1. JennieRose8
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    JennieRose8 New Member

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    Dang Drama!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JennieRose8, Jul 3, 2011.

    How much is too much? So far, my MC's are dealing with quite a bit of drama in their lives (though not really over the top) and things are getting messier due to a school nemesis., My question is...how do I know if I'm overdoing it? It may not seem like too much drama to ME, but is there a certain guideline I should go by so as not to mess up the plot too much?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    Jen
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it drama for the sake of drama, or is it plot relevant? Each action that happens should lead on to the next, or an action further down the line. It's fine to have a drama pile up if the characters react genuinely to it and you handle it with sensitivity and care. If so much is happening no one in their right mind would cope with it all but your character is taking it all on the chin because you don't have time for them to have a nervous breakdown then perhaps it's time to slow it down a tad.

    In the end it's a judgement call from you, and perhaps test readers if you have some good honest friends.
     
  3. JennieRose8
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    JennieRose8 New Member

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    Hi, thanks for your reply. :) yeah, the drama is plot-relevant and leads to advancements, so I guess it's legit.
     
  4. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Another thing to consider is whether such drama is justified. The point of drama, or melodrama (I will use the two terms interchangeably, since the difference between the two is very subjective), is to emphasize certain emotions or situations, and when used correctly, helps audiences pick up on such. When used incorrectly or unnecessarily, it's just like a mass of wild screaming that gets nowhere.

    Thus, when drama comes up, are the characters justified in experiencing it, or are they just acting stupid? For instance, drama might be more expected from certain personality types, or from Western teenagers; having someone who has been stoic for most of the story break down in wailing might not work right - unless, of course, that's what you're trying to emphasize, the fact that such a person, who has held back their emotions for all this time, suddenly cannot hold it in any longer. In such a case, still, you'll have to make sure their breakdown is something justifiable and not something ridiculous.

    I recently finished an anime series that handled drama in a subtle way, making it a lot more powerful when it slowly piled up on me; however, the story suddenly turned melodramatic towards the last episodes, culminating with the characters going into fullblown wailing and screaming in the final episode before magically returning to normal (well, almost) five minutes later. It basically ruined up all the good and subtle drama (a rarity, to be honest) that had built up throughout most of the series, and it's quite a pity too, since the series did a brilliant job of characterization up until that point.

    It just goes to show that you have to be careful with drama. Know when to use it and when not to, and be very careful about whether it is justified and whether the characters should really be reacting in such a way or not.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Ever heard the saying "Put your main character in a tree, and then throw rocks at him"? In other words, when things are fine and dandy for your MC, it gets boring fast. Readers like tension to keep them going. So in this sense, drama is good.

    Make sure it's relevant in some way, though, and that your MC doesn't seem obnoxiously angsty all the time.
     
  6. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    If a character applies the term "nemesis" to school, it might already be too late. The "OMGDrama!" line may lie far behind, stepped over and forgotten.

    However, you should probably not heed my advice, as I would already decide to change genre when the drama in their lives started.

    What I mean is: If you're writing drama, I don't think there's a limit to how much drama you can add. Great novels have the characters in situations worse than any human being in history has really lived through.

    However, try to concentrate in connecting the character to the reader, as drama is a feature that separates them. If you start directly with the bad news, many people will keep a distance to the character as a subconscious way of protecting themselves.

    So, my "person who wouldn't read drama" advice is: start with the good news, add the drama progressively and don't forget about keeping the thin link between the reader and the character as the drama grows.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ever read Nana? Perfect example of TOO MUCH DRAMA!!!!

    Seriously, it was physically and mentally exhausting to read. I read for a long time since I really liked the characters, but after a while I just couldn't take it and stopped. So read that, and if you feel your story is getting close, I'd say take it down a notch. Despite that though, that's a really popular manga/comic book. So some people might disagree with me.
     

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