mom and whispered in her ear.

“That’s fine.”

Mike gestured to Jennifer and both of them went and served their dinner.

“When they returned, Mr. and Mrs. Olouch went and served their meal.”


Scene 4 - Pro-action

Connie shares with them about how she’s been proactive in getting herself ready to come back to Uganda. Time frame for picking up her results.

“What are you going to do about your belongings?” said Jennifer. “I doubt you’re planning to ship all your furniture back to Uganda.”

“Well a friend told me I could auction them on eBay so that’s what I’m going to do for most of my belongings.”

“I’m selling my wardrobe, desk, chair and bed.”

“I’ll be leaving out of my suitcase for the last 7 days of my stay here.”

“As for my beddings, I’ll have them dropped off at charity that helps homeless people nearby.”

“That’s kind and brilliant of you,” said Mike.

“Thanks. The a few extra Euros in your pocket doesn’t hurt and doing good for the less privileged is fulfilling too.”

“I’ve never been privileged to lie on a pillows filled with feathers and comfy like the ones you’ve been using. You should at least pack one for me.”

Their mom shook her head.

“I guess I’ll bring you one of the pillows,” said Connie.

I’ll also be taking time to go to the Swiss Alps for about 3 days and just take in all the scenery and magnificence of this area.

“It’s going to be a very long time before I can have the same experience once again.”

To be continued

Hi Samuel

Thanks for sharing, Interesting to analyse your text knowing you are using Dramatica.

Just for my clarification …

I’m still writing proaction

Is it supposed to be one scene you have written, with the last part missing?

Scenes: reaction, potentiality, certainty, I’m still writing proaction

How is this reflected in the scenes, this are the Elements of Investigation?

I’ve added the last part.

It’s actually a sequence. What I’ve posted is four scenes pieces together.

I’m going to explain soon and include the break down in the text too.

1 Like

@Gernot I’ve added the scene headings to my post above. I have finished the first draft of the four scenes so you can read them now.

@samuelogeda, just checking…are you looking for feedback, or just sharing?

@jassnip I’m looking for feedback. One thing I’ve noticed though is that this variation feels more like the setup.

To me this sounds like it might be the other way around, i.e. a Problem of Expectation (Mike expects they can pull it off in three weeks, everyone has high expectations), and a Solution of Determination (they determine to work collectively). Accurate/Non-Accurate would work well as Focus & Direction, with people thinking other people’s plans are not good enough, that their own plans are better, maybe acting out or sabotaging someone else’s ideas, etc.



Since you are looking for feedback, I’m going to be as gentle (yet honest) as I know how to be.

I agree with your assessment that this is all setup, and as such you could cut it from your story (eventually). Frequently, writers need to take a running start at their stories in order to find a way in.So from that aspect no words are ever wasted, but despite having quite a few words here, this doesn’t really qualify as a scene. There is no character with an agenda (desire/drive) that is being thwarted by another character or circumstance. Without that you have no conflict, without conflict you don’t have a scene.

So if you want to consider the first signpost - Learning

You need to figure out how Learning is a problem is there too much learning? Not enough Learning?

Do the characters learn that Connie is coming home much sooner than expected? 3 days instead of 3 weeks?
Do they learn she’s accepted a post somewhere else?
Do they learn about some unrest, that could shut down the airports?
Do they learn that 8 of them ordered a welcome home cake from the local bakery? And now 7 of them will have to cancel their orders?

Whatever it is, it should be causing dissonance for the characters.

hope this helps,


it makes perfect sense.

I’ll have to recalibrate the story form almost entirely for it to make sense.

I’m writing only the OS throyghline though as a short story.

Makes sense.

I think the problem comes from the fact that I hadn’t clearly thought about how accurate is the problem in the story.

I’ve realized expectation fits better as the story’s problem.

An instance of the problem has to be present in each event for the story to truly work and function.

@jassnip here’s what happens in signpost one:

The family learns of Mike’s idea to hold a surprise party for Connie who’s just graduated but the parents believe the time frame is too short. After the parent’s take time to reevaluate the idea, the allow Mike and Jennifer to go ahead with the plan but they appoint an aunt to help them, she’s busy so she allows them to begin the plans and tells them she’ll check on them later on.

Love this this analysis, Mike. It shows how to move the the PSR beats around to perhaps better effect. Thank you for demonstrating.

Like Mike’s analysis above, this is a helpful demonstration on how to make the PSR beats resonate with conflict. This is not my story, but I’m benefitting from your coaching all the same. Injecting conflict into the Story Points/Beats has always been a struggle for me. Thank you for demonstrating.

1 Like


I’ve recalibrated my signpost one outline taking into consideration what jassnip advised me to do. Let me know what you think

I’m writing only one thoughline not a complete story form

Connie’s Homecoming:


Variation One: Knowledge

Mike presents his idea for a surprise party to his family during dinner time on Monday evening. Jennifer has just walked in from work and she sits down with everyone. Everyone gets silent at Mike’s idea.

