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Dramatica and the Number 64
It has been suggested that the fact there are 64 dramatic Elements in the Dramatica Theory of Story is mighty suspicious. After all, that's a real convenient number if you are going to be creating a software program, such as Dramatica Pro. Which naturally leads to the speculation that perhaps the Dramatica Theory is not so much about what's really going on in story as it is about describing stories in terms of how software might best look at them.
Another unsettling fact is that you'll find a lot of symmetry in Dramatica -
After all, there are 3 Plot Journeys that span the 4 Plot Signposts and give us the standard Three Act Structure. But, you can also structure a story to emphasize the first Signpost, the three Journeys, and then the final Signpost, thereby creating the feeling of a 5 Part Plot Progression (handy for television programs and their commercial breaks). In addition, you can clearly illustrate all four Signposts and all three Journeys in a throughline thereby creating 7 different dramatic movements along the way.
As a final example of odd numbers in Dramatica, there are four primary character functions: Protagonist, Antagonist, Main Character and Obstacle Character. Protagonist and Antagonist fight over the goal, Main Character and Obstacle Character fight over moral values. Often, stories will make the Protagonist the Main Character and the Antagonist the Obstacle Character so that only two players represent all four attributes between them. In such a case, these two characters fight over the goal and also fight over moral values. This can get pretty confusing, so often authors will split one of those character to create a "dramatic triangle" to make the two kinds of conflict easier to follow. In such a case, you might have the Protagonist be the Main Character, the Antagonist fight with him (or her) over the goal and the Obstacle Character (often a "love interest") fight with him or her over moral values. Suddenly four attributes becomes three characters.
The point of all this is that you aren't limited to exploring just even numbers or things in fours, eights, sixteens, or sixty-
Actually, Dramatica goes beyond that. It sees those four external dimensions but also sees four internal ones as well: Knowledge, Thought, Ability and Desire. What the hell? Stay with me here... Knowledge is the Mass of the mind. It is "material" in the mind -
Ability is the "Space" of the mind. Say, what? Think about it. Mass exists in Space; Ability exists in Knowledge. And you can think about Mass and Space in terms of what is and what isn't just as you can think about Knowledge and Ability in terms of what you know and what you don't. It is really the relationship between what you know and what you don't that defines Ability just as the relationship between what is and what is not defines Space.
Now, Desire.... Desire as it equates to Time in the external dimensions. Time can only be measured by comparing what was to what is and what might be -
This isn't just a lot of cute loose connections between hard physics and pop psychology -
Well, then you'll love (or hate) this...
The primary equation of the Dramatica model of story from which the entire structure is built is quite simple: T/K = AD, or Thought divided by Knowledge equals Ability time Desire. What the hell? (again!) Okay... when we think in logic, we are parlaying our Thought against our Knowledge.
Example: Knowledge bends our thoughts in new trajectories because of what we know, just as Mass in Space bends energy (such as light waves) along the vectors of its gravity. "Plain English, PLEASE!" 'Kay....
It takes a lot of thought to make a little knowledge, just as a little bit of knowledge can generate an awful lot of thought. Now... isn't this interesting... That relationship between Knowledge and Thought is the same as the relationship between Mass and Energy in Einstein's equation: It takes a lot of energy to make a little mass but a little mass can generate an awful lot of energy.
What an interesting (or convenient) similarity between Dramatica and Relativity. Well, here's a little more then... If you take the equation of Dramatica -
Of course, in Einstein's version, Space and Time are combines into C2 (which is the Speed of light (Time) multiplied by the wavelength of light (Space), thereby combining Space and Time into a single C2. Why is it a constant? Because when the speed goes up the wavelength goes down so they are both on this cosmic seesaw and collectively never change their value, even when they keep rocking back and forth.
So too it is in Dramatica. Ability and Desire are blended by our minds into "Desirability" so we can think logically in Knowledge and Thought.
Think about the ramifications -
We all know that different frequencies of light have different speeds, but none of them have a speed of zero or light would have to have a wavelength equal to infinity. And in our minds, there are many emotional flavors of desire, but none are really ever at a zero-
My but haven't we drifted far afield from "The Number 64" (the title of this article). Alright, here's another co-
In fact, one Dramatica user was so intrigued that he created a whole explanation of how Dramatica's archetypes correspond to the I Ching. You can find it at http://storymind.com/dramatica/i_ching/index.htm assuming you're interested. (It's there even if you aren't interested -
Legend has it that the guy who originated the IChing got the idea from looking at the patterns on the back of a tortoise. Not surprising. If Dramatica and it's equations are based on how the mind makes patterns, then any pattern we see is not so much generated by what we observe but by our projection of a pattern upon it from those available to our minds in order to understand it as fully as we can. After all, a sprial in a teacup and a spiral in a galaxy have no similarity at all except in our own minds.
Oh, and as for the I Ching -
So Dramatica deals with the concept of a Story Mind -
Final thought for today -
Similarly, we think in threes, but one of the threes is really two things combined. Looking at others we are observing their universe from the outside and so we see their thought processes in fours, leading us to easily see the solutions to their problems but not to our own.
And lastly, the equation T/K = AD is not the only one in Dramatica. Sequentially, we go through all permutations such as A/K = TD. Now that isn't mathematically equivalent to the first equation, but it describes a particular mindset. To get the best parallax on the universe, our minds adopt one equation (mind set) after another in order to see things in all possible contexts. The benefit is that you get more "depth" on the issue, the drawback is that things are constantly changing so that by the time you go through all the mind-
It is that inaccuracy that creates the dramatic potential that winds up the Dramatica chart into a single storyform, as all the permutations of the equation are represented in one quad or another -
This whole system evolved as a survival trait, yet the devil is in the details. But hey, ain’t that life.