Improving a Revolutionary Theory of Story

Melanie Anne Phillips, co-creator of the Dramatica theory of story and our generation’s Einstein, publishes a post about her creation:

You see, the “theory” of Dramatica can’t really be proven or disproven. Either stories can be understood as a model of the mind or not. But if they can, then the applications and formulas of the theory need to be constantly questioned, amended, discarded, and added to. The advancement of practical applications and understanding of the theory is an ongoing process which will likely never be completed. After all, how much is there to learn about the mechanism of the mind?

This post looks to be about 15 years old (considering the ages related therein), which makes it all the more fascinating considering the work done here at Narrative First this past year.

The idea of a Holistic Premise. The re-discovery that the Relationship Story Throughline does not have to be between the Main and Influence Character. The series takedown of the Hegelian Dialectic.

Not to mention all the advances and new features found in Subtext. Genres and Subgenres. Storybeats. The storyform as Premise.

Active development of the theory indeed remains in progress.

The key to improving the theory is to call every suspicious formula into question, lay it out for public viewing. The theory will only “advance” into more practical use if others more skilled than “you” (self-deception) or “I” (confidence) contribute our efforts.”

James R. Hull @jhull