Dramatica (software)

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Dramatica Pro (Windows), Dramatica Story Expert (OS X)
Original author(s)Chris Huntley, Melanie Anne Phillips
Developer(s)Write Brothers, Inc.
Stable release
4.1 (Windows), 5 (OS X)
Operating systemWindows, OS X
Available inEnglish
TypeText editor, Screenwriting software
LicenseProprietary software (Shareware)

Dramatica is the name of a theory and software suite created as part of a project by Chris Huntley and Melanie Anne Phillips.[1] The term is used in the context of narratology and refers to a theory of narration and literary presentation.[2] Huntley and Phillips have taught the theory at the University of California at Los Angeles, where it was part of a twelve-week "for credit" course for several years.[3] The two also released a book entitled Dramatica – A New Theory of Story via Write Brothers Press, the publishing arm of Write Brothers, which was founded by Stephen Greenfield and Chris Huntley.[4]

There are two different versions of the Dramatica software. The first, Dramatica Pro, was released in the 1990s and supports both Windows and OS X. The second and more recently released version, Dramatica Story Expert, is OS X-only. The software guides users through the writing process by giving them a step-by-step guide that focuses on plot and theme creation as well as story structure. The software is based upon Huntley and Phillips's quad theory, which is described as "[dividing] a story unit into four pieces and [creating] relationships between those parts".[5] The four quads, which makes up the Dramatic Table of Story Elements, are the Universe (representing situations), Mind (attitudes), Physics (activities) and Psychology (manners of thinking).

The theory was originated in 1994 as a diagnostic modelling tool built around a concept called “The Story Mind", which describes each story as having a mind of its own with its psychology built by the story’s structure and its personality is determined by the storytelling.[5][6]

In later years, the ongoing development of Dramatica was split into two branches. First is ongoing exploration into using the model to understand the workings of the human mind itself – an area of research called (by the theory creators) Mental Relativity. The second area of development is the implementation of the model as a patented computer program called “The Story Engine” which can be used to analyze story structures to find holes and inconsistencies and also used to interactively suggest how to fix and fill them.


  1. ^ Dershowitz, Nachum; Nissan, Ephraim (2014-12-04). Language, Culture, Computation: Computing for the Humanities, Law, and Narratives: Essays Dedicated to Yaacov Choueka on the Occasion of His 75 Birthday. Springer. p. 384. ISBN 9783642453243.
  2. ^ Sayre, Shay; King, Associate Professor Emeritus Cynthia; King, Cynthia (2010-04-05). Entertainment and Society: Influences, Impacts, and Innovations. Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 9781135839956.
  3. ^ "Screenwriting Seminar at UCLA Extension". LA Times. April 26, 1996. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Dramatica – A New Theory of Story, online version.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, R. Colin (22 July 1996). "'Dramatica' links neuron dynamics to mind". Electronic Engineering Times. Electronic Engineering Times. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  6. ^ Davis, John K. "The Mind as a Novel Metaphor". Academic Exchange Quarterly Summer 2003 Volume 7, Issue 2. Retrieved 2016-02-24.

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