Understanding Driver/Passenger Plot Story Points relationship?

Hi everyone,

I’m currently storyforming my story with the Theory Book in one hand and Dramatica Story Expert in the other.

My question is : why “Requirements” & “Forewarnings” are never in dynamic pair in the theme browser though they are in dynamic pair in the Quad described p.178 of the Theory book ? Same question for “Prerequisites” & “Preconditions” ?

I’m asking because “Goal” & “Consequences” are in dynamic pair both in the Quad and in the Browser, same for “Dividends” and “Costs”.

Maybe I missed the answer … I confess I often struggle to understand the numerous english subtleties of the book and the software (I’m french) :sweat_smile:

Your help is most welcome, thanks !

I think the simplest answer is that the diagram on p.178 is not trying to represent the same Quads that are in the Theme Browser. The p.178 diagram is showing the relationships between those Static Story Point concepts themselves. Whereas the Theme Browser shows the relationships between the Types, which in a particular story can be instances of those Static Story Points.

For a silly parallel using chemistry, you might say Toxic Gas and Breathing Aid are a dynamic pair with each other; this would be like the p. 178 diagram. For a particular use, Oxygen could be an instance of a Breathing Aid, and Radon an instance of Toxic Gas. You can look at the Periodic Table of Elements to see the relationship between Oxygen and Radon. (Just like the Dramatica Table of Story Elements where you can see the relationship between Obtaining and Becoming, for example.)

Does that make sense?


Thanks for your reply, mlucas.

I’m not sure I understand, however.

The reason is that half of the p178 diagram is used in the theme browser (for Goal/Consequence & Cost/Dividends), and at the opposite Requirement/Forewarning & Prerequisite/Preconditions" could be in dynamic pairs in the Browser but never are.

It doesn’t look like there would be two co-existing logics like in your parellel with the duo “Toxic Gas/ Breathinh Aid” and the Periodic Table. Here it’s half the same, half different whatever you choose in the Story Engine.

I still can’t figure it out.

I’m not sure what you mean that Goal/Consequence and Cost/Dividends are dynamic pairs in the Theme Browser.

Let’s take The Matrix, which has a Story Goal of Obtaining. The dynamic pair of Obtaining is Doing. But when the Goal is Obtaining the Consequence is Becoming (aka Changing One's Nature), which is way diagonally across the Theme Browser, not a dynamic pair.

Oh, but I think I see what is bothering you now… The Requirements and Forewarnings Types will always be horizontally or vertically across (but far across, not part of the same quad) from each other, never diagonally, in the Theme Browser. This is because Requirements is always a Type within the OS Domain, and Forewarnings is always a Type within the MC Domain, so they can never be diagonally across. Same with Preqrequisites/Preconditions, which are Types in RS and IC Domains respectively.

So what’s bothering you is that some of those p.178 dynamic pairs will have horizontal/vertical relationships between their Types’ parent Domains, rather than diagonal ones.

Again, I don’t think it matters, because the p.178 diagram is saying something else. Its context is different than the Theme Browsers. (like my chemistry example, which is admittedly imperfect)

And anyway I would not worry about that p. 178 diagram much. I think it’s far more important just to understand the definitions of the Static Story Points (what is a Forewarning, what is a Requirement), and to understand the Types themselves.

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Yes you nailed it !

I think you’re right : The meaning of these terms is more important than the diagram itself.

I’d like to understand why the story engine narrows the possibilities the way it does though. Maybe the answer is in the story points definitions and its application to my story … but I’m not sure if it will explain this impossibility of having those dynamic pairs I was talking about.

Thanks for this helpful point of view anyway !

Glad I could help.

Some of the reasons for this “narrowing of possibilities” are useful to understand, and fairly easy to grasp. For example, the fact that picking one throughline’s Concern will restrict all the throughlines to being in that “quadrant” (all lower-left, or all upper-right). Or how the IC Domain is always the dynamic pair of the MC Domain.

But be careful not to go too far down that path; some of the inner workings of the story engine are too complex to grasp and not worth wasting time on. How it determines Signpost order, for example. Just trust it, and focus on the Effect rather than the Cause. :slight_smile:

If you have a specific question just ask and we can tell you which category it falls in!

Yes, It’s easy to understand the Throughlines Concern restrictions etc … easier than what my question was about, I think.

About the Sign Post Order, though the deepest levels of the Dramatica mechanics remain patent protected, there was a very interesting enlightenment of them by Chris Untley 2 years ago, which made the question worth to be asked. :wink: ( I’m looking for the same kind of explanation)

I agree that spending too much time on how and why can distract from writing, but the need of understanding the tool I use is not a flaw to me.

Thanks mlucas. :slight_smile:

There are some things that are fairly easy to ferret out if you tinker with the program–for example, the relationship between Catalyst and Inhibitor or Unique Ability and Critical Flaw. (In a Change Story, the OS Inhibitor is Dynamic to the RS Catalyst, and vice versa. In a Steadfast Story, the OS Inhibitor is Companion to the Unique Ability of whichever Throughline is Companion to the OS [in a Stop Story, it’s the MC; in a Start story, it’s the IC], and vice versa.) But I’ve tinkered with the Signpost Order a little, and… I don’t want to say it’s arbitrary, because I don’t think it is, but it’s way more complex than anything else in the formula. (I did find that, under certain conditions, changing the Outcome from Success to Failure moved the 4th Act Type to the 1st, but other than that, they seem to move all over the place with the slightest change.)

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Thanks for your reply, actingpower. Well I don’t think signpost order is arbitrary. Indeed it’s not the case for half of them.