1. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Dramatica Writing Software?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by hughesj, Jul 20, 2013.

    Hi,

    Has anyone here used the Dramatica Writing software? It is a program for planning your writing. I use it a lot for character development because it has good questions and can print a report that is easy to read and get information from while writing. One problem is that it takes a long time to get it all done and sometimes the terms used in the questions are hard to understand. It also has a very strict model for your story, but it is VERY useful I find.

    What do you think?

    :) Jason :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think such tools are made to justify extracting money from diffident aspiring writers.

    They try to convince you they provide features you can't do without, or that make your task easier. The time you waste learning them is better spent learning writing skills.
     
  3. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Interesting point, but do you think maybe it is just giving you a more automated and/or easy way to do something you're doing already?
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    All you need is Microsoft Word, or something like that. A basic writing software that can indent text for quotations, underline, bold and place things in italics. Why you need anything more is utterly beyond me.
     
  5. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Microsoft Word is a word processor. Dramatica is a story planning program. It has different ways to describe characters, settings, plot, and suchlike. When you finish you can print 'reports' that you can refer to when writing. All of this can be done by hand but Dramatica gives you an automated way to do it. It just depends on the author. I know people who don't want to write anything down and would rather just keep it in their heads. It's just personal opinion.

    As for other word processors there are novel writing specific ones like Yarny which support authors who prefer to write in 'snippets'. It lets you write everything in small snippets, then drag them into the right place when you are done. I don't like the idea of it because it isn't my writing style, but I know people who use it.

    Hope this helped :)
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The best story planning program I know of is your own brain. Trust in it and you will go far. :)

    Honestly, you don't need this sort of flashy software. All you need is your own mind and your own talent. That's my real point.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And don't over-use the italics. ;)

    There's plenty of automation in a decent word-processing program. Even too much, sometimes. People rely too much on spelling and grammar checking, for instance.

    Automation is not always a good thing, even when it functions exactly as intended. I'm also a photographer. Back when my camera was a second-hand, fully manual 35mm with no built-in meter. The optical quality of the camera was crap, but I took some of my most well-exposed, well-composed pictures ever, because I had to think about every shot.

    The more automation in subsequent cameras, the more "sloppy" shots in my collection. Yes, the automation made more of the tough shots salvageable, and fewer "fleeting opportunity" shots escaped me. But the automation did not make me a better photographer. It made me less careful, less diligent.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This conversation is a little one-sided so I am downloading the Mac trial version as we speak just to have a look before I give an opinion. A long, long time ago I was lambasted for talking about Scrivener and I think it's the best thing since Oprah sliced the proverbial loaf of bread.
     
  9. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    I guess it really comes down to what works for you. I personally like the character reports that Dramatica gives you. I like this because I find the 'query system' it used helps me create a more complex character than what I usually create. This is because I find that one of the most important parts of a story is the character/s and I'm not very good at creating them. So I use dramatica to help me.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Just so you know, the above quoted statement is the answer for 85% of the questions ever asked in this forum. ;)
     
  11. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    I completely agree with you. The only reason people ask these questions is to get other peoples perspectives and maybe try out new things for themselves. That's why I asked :)
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have 5 min left in my download. My internet is acting up. :(

    The GUI looks good from what I saw at their site. They clearly used the Mac version in their display case. Not surprising. Mac users are very suspicious of clunky looking apps. We don't tolerate that. Clunky skin, clunky within. ;)
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't get me wrong. I make heavy use of the features of Word. I use a manuscript template I created as a starting point. I have custom styles for various elements, like Unspoken dialogue. If I ever happen to encounter a publisher who actually prefers such dialogue in italics, I can change it, reversibly, for the entire document at once, or mark it all in red for manual adjustments. If I am unhappy with the name I chose for a character, I use global replace. I can switch paragraph formatting from double space to single space with leading and trailing space between them, also in under a minute.

    What I don't need is a bunch of bells and whistles that a software guy thinks are indispensable, and makes a pitch for. I'm a software guy myself, and I know there is a difference between a "good idea" and wisdom. The shelves are lined with software products tricked up with "good ideas" that actual consumers never needed, and after trying them, found useless or even annoying.

    I don't buy software (or other tools) because a new feature "sounds cool". I do so because I have a need that I cannot meet suitably another way. If I need to keep track of my characters (I don't, for the most part), I put notes in another document, or another section of the same document. Likewise if I were ever inclined to create a detailed outline. I can even tag information for an index, and later remove the index.

    I speak of Word, because it ks the tool I use - and know well. I have never, ever, felt a need for a writing tool that Word, or any other compatible word processor, doesn't provide. And Word's document format is the universal standard for electronic submission.

    The one exception is script writing, which I don't do, and have no interest in. The formatting requirements are more rigid than those of other forms of creative writing, and there are programs specifically designed for those requirements.
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    An important point to highlight is that it is the document format that is the accepted standard, not the program that originally made use of said format. These days microwave ovens are capable of exporting a .doc.

    This is the very reason I am not a fan of MS Word. Word is the epitome of a bells-N-whistles app. Now, I understand why it is. I do. It's an app that tries to cover all bases that might come up under the need to create a document. A huge portion of this is graphic, font, color, size, shape, aesthetic tweaking the user might want to use. I do make use of a lot of that when I create documents for work. Work is the only reason I even have MS Word. When I am writing, none of that comes into play so Scrivener has none of those bells. Scrivener isn't tricked up. It's stripped down. And as a Mac user, it matters to me that Scrivener loads in half a second as opposed to MS Word's near minute it takes to load, and quaalude sluggish behavior thereafter for being such a challenged behemoth of a ported app .
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think when you're talking about something like MSWord, or even Scrivener, versus Dramatica Pro, you're comparing apple and oranges.

    MSWord is a word processor. That's basically what Scrivener is, except with some very nice organizational features that make it great for writers. Dramatica, from what I've seen of it, is actually supposed to help you substantively write your story. It will try to develop the story structure and even guide the direction of your story based on questions the programs asks you and the answers you give.

    Not something that interests me, personally, but it is supposed to be involved in the actual writing process and shaping of your story, not just a word processor in which you write the story.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Correct. I'm having a skim through it right now. There's an entire area for the outlining of characters and the making of their bios, something I've never found particularly useful. But there do seem to be some interesting features as regards guiding story arcs, planning structure and other little things that catch my eye. Perhaps not for everyone, but is anything really ever? :)
     
  17. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Yes, that is what I stated in an earlier post. It is for planning and developing your story. It is not for writing the actual words of your story. I make use of the character creation parts of it. I'm sure I would use the other parts if I knew the answers for the questions in the 'Query System' but I don't.
     
  18. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Dragging this back up so we don't have multiple threads on the same subject.

    This is for you Wreybies. Have you worked with it more? What is your opinion?


    I've had it for a while now, dabbled, but now I'm starting to use it more to develop baseline conflicts between characters.
     
  19. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tried Dramatica once when it was in its infancy and didn't like it much. I like to plan stories, but not to that degree. A lot of character development (for me) comes from writing the first draft and finding out how they stand on their own feet... or fall on their faces. :)

    I do use some of the stuff Glen C. Strathy wrote about the Dramatica system to help form plots, though.
     

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