The workshop in May

So, we did pretty well, with our inaugural foray into the workshop. How did y’all feel that went? Shall we do another? If so, I’d like some ideas on what you’d like to explore. Part of me was thinking individual story points as a prompt. I know @museful asked for a full storyform (which I find kinda daunting). What are your ideas? What would you like to try out and get feedback on?

If y’all decide you want to continue, I think we’ should make it ONE workshop per month, submit anytime you have something that meets the prompt. Does that sound better? Less daunting?

Thoughts? Input? Feedback?

1 Like

I thought the first workshop was tremendous – challenging, educational, and produced some great stories.

I love the one workshop per month idea, since most of us are probably involved in some other writing projects.

A full storyform is too much for a short story. I’d guess it would take around 15,000 words minimum to tell a full GAS. It is possible to use a full storyform as a prompt, though, allowing each writer to choose which “slice” they take (one person might try to do the whole MC throughline, ignoring the rest; someone else might include all four throughlines but only go down to the Concern level). That approach would produce different structures, but would be interesting.

I’m not sure what you mean by prompting individual story points. I don’t know if we could just say “MC Problem Trust, IC Problem Unproven” because those are so specific, they almost require a full Grand Argument Story to be built up around them or the argument won’t hold. At least as I understand it.

A few other types of prompts we could try:

  1. Similar to the first workshop, but a Variation quad instead of an Element quad.
  2. A prompt of just two Elements, so there would be four possible quads for the writer to choose from. This would let us analyze and try to guess, on reading, which quad the writer used.
  3. Just let the writer choose any quad they want, making analysis really interesting!
1 Like

I really enjoyed the deadline side of it. I’d like to keep it at 15 days. 30 days would be too long for me. 1500 words is perfect.

All I mean about a full story form is:

We can choose a specific variation: skill vs experience (just an example).

This allows us to explore how we choose elements on the scene level. Nobody really knows this, because Dramatica doesn’t say. I’m sure each of us has ideas. And this allows us to explore that process and share.

A storyform provides a reference to where the variation falls. For example: Act II. If we followed a strict order, we could even say Act II and Sequence I. Because the variations are listed in order.

This may or may not be an attempt by Dramatica to define chronology but it would force us to create the same things in essence. This allows a comparison of process.

A full storyform provides an anatomically correct reference to our MC and IC in terms of PS style, etc.

It also allows a chance to weave in OS, RS, MC, IC signposts.

You could go as deep or as shallow as you like, but it is there for reference. Maybe we can choose a series of four questions (since four is a Dramatica thing; I think six is the real Dramatica magic number, but four will do) to help us explain why:

How did you choose your elements?

Did you reference any other parts of the storyform? How did you implement those parts?

Decribe your creative process and how Dramatica fit into it:

What problems did you run into?

A full storyform may allow certain people tools to address problems. However, a tight set of parameters will allow us to compare processes by restricting certain aspects.

What I meant was the static story points. So like give us a scene in which you demonstrate the story’s goal. Or a scene that demonstrates the consequences approaching. That kind of thing. But if I’m the only one who thinks that kind of practice would be useful, then we can skip it.

I understand. My hope is that broadening it will give more people a chance to participate. If you want to keep yourself on that tighter deadline, by all means, knock your socks off.

Interesting! Would you see it like writing a scene that’s a piece of a larger whole? (almost like, pretend this is a scene in a novel or novella?) While still also functioning as a complete short story? That could be kind of fun.

Okay, I picked last month. Lets have suggestions for this month, please.[quote=“mlucas, post:5, topic:1717”]
Interesting! Would you see it like writing a scene that’s a piece of a larger whole? (almost like, pretend this is a scene in a novel or novella?) While still also functioning as a complete short story? That could be kind of fun.

Yes, it would be like a piece from a larger work. And where I don’t think it would have to be a complete story. It should be a complete scene.

Okay, hit me up…whatch’all want?

Here is a random storyform. I just hit spin the model:

Why don’t we use this random storyform, but identify a specific signpost from the OS to focus on. For example: Doing explored in terms of Doubt.


The Overall Storyline deals with the kinds of activities the Overall characters will be engaged in, act by act. In “Your Story,” act one deals primarily with Obtaining, act two with Doing, act three with Gathering Information and act four concentrates on Understanding. Each of these acts is made richer by the thematic topics that are explored within it. In act one, “achieving or possessing something” (Obtaining) is explored in terms of Value, Confidence, Worry, and Worth. Act two concentrates on “engaging in a physical activity” (Doing) and is explored in terms of Appraisal, Reappraisal, Doubt, and Investigation. Act three focuses on “gathering information or experience” (Gathering Information) and is explored in terms of Truth, Evidence, Suspicion, and Falsehood. And act four illustrates “appreciating the meaning of something” (Understanding) and is explored in terms of Closure, Hope, Dream, and Denial.

Then we can have all the other aspects of the storyform to reference. However, we will basically be doing exactly what we did before with more contextual information.

We can either allow each participant to choose their own elemental plugins for the scene or… we could assign them as we did before. I think that personal choice at the elemental level would be interesting.

1 Like

I also believe that a series of four questions, like I mentioned before, would be interesting.

Or other questions if these seem less than useful.

1 Like

I didn’t get to participate in the last one (reading or writing) because of how little time there was. Having a month would work for better for my busy schedule, since I’m still very much interested in this idea.

To respond to the more recent discussion on the thread: I think any quad from Domain level or below makes sense, but I especially like the idea of choosing a Signpost w/PSR from a random Storyform, as @museful is suggesting. Since one has already been spun up, I suggest going with that one. (Doing in terms of Appraisal, Reappraisal, Doubt, Investigation.)


I’m down with that. Okay, we have May’s storyform. Get writing.