Story Goal when not matching the OS Concern

My romantic comedy has been difficult to figure out in terms of some of the structure. I want the RS in Becoming. That automatically makes the OS Concern — and therefore, the story goal — be Obtaining. I was enthused about the relationship, but have spent time figuring out a goal of obtaining. That pulled me towards an external goal.

Now, I read that I could make the RS concern be the story goal. That makes sense in a Rom-Com. How would the other static story points adjust? Would the consequences be Obtaining and the requirements be Being?

There is still an Overall Story that the characters in the RS are involved with, don’t forget. Something happens in the OS that involves more than just the (let’s say) romantic characters or whichever characters are involved with the RS. It involves the other players in the OS, i.e. contagonist, guardian, skeptic, sidekick, protagonist, antagonist. Working with and/or typing in the blanks in the software’s storyforming might help. When one sees which characters are interacting with those positions in a general way, one is usually able to put it aside, again, and write the story creating more complex characters (combining) for flow. Just thoughts.


Thanks. That very aspect of archetypal characters has been throwing me off, I suspect. I have seen movies presumably that people would call rom-coms, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Bringing Up Baby … even Pretty Woman. These have very different OS’s. The protagonist is in a very different setting. However, for Notting Hill and I.Q. and perhaps quite a few Meg Ryan films, the OS and RS seem intertwined. The pursuer of the relationship, I would imagine, would be the protagonist. There’s another character, sometimes, who is a cad … apparently an antagonist. In that case, I can’t find an archetype for the other romantic lead to fit into. Example: I.Q. would have the car repairer be the pursuer (protagonist). Einstein is clearly the guidance character along with his scientific colleagues. He’s trying to hook up the couple. Meg Ryan’s character doesn’t have an archetype in the OS, but does in the RS. The characters seem to want obtaining in the OS. President Eisenhower wants the formula that Einstein faked so that the couple can get together. I spotted other elements of obtaining. However, the victory in the story seemed to be having the repair man get Meg Ryan’s character. The RS would be those personal moments in the relationship.

Same matter in Splash. It seems the OS is concerned with Obtaining, but the victory is in Alan and Madison becoming a couple.

Can you explain this further? I’m not sure it’s meaningful to talk about archetypes in any throughline other than the OS. I’m not familiar with that movie – is there a Dramatica analysis of it somewhere? (I only say that because if we’re not sure of the storyform we could come up with the wrong conclusions).

Of course there are infinite possibilities, but very broadly it seems like some basic patterns are:

  1. There’s an external OS plot with clear “Goal” but it’s not given as much emphasis as the RS. Not a comedy, but in Romeo and Juliet the Goal is about “stopping the fighting” (Doing). Maybe this is the “bigger picture” option.

  2. There are Beauty and the Beast type stories (e.g. Pretty Woman) where the changed resolve of either the IC or MC creates a broader transformation that affects everyone (e.g. Goal of Becoming). Maybe this is the “transformation” option.

  3. There are stories like When Harry Met Sally where all of the OS characters are basically struggling with shades of the same thing. In this case, “finding love” (Subconscious). The RS with Harry and Sally explores one part of that (does this relationship have a Future). In the “Instant Dramatica” chapter of Dramatica for Screenwriters Armando’s example story takes the same approach, but with a different arrangement of throughlines. Maybe this is the “microcosm” option.

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I was going to mention Notting Hill actually, as based on your initial post it sounded like an OS in Becoming might be a good fit for your story. It’s very natural for a rom-com RS to be in Obtaining with all the activities around dating or not dating, sex, and especially “getting the guy/girl”.

Is it possible all the Becoming stuff you considered for the relationship, could just be one aspect of the OS Concern (and possibly the OS Goal)?

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A good way to think of the RS is a reflection of the OS on an emotional level.
The Concern in the OS will always be the Objective Goal, and that’s exactly how you should think about it–objectively, devoid of emotion.

The RS concern is the thing that will “feel” like a “goal” in the RS. With your RS in Becoming, that’ll feel like the forces at play in your story push and pull the relationship in terms of becoming something else, transforming.

You as Author have the freedom to focus the story on whichever throughline you choose. There’s something somewhere in all the text on Dramatica that talks about Emphasis, if I’m not mistaken.

Basically what that means is that even though you have an Objective Story with an objective goal of Obtaining, that’s not really the thing you focus on. It’ll happen, and the drivers in the OS pull everything along (unless you’re working in a Holistic story?), but you just choose to focus the RS part of it all when you write.


Tes. If I understand you correctly, emphasis is what I mean. One of the through lines can have its concern be connected to the goal, typically this is the OS. As I remember reading from Jim Hull’s blog, this is automatically the OS in the Dramatica program geared towards a Western culture.

On a thematic level, all of the concerns are “connected” to the goal by their nature of being a “different version of the same thing” in their respective Domains. But I wouldn’t think of them as “Goals” …

What I mean by that is if your OS Concern/Goal = Obtaining
then your MC Concern might be Future, IC Subconcious…
They’re the “same” thing… in the same position of the Concern Quad, just seen through a different lens.

Basically, with the PLOT of your story the OS Concern be always be the Goal as far as Dramatica is concerned.

The only problem I can think of with thinking of any of the other throughlines having a “goal” is that there is no real “target” to reach in an objective sense. It’s just the nature of each throughline:

The MC is more of a subjective, mental process kinda thing. It’s tied to the audience… the “eyes” of the audience. The Audience doesn’t really have a “goal,” so neither does the MC.
The IC is more about the MC subjectively looking at the objective IC and what that influence looks like.
And the RS is more about describing the nature of the forces at play between everything. The other 3 Domains’s concerns really just help to track their throughline’s arcs.

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