Turning Points & Types

Hello, I only know about Dramatica what I’ve read on the web. I do not have the software because my computer is an Ubuntu linux machine. So I’m stuck trying to use Dramatica by hand. I assume that is possible? Is there any part of the theory embedded in the software that isn’t publicly revealed?

My question at this point in understanding Dramatica is: How do the major plot turning points relate to each other? Turning points should be major changes. In one sense, I’m thinking of them as transformations of the throughlines. Are there particular types that tend to be more transformational than others? For example, the Types in the various quad positions are thematically parallel to the Types in the same position in the other Domains; seems like the lower left types in each domain are the transformational ones. Those are the Methodology types, right? Or am I confusing those with the Element level methodologies?

Should each turning point be all of the same parallel types or different? Here are examples:

  1. Inciting incident with a change in Purpose, first turning point with a change in Evaluation, next turning point with a change in Motivation, finally climax with a change in Methodology, all in the Overall Story throughline.
  2. Inciting incident with a methodology change in Overall Story; first turning point with a method change in Influence character story; second turning point with a method change in Relationship story; climax with a method change in Main Character story.
  3. Same as 2 but does not have to be a method change, as long as it is the same kind of change.
  4. Anything goes, with any type in any throughline.

To me 4 doesn’t seem rigorous enough and risks having an unbalanced story. 1 and 3 seems balanced but in practise perhaps it might not work as it seems to me the methodology types are the only really transformational ones. 2 is balanced but perhaps overly restrictive?

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The software makes it much, much easier and takes some of the guessing out - as well as giving you concepts like “gists” that make things more digestible. Also, there’s the progression view that I think pretty much answers your question:

The signposts are essentially what you’re working toward in terms of “turns,” while the journey is, well, the journey between them. This is a truncated view so you can’t see all the info in between that comes from your inputs elsewhere in the software. Here’s another view:

It’s not necessary to have the software, but it helps tremendously.

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Sorry, I was unclear. I know what Signposts are. But from the audience perspective, the signposts aren’t going to look all like major changes. One signpost in one throughline is going to appear more important than the other signposts, isn’t it? It’s usually written last before the next act starts. And will be some sort of major change. My question then refers to determining how these major turning points related to each other. Is there a rule regarding how these final-signpost in each act all must be in the same throughline, or must they be in different throughlines, and/or must they be of the same nature (like all methodologies for instance) or not?

From the audience’s perspective, the focus of the story’s throughline’s concern changes from each signpost. For example, Conceiving an idea to developing a plan is a logical progression whereas an event in Act 2 leads to an idea’s conception. The signpost is what you’re working toward so that when you reach it, the audience (should) feel/understand the change in focus in the throughline onto developing a plan (wherein the focus of the journey results in how the story reaches that particular point.)

There is one signpost per throughline, per act which gives you 16 overall. As for the order in each act, it doesn’t matter; it’s all how you decide to weave/tell your story. The only hardened rule is you have to fulfill, so to speak, the signposts in each act before moving onto the next act. Again, whether you order OS, IC, MC, RS or IC, MC, RS, OS is totally up to you and however you choose to sequence them to tell your story. Likewise, some may feel more important than others depending on the story you’re telling and where your emphasis lies.

As for the relation of each signpost to each other, each throughline is exploring a different concern from a different perspective so the only real relation is perhaps to the OS in the sense of that’s why all the characters are there in the first place, but that’s really fudging it. It’s the end result, the notion that all areas have been explored thoroughly, that’s important. This is where the software really makes it easier to understand because when you’re going through and answering questions, it works behind the scenes to lay the foundation and build the framework and taking all the guesswork out of it.

You may want to check out this post I did earlier today from a couple of years ago documenting how I worked through all these issues in writing my first script with Dramatica (it was my fifth overall.) It should give you a better understanding as I essentially discuss in some detail exactly some of the questions you’re asking: Far End of the Black script creation.

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To put it bluntly - you’re over-thinking everything. It doesn’t need to be that complicated. In addition your understanding of Signposts is way off. You really need to have the software in order to answer any of these questions and see how it really works.