When a Manner of Thinking isn't a Manner of Thinking?

Been a while since I’ve logged in here! Make no mistake: I might have left the forum, but Dramatica has never left me. I’m finishing my first feature length treatment – a psychological sci-fi thriller with a rather unconventional time travel set piece.

I’ve got 100% certainty of the storyform, my writing “on intuition” has aligned stunningly well with the storyform I’ve arrived at – it’s locked and won’t budge from here.

The story is set in a time when the world is on the brink of discovering time travel; only partial time travel – time travel “lite” – with no paradoxes has been cracked. Now, the OS concern of Conceptualization regards with “What it real time travel was to be cracked?” The OS has all the characters concerned about what nefarious things would human beings come up with if “true” time travel was to be cracked – so, in that, it’s a “self-aware” time travel flick.

Lo and behold, an outbreak hits the world, with evidence suggesting it having been “leaked” from the future – someone DID crack time travel, and used it to send a mystery virus back in time.

Now, having arrived at this scenario, I began to wonder:

“Damn that OS seems so much like a mix of Psychology and Universe. It looks like an OS Situation story – EVERY outbreak film is basically OS Universe. Have I messed it up royally?”

But some intuition in me has repeatedly told me: “Nah, here it’s different to the usual outbreak films.”

So, I started digging, and found @jhull 's articles on “How to Use Dramatica the Right Way”, and “When A Situation Isn’t A Situation”

Could a similar thing be argued here: When “A Manner Of Thinking isn’t A Manner Of Thinking”?

The thing in my story is, there DEFINITELY is a “situation” (a mystery outbreak) but the conflict comes (I think?) from people’s reaction to the situation: having bought into the theory that the outbreak truly was sent from the future, governments begin a crackdown on time travel big tech in the hopes that if time travel research is completely “stomped out” in its infancy, the outbreak would be prevented.

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Is the source of the outbreak within the scope of the story at all? You could ask yourself what is motivating the people behind it.

An outbreak story is OS Universe when the outbreak itself, the universe of it, is the objective story’s domain of conflict, the end all and be all. The existence of the outbreak is a fixed/stuck state that needs to be unstuck (e.g. by a cure).

But a story where someone’s trying to create an outbreak and the protagonist is trying to stop them, that’s a very different beast. That’s an ongoing process that needs to be stopped. A lot of stories like that are probably OS Physics, but they could be Psychology if it’s all rooted in the problematic ways of thinking and manipulations.

Yeah, its source/the people behind it are revealed at the end, and it’s a certain kind of manipulation of society that motivated it.

Thing is, if I imagine removing these pieces of storytelling, and imagine the story with just the situation of the outbreak, all conflict within the story dies instantly.

There’s the outbreak as external fixed state, sure, but zero conflict. So I guess that’s some kind of a clue that I’m on the right track at least outruling OS Universe?

I’ve entertained the idea that it could be OS Physics since there indeed is the Activity of trying to prevent the outbreak. But, then again, I come to realize that the source of conflict to me feels like it’s not coming from activities, but the manners of thinking regarding the possible invention of “real life” time travel: what drives conflict are the suspicion-filled Conceptualizations of what “true” time travel could entail if let run amok.

Also, all other throughlines are locked so perfectly in their places (MC Mind Memory, IC Universe, SS Physics Understanding) that I just know if I’ve strayed in the OS, it NEEDS to be Psychology.

It’s especially in the Plot Sequence report where things align eerily perfectly in each Throughline: PSR is kinda the one feature of Dramatica that makes me wonder if it’s actually some kind of a mind-reading software

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An outbreak is meaningless until you give it context. An outbreak that creates trouble for someone sees an outbreak as a source of conflict. A process that leads to an outbreak sees an outbreak as the proof that the process is a source of conflict. The existence of an outbreak leading to conspiratiorial thinking might be a Universe throughline. Conspiratorial thinking leading to the existence of an outbreak might be a Psychology throughline. Conspiratorial thinking leading to government crackdowns on time travel by way of an outbreak from the future might also be a Psychology throughline.

If your story is fleshed out enough for you to know the purpose of the outbreak throughline (addressing the outbreak or addressing the conspiratorial thinking or addressing something else altogether) then write to that purpose. If it’s not fleshed out enough for you to know the purpose, make a determination based on what you want the purpose to be and write to that.

If the purpose of the outbreak throughline is to address societal manipulation, then write to that. If it’s not the

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Yeah, definitely sounds like you have the right throughlines then! Trust your gut / story-mind. :slight_smile: