<$Susan Goodwill$>

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Writing Stuff: Twelve Questions

Geeky Writing Stuff Today:
Dramatica Pro Software is writing software that I use from time to time. It takes some time to learn, but it has some really, really good points.
In their online Theory Book, they boil down a lot of what I like about the software to twelve essential questions. They use a little of the Dramatica jargon in these questions, but they explain it so I think it works. I like to ask these about my work in progress to see what jogs loose. I've posted the link (click on this post's title) to Dramatica here in case you want to dig further. They have a lot of great info on their website.
Reprinted with permission from Dramatica:
1.Does your Main Character Change his way of dealing with the problem at the heart of the story (such as Ebeneezer Scrooge's switch to generosity in A Christmas Carol) or remain Steadfast in his convictions(such as the innocent Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive)?
2.Does your Main Character grow by adopting a new useful trait (Start) or by outgrowing an old inappropriate one (Stop)?
3.Is your Main Character a Be-er who mentally adapts to his environment(such as Rick Blaine in Casablanca) or a Do-er who physically changes his environment (such as John McClane in Die Hard)?
4.Does your Main Character use a Logical problem solving style (such as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs) or an Intuitive problem solving style (such as Tom Wingo in The Prince of Tides)?
5.Is the overall story driven by Actions first (such as the time travellers arriving in The Terminator) or Decisions first (such as Daniel Hillard's decision to impersonate a woman in Mrs. Doubtfire)?
6.Is your overall story brought to its climax by running out of Time (such as the 18 days to save the earth in Armageddon) or by running out of Options (such as Thelma and Louise driving over the cliff in Thelma and Louise)?
7.Do your character's efforts to achieve the overall story goal result in Success (such as killing the shark in Jaws) or Failure (such as not being able to open the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park)?
8.Does the Main Character resolve his personal problems and feel Good (such as Luke finally trusting his skills in Star Wars) or not resolve them and feel Bad (such as Clarice Starling still being haunted by her childhood memories in The Silence of the Lambs)?
9.If you pull back and look at the story from a bird's eye view, which general area best describes the nature of the problems ALL the characters are dealing with? Does the story's conflicts stem from a Situation, an Activity, a Fixed Attitude, or Manipulations?
10..Which area of concern are ALL the characters in your story interested in or worried about regarding the overall story goal?
11.What is the thematic issue that affects all of your characters in your story ?
12.What is the source of the central problem that affects all your characters in the story?