One aspect of Dramatica that I frequently find myself skirting around is the “do-er” versus “be-er” distinction. I’ve read the theory and even understand the caution that just because a character is a “be-er” doesn’t mean they’re passive. However I’m still not sure I have a handle on it in practical terms–specifically from the standpoint writing action-driven (in the generic sense, not the Dramatica sense) novels.
So I’m wondering if the following scenario might provide a simple (albeit bombastic) entry-point:
Maria is a be-er. She tries to deal with the world by adjusting herself to the situation around her in order to balance conditions. If someone is aggressive, she tries to calm herself–to show them she’s no threat. If money gets too tight, she tries to be content with less rather than try to get more.
One day Maria’s entire family is gunned down by evil drug lords (I know it’s ridiculous–I swear it’s just for the example.) She tries to grieve, to get help, to assist the police. When she realizes that the police have no intention of genuinely pursuing the crime, she realizes she has to ‘become’ (i.e. “be-er”) a detective herself. When she finds evidence pointing to a corrupt police chief as the actual culprit and that the cops won’t help her, she decides she has to ‘become’ a vigilante.
Again, I know the example is preposterous (though likely the subject of any number of movies) but my question is whether in this context Maria is genuinely a “be-er” in that she’s adjusting herself to the circumstances around her, or if all I’ve done is use semantics to get around the fact that she’s a “do-er”.
Hope this makes sense. Would love any Dramatica theory-driven thoughts on this.