Translating “the moral of the story” into a workable set of Story Engine Settings

Hey all, I wanted to see how others handle translating a premise with storytelling (this is what I mean by “the moral of the story” in the title, didn’t know of a better word or phrase) into a workable set of Story Engine Settings(SES). I don’t think there’s any one right way, so I’m not looking for any “correct” responses, necessarily.

So if I said I wanted to write a story that says “Start being brave and the things that haunt you will leave you alone”, what SES would you select to tell that story and why?

Linear (seems like “if you’re brave, then…”)
Optionlock (“things that haunt you” feel like parts of a continuous timeline, ruling out timelock)
Either Driver

My gut would say Charactere is a Be-er who starts in Preconscious.
Then “Worry” seems to be the thing that stands out, because you want to avoid Results, so I’d make that the Problem and it’s the switch to *Process" that saves the day.
This focuses the story on Accurate/Non-Accurate, and without thinking too hard, this would be something like “There are people who fight dragons, and I’m not one of them” or whatever. “I’m going to be content making shoehorses and that’s my role in the society.” When this fails to work, they have to don armor and head towards the dragon.

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Ok, that’s pretty cool. So does

read to you as part of the MC Preconscious (as in “the things that are causing you to have these problematic triggered responses”) or does it read as part of the OS Doing (as in “the things that have caused a problematic lack of engaging in an activity - a lack of heading toward the dragon”)? Or both, or neither?

I read it as part of the MC.

This sounds an awful lot like the Premise in Subtxt.

you can google: ‘premise’


check out the Manual where I go over all of it:


It’s exactly that. I thought it might be interesting to translate a few as a sort of workshop and see what happens.

What I’m particularly interested in is what happens when the thing you want your story to say isn’t in line with the current version of Dramatica. For instance, not everyone is going to come up with an argument as clean as "You can look forward to having a better life when you give up supporting the system ". Sometimes a writer is going to try to say something like “You can let go of the past when you give up supporting the system.” But Past and Support don’t line up. So now the writer has to decide whether to continue with a message that is muddy from the current Knowledge-based Dramatica perspective, change the message to make sense from that perspective, or change their perspective on the message by seeing that maybe letting go of the past is REALLY about looking to the Future.

In the example I gave in the first post, Mike linked something in the premise to Preconscious and built out from there. That’s interesting because he started from a place of “this is a Preconscious story” and saw everything else in relation to that. But how would that message look different if you saw “haunt” and immediately decided this was a story about the Past and Memory, but couldn’t see “be brave” as anything other than a form of taking initiative action? There’s dissonance in that message that needs to be worked out.