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So a tale is a simple linear path that the author promotes as being either a good or bad one to take, depending on the outcome. Thereís a certain amount of power in that. It wouldnít take our early storyteller long to realize that he didnít have to limit himself to relating events that actually happened. Rather, he might carry things a step farther and create a fictional tale to illustrate the benefits or dangers of following a particular course.
That is the concept behind Fairy Tales and Cautionary Tales Ė to encourage certain behaviors and inhibit other behaviors based on the authorís belief as to the most efficacious courses of action in life.
But what kind of power could you get as an author if you were able to not merely say, "This conclusion is true for this particular case," but rather "This conclusion is true for all such similar cases"?
In other words, if you begin "here," then no matter what path you might take from that given starting point, it wouldnít be as good (or as bad) as the one Iím promoting. Now, rather than saying that the approach you have described is simply good or bad in and of itself, you are suggesting that of all the approaches that might have been taken, yours is the best (or worst) way to go.
Now that has a lot more power to it because you are telling everyone, "If you find yourself in this situation, exclude any other paths; take only this one," or, "If you find yourself in this situation, no matter what you do, donít do this!"
That kind of statement has a lot more power to manipulate an audience. But, because youíve only shown the one path (even though you are saying it is better than any others) you are making a blanket statement.
An audience simply wonít sit still for a blanket statement. Theyíll cry, "Foul!" They will at least question you. So, if our caveman sitting around the fire say, "Hey, this is the best of all possible paths," the audience is going to say , "What about this other case? What if we tried this, this or this?"
If the author was able to successfully argue his case he would compare all the solutions the audience might suggest to the one he is touting and conclusively show that the promoted path is clearly the best (or worst). Or, a solution might be suggested that proves better than the authorís, in which case his blanket statement loses all credibility.
In a nutshell, for every rebuttal the audience voices, the author can attempt to counter the rebuttal until he has proven his case. Now, he wontí have to argue every conceivable alternative solution Ė just the ones the audience brings up. And if he is successful, heíll eventually exhaust their suggestions or simply tire them out to the point they are willing to accept his conclusions.
But the moment you record a story as a song ballad, a stage play, or a motion picture (for example), then the original author is no longer their to counter any rebuttals the audience might have to his blanket statement.
So if someone in the audience thinks of a potential way to resolve the problem and you havenít addressed it in your blanket statement, they will feel there is a hole in your argument and that you havenít made your case.
Therefore, in a recorded art form, you need to include all the other reasonable approaches that might be tried in order to "sell" your approach as the best or the worst. You need to show how each alternative is not as good (or as bad) as the one you are promoting thereby proving that your blanket statement is correct.
In order to do this, you must anticipate all the other ways the audience might consider solving the problem in question. In effect, you have include all the ways anyone might think of solving that problem. Essentially, you have to include all the ways any human mind might go about solving that problem. In so doing, you create a model of the mindís problem-solving process: the Story Mind.
Now, no caveman ever sat down by a fire and said to himself, "Iím going to create an analogy to the mindís problem-solving processes." Yet in the process of successfully telling a story in a recorded art form (thereby showing that a particular solution is better than all other potential ones) the structure of the story becomes a model of psychology as an accidental byproduct.
Once this is understood, you can psychoanalyze your story. And you find that everything that is in the human mind is represented in some tangible form in a storyís structure.
Thatís what Dramatica is all about. Once we had that Rosetta Stone, we set ourselves to documenting the psychology of story structure. We developed a model of this structure and described it in our book, Dramatica: A New Theory of Story.
Beyond that, we implemented this construct as an interactive software engine
Ė the Story Engine, which sits at the heart of the Dramatica software. It
allows authors to answer questions about their dramatic intent in any story they
are developing, then cross references the impact of their various dramatic
choices and predicts the remaining structure necessary to achieve that
Video Clip - A Story is an Argument
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Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips - Owner, Storymind.com, Creator Storyweaver, Co-creator Dramatica