My take on writing a micro story with scra tkad prco and active story telling scene governed by a story form


A Samuel Ogeda Story

Soroti Town, 8:00 pm. Year - 2016

Kenneth Opio knocked on the door to his home. He waited a few seconds and knocked again. Boda Bodas whizzed by. Cars hooted. Booming music from a disco in the distance blared.

“Johnny, please come and open the door,” he called to his oldest son. He banged on the door a second time then moved to knock on the window beside the door.

“Johnny, please come and open for me,” he spoke sternly. The front door opened.

“How are you?”

“Dad, I’m dying of hunger.”

“I’ve tried looking for food but I’ve not been successful.”

“Why haven’t you lit the lamp?”

Johnny did not answer.

Ken pressed a button on his Techno phone and scampered around the one-roomed house that was their home. The lamp was next to a plastic rack that held two plates, two cups, one spoon and a saucepan. He lit the lamp. A yellow flame illuminated the room.

His other two children, Lucy and Steven were lying on their mattress with a grey blanket covering them. Johnny was 9 years old, Steven was 7, and Lucy was 6. It had been two days without a meal. They had become to weak to move about so they chose to lie down and rest. Johnny joined his siblings on the blanket. Ken brushed both hands through his hair and held the back of his head.


Ken had lost his construction job two days ago because he consistently reported to work late. He was getting paid 10,000 shillings a day but would spend part of his money on alcohol and sports betting. He didn’t have any savings. To make matters worse, there was a nationwide famine in Uganda. No one was willing to share their food with him.


“How have you been my dear children? I’m sorry I’ve not been able to find food. The drought is affecting everyone.”

None of them said a word.

Ken brought the lamp closer. The children had tears in their eyes. The room was stuffy so Ken opened the window. A black piece of polythene paper acted as a curtain. He moved his mattress which was on the opposite side of the room close to theirs and sat.

“Dad, are we going to die?”

“No, my love.”

A week ago, Lucy’s best friend Christine was knocked dead as they were crossing a road on their way home from school. Images of Christine’s lifeless, bloodied body run through her mind.

Tears welled up in her eyes. She sniffed. The pain of hunger and the weakness in her body made her imagine that she would lay lifeless soon. Just like Christine.

Ken stroked Lucy’s cheek and wiped her tears. “You’re not going to die,” he said. I’m going to find food for you tonight. He stroked the backs of his other children. Steven was deep asleep.

“I want you all to sleep so you can conserve your energy. I’m going to get you something to eat.” He blew off the paraffin lamp. “Don’t let anyone in.” He left the room and locked the door from outside with a padlock. He rested his forehead on the door, mumbled a prayer, then walked away.

Ken was formerly a thief and had earned a reputation in the town for being one. He was once arrested and thrown in jail for 6 months. His prison experience changed him. He purposed to earn a living decently from then onwards. However, his kids were now starving. He had conversation with his good friend Bosco earlier in the day. He said he would have to resort to stealing to feed his children till he found a new job.

I have thick skin. All criticism is welcome. This is my second year of working with dramatica.

This evoked very strong emotions in me. Great, powerful stuff.

The Dramatica stuff is invisible to me, which is probably as it should be. I think I forgot about Dramatica as soon as I realized “kids dying of starvation”. I could probably try to guess the quad, if you want, but I want to let the story settle a bit first. (almost seems blasphemous to get so analytical right away on such an emotional subject matter)

Two bits of feedback for you. First, there is a shift away from Ken’s POV here:

I think you should keep Ken’s POV, so not say directly what Lucy is imagining (though maybe Ken knows what she’s thinking about so you could say that, or convey it however else you want).

Second, the very last paragraph needs adjustment because it takes the reader out of the story. You’ve switched from story to summary, showing to telling, and at a crucial time because Ken’s decision to take up thieving again is the crux of the story. And an awesome one too but I think it would be 100 times better if you stay with Ken here. Take more words if you need but keep the reader experiencing the story through Ken’s eyes. We were there with him in that room with his poor children, felt him stroking their backs; now we want to experience what it’s like to make a terrible decision for the sake of those children. Because right now, while we’re reading this, they’re our children too.


So here’s how I saw the Dramatica elements in play, I don’t know if I got them right though.
Cause — kids starving
Trust — there is no one who will help them
Test — the question “Dad, are we going to die?” (what will you do to protect us?}
Effect — take up thieving again

The content of the story is moving - especially for those of us that are parents.

There are a couple of things that struck me as, off. 1) your second scene is an exposition dump. It might be better if you built out this scene with him asking a neighbor for something, or begging for his job back, or asking for assistance (I’m uncertain does Uganda have any sort of social network?) but then we see why he can’t trust anyone for help.

The other disconnect for me comes in the same paragraph, it’s an inconsistency of character. I wouldn’t expect a man that drinks daily and gambles his money away, and doesn’t show up at his job on time to have the kind of care and concern for his children’s welfare that this man is displaying.

And lastly, I want to echo @mlucas 's thoughts. Keep us real time in the scene as he decides to considers the consequences and decides to turn back to thievery.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.


@jassnip @mlucas Thank you for your responses.

(As a by the way: we use the major social networks;: Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Instagram in Uganda.)

Here is the story form I developed for my mini story.

I picked the problem of inequity and built out the scene using TKAD, PRCO, SCRA and PASS (I picked out Active Storytelling Scene from PASS)

Justified – Dramatica Story Points

OS Story of Success

MC Resolve: Steadfast

IC Resolve: Change

MC Growth: __________________

OS Perspective:

Universe: He lacks money to provide for his kids – he is a poor person without even a job as a casual labourer now

Concern: Past – He is trying to break free of his past of being a thief and living a descent life instead but he needs to find a way to feed his children since he has just lost a job

Issue: Destiny – he knows deep down that going back to a lifestyle of theft will definitely land him in jail or even death – he wants his kids to turn out right

Problem: Speculation – He has to try legal means like asking around to get food for his kids, but if that fails, he is willing to commit theft to get his children something to eat.

Solution: Projection– He needs to be more forward thinking with the little money he has and quit bad habits like drinking which are eating up the little finances he has that could help his children.

Focus: Aware – He is aware of the need to provide food for his children quickly as they are starving.

Direction:Self Aware– he needs to learn good work discipline like coming to work on time and kicking bad habits that are no good for him or the life of his kids.

MC Throughline:

Domain: Psychology:

Concerns are always consistent:

A young father has just lost his construction job. He has 7 kids to feed.
Issue: Circumstances: Circumstances are not looking good for him. This is the second day he has gone without food. He has asked around but meals have not been forth coming.

Problem: Inequity – he doesn’t have money to buy something to eat for his starving children

Solution: Equity – he has to find money to or steal food for his starving children otherwise they will die.

Focus: Aware – he is doing all he can to provide for his family but no one he has asked is willing to help

Direction: Self aware – he has to come to terms that he has not always been good on the job.
A lot of the time, he has not always been faithful at work.

Concern: Conceptualizing – he is out on the streets trying to talk to different people to give him food for his children

Benchmark: he has to come up with a good idea such that he is not caught


IC Throughline:

Physics: The IC is trying to convince Ken that she shouldn’t go to steal but try to look for employment elsewhere. He is going to try his best to help him find work.

Concern: Understanding – He has to understand that stealing is not always the right way out of financial problems.

Issue: Conditioning – the streets have conditioned you that you can only live that way but you are better than that

Problem: Speculation–Ken argues that Bosco won’t be able to find him the work he needs in good time.

Solution: Projection – Bosco tells his friend that he needs to leave certain habits behind and make decisions in the future that are going to be to the benefit of his children. Bosco suggests that the next time Ken gets work, she should even open a bank account at Centenary Bank which has very cheap rates.

Focus: Inertia - the IC argues that stealing will cause problems for the MC down the line

Direction: Change - : he needs to get good employment

Benchmark: Learning - he could even consider learning a new skill like metal work, or mechanics


RS Through line

Mind: Bosco is trying to change Ken’s mind about theft but Ken is not having any of it. His children are starving and he needs to find something for them to eat quickly.

Concern: Memory - Ken want to revert to his old ways to earn money to sustain his family as he looks for a legitimate job. Bosco is like no, he should look for something else. Bosco says he will ask his church administrator if they can give him a job as a sweeper or groundsman in the meantime.
Issue: Suspicion – Bosco is suspicious of Ken. He has told Ken that he’s going to try and find something for him but from the way Ken looks Bosco thinks he is going to go and try to commit crime once again.

Problem: Desire –Ken desires to provide food for his children at any cost. Bosco is like he shouldn’t try to provide for them at any cost since it may end up with him being killed. Already, Ken has a bad reputation as a thief. If something gets stolen, people will most likely look at him as the first suspect.

Solution:Ability – Bosco is like in the long term, he should improve his mechanical skills since he is a little talented at mechanics. Ken is like he needs something to bring in money right now not later.

Focus: Aware -He is aware of the need to provide food for his children quickly as they are starving. Bosco says he’s going to go and try to find food but it’s not going to be easy since there’s widespread drought and food is a little difficult to come by now. All the neighbours are not willing to share what they have so they can survive.

Direction: Self-aware-he needs to learn good work discipline like coming to work on time and kicking bad habits that are no good for him or the life of his kids.

Something to explore: Wire a dramatic unit into a sentence, descriptor, anything concerned with a story telling but make sure it’s governed by the domain level and lower configurations of the entire story form so it remains consistent.