Mike is not usually the outspoken one because a lot of times he presents ideas that the family finds unrealistic. So a lot of times he has great ideas for the family but he keeps them to himself. But however this time, it concerns his favorite sister and he so wants to hold a surprise party to honor her if he can convince them to get on board with his idea.

“Having a surprise party for Connie on that day will be too soon, don’t you think,” his mom replies.

“She’s arriving at 7 am in the morning. She’ll have slept and be rested by evening. One of us can check her into the Serena Hotel at Ranch on the Lake or at a hotel in Entebbe and keep her there till evening. We can think of something make her rested for that day,” says Mike.

“It’s best to wait till later to organize a party. A surprise party will mean that we keep that secret from her. I don’t like having to lie to my daughter.
To think that you’ll be able to have everything ready for a surprise graduation party for Connie within the next three weeks and without her involvement is just not an accurate/objective way to look at things,” said Mrs. Olouch.

“It’s not lying per say.”

“I’ve already figured out a lot of what’s needed for the event to happen in my mind already. We need a venue, invitation cards, a band, and caterers. We will need to come up with an event program. I can draw up a lot of what’s needed for the event in just one day and I can begin to get things ready within 48 hours if you approve.”
“I like where this is going,” said Jennifer.

This happens a day after they had a phone call with her.

Mike tries to convince them that the only reason he’s considering this idea is because he’s thought through it critically.

He says he would never present an idea to them that’s doomed to fail. Mike shows them how he’s already considered a couple of things concerning the idea.

The parents tell them they will think through the idea and see if it’s actually viable to be pulled off the way they think.

“Jenny, will you help me come up with a well-documented plan by tomorrow evening?”

“You know I work as an editor at a news station.”

“Pretty please. Will you help me?”

“Fine. Let’s keep chatting on Telegram. I’ll try to chip into your suggestions.” Jennifer stood up, picked up her handbag from the stool in the living room and went to her room.

I’ve done this before. I just need a proper written plan. And I’ll show them I can actually execute it.


Mike had become a better person because of her.

He felt obligated to do something for his sister because of what she’s been to him in the past. His sister has been by his side in so many ways throughout his life that he feels they need to do something to honor her and welcome her back.

She was always by his side when he felt hindered by others because of who he is as a person.

He always desired deep in his heart to do something special for his sister Connie.

Mike had always desired to do something special for Connie. Organizing a surprise party together with his family members seemed like the most ideal way for him to do something special for her.


The parents think through the idea when they go to their bedroom.

Not a bad idea at all, says their mom.

But if we leave them to their own devices things could go wrong.

We need to put someone in charge to oversee them who isn’t once of us.

What about your sister Christine. She’s handled a couple of projects quite well.

I’ll give her a call first thing in the morning.

They both greet each other good night. Mr. Olouch picks up a remote by the side of his bed. He presses a button and the lights go out.

The next evening as they are having dinner. Dinner was the only time during the week where the family could catch up with themselves. Their dad tells them that they have agreed to their idea.

“However, in order to keep you in check and to make sure you don’t squander our hard earned resources,” their mom looks sternly at both of them. We are asking Aunt Christine to help out with the preparations.”

They worry about how they are going to be able to work with their aunt Christine. Jennifer and Mike don’t take the news well, because their aunt Christine is judgmental and always too critical. She always looks for faults and doesn’t celebrate when someone does something good. However she’s busy so she’ll not be weighing in on the plans all the time.

“But why does Christine have to be part of this project,” says Jennifer.

Mike zones out and scrolls through his phone.

“Christine is good at getting things done. We feel that having Christine on board to help with the planning will keep you on your toes. We are inviting distinguished guests. ”

With Christine on board, the parents feel that the event will happen as they would like for it to happen.


Mike and Jennifer do their best to show that they can be trusted with the event and how it’s coming together.

They draw up a detailed first plan for the event which the parents approved of.

“I like the plan,” you’ve factored in everything needed to organize a great event.

“Now you need to move around town and prepare an actual bugget. We need to have an accurate budget not just estimations like you’ve done.

“We’re rich dad. We need no budget.”

“My hard earned money is not meant to be spent as you please,” Mr. Olouch smirked.

Before I jump into a full on read of this, I’d rather see your summary sentence for each scene, to make sure you’ve coded the story point with a corresponding conflict or problem that feels appropriate and strong enough-- rather to see you do the work yourself, before you present it for feedback. That way you get to learn and know what you’re writing both from the macro and micro levels of scene summary and scene details/beats.

… Also realizing, I’ve never understood the term “Variation”–what it means in the context of Dramatica. It always seems like an empty term. More of a holding place for a better term to come along and say what it really is. Guess I have somethings to learn too. :grinning: