Organising information into scenes to write first draft of novel


I’m wondering if there might be a straight forward answer to a question I’ve wrestled with for a while now.

Once I have completed answering all the questions in the story guide, I’m unclear about the most effective way to extract this information and incorporate it in a logical order into my scenes.

At the moment, I can see the four throughlines in the plot progression tab but am deducing those alone aren’t the full extent of the guidance I need refer to when it’s time to actually write up my scenes in the form of a first draft for a novel. They obviously assist me to write scenes according to a plot structure but they don’t specifically explain to me how I should/can augment that plot information with the necessary information pertaining to theme and character.

I have a series of notes on all the characters but I’m yet to reach a point where it’s clear to me whether Dramatica will automatically generate for me guidance like, “Detail X about Character A belongs in scene three, before you introduce point Y about theme in that scene too.”

In a nutshell, while I’m aware my answers to my story guide are helping me establish and illustrate what I need to expose and enact re plot, theme, character, genre, it remains to be seen for me whether Dramatica will organise this information for me so I know which of my 28 scenes it belongs in and where, or whether I will just have pages of reports with info for which I’ll autonomously need to arrange into my structure of scenes, so I can then refer to it to write up my first draft.

I’d be fine if the plot progression tab alone were the extensive/definitive reference point to go to write up my scenes in first draft form but since the info in that tab lacks character and thematic detail presently as to how to establish how to locate that information and blend it in with the plot details, I’m a little confused.

Not to say I haven’t read and watched many Youtube tutes at this point, but yes, I’m still seeking clarity.


Short answer: no, there isn’t. Sorry! This is the double-edged sword of Dramatica. It can help you construct an argument, but once that’s set up, the actual hard work is up to you. But really, that’s a blessing, not a curse. It’s what allows Romeo & Juliet to have the same story as West Side Story, or How to Train Your Dragon to have the same story as @jhull’s fake story Europa. The argument is just an argument; it can wear any coat of paint it likes, but it still argues the same thing.

If you do want to get more granular, there are two ways to do it. One is to use the Plot Sequence Report. This will get you one step closer by giving you the necessary thematic questions within the acts, but there isn’t anything deeper than that. (No Plot Scene Report, sadly.) Check out the Far End of the Black creation script on here if you want to see an example of that in action. The other way is to use the definition of Sequences, Scenes, and Events in the original book. There, it defines Sequences like this: suppose you have a story about the struggle between Confidence and Worry. In this Throughline, you have six Sequences: Confidence vs. Worry, Confidence vs. Value, Confidence vs. Worth, Worry vs. Value, Worry vs. Worth, and Value vs. Worth. Your story will step through all six of these Sequences one by one, the only caveat being that every two Sequences needs to have one with Confidence in it. (So, for example, an allowable arrangement is Confidence vs. Value, Value vs. Worth, Worry vs. Worth, Confidence vs. Worth, Confidence vs. Worry, Worry vs. Value.) So that turns four Acts into six Sequences. From there, we can go one level deeper and talk about Scenes. Each Sequence will have four Scenes corresponding to the Problem, the Solution, the Symptom, and the Response. So in my previous example, let’s say Theory is my Problem and Hunch is my Solution. Then within each Sequence, we’d have a Scene representing Theory, a Scene representing Hunch, a Scene representing Test, and a Scene representing Trust.

So now we’ve broken this Throughline down to 24 Scenes. Last is Events. Within each Scene, you should have a Situation, an Activity, a Way of Thinking, and a Fixed Attitude Event. That brings us to 96 Events total. Now, when you interweave your Throughlines together, I think that means Sequences, Scenes, and Events need to be pulling double duty for all the other Throughlines. So maybe the Overall Throughline is Confidence vs. Worth/Test/Situation, but in that same Situation Event you’re doing Experience vs. Wisdom/Unproven for the Main Character, Knowledge vs. Desire/Trust for the Impact Character, and Security vs. Threat/Unending for the Relationship. So in this one Scene’s four Events, you need to demonstrate all 12 of those values and how they’re interrelated with each other. And don’t forget that while you’re doing that, you need to be demonstrating all 96 Overall Character Traits reacting to each other and vying for attention! So in this scene, you also have your Inertia character, your Proaction character, your Support character, and your Process character, and then your Inaction character walks in and reacts to all of them…

Yeah. You can see how going really deep starts to get really confusing. My recommendation? Don’t worry about it too hard. Write with just what the storyform gives you. Do your best with what you’ve got, then go back and look for holes. Hopefully, you’ll be able to instinctively understand where your argument isn’t firing on all cylinders, and you can correct. :smile: