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on 7 June 2005
At first i wondered whether this was a good purchase as it is far more complex, and deeper in creative writing than others that i have looked at.
What this software does is really make you think what it is you want your characters to do and what role they will have in your story, you choose who the main character is, who the impact character is. Do you know what role an impact character has? well you'll find out if you dont. Also the Protaganist, the Antagonist, the sidekick, the reason character etc, it gets you to choose from an option of over 32,000 story forms, with each choice of multiple options these will be narrowed down to just one type of storyform best suited for the story you want to tell. You get to create characters and give them a profile and give them an icon which gives you an idea of what they look like. It gets you to illustrate your story to it, and create scenes in a neat and structured way. You will put characters in a grid which tells you how each one affects the next character.
You get many examples of stories, films, and characters in them if you need examples. This software does take a while to work your way around and understand how it works, this is because it has alot to say about story writing. I would recommend this out of the others of a similar price range.
You'll find your book from within your head if you do.
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on 28 February 2008
Let's debunk a myth that seems to have circulated about Dramatica - this isn't a program that writes your story for you, but one that helps you organise your thoughts about the story you want to tell.

The problem many writers have when beginning a project is that they approach the story from an emotional perspective - focusing on the dialogue, characters and events they feel will reach their audience. We're all guilty of it, even if we don't admit to it.

Dramatica takes a dispassionate view of story, enabling the writer to create and build a firm structure onto which the flesh of storytelling can be added. Using the Story Guide facility, the writer is asked questions of their story which must be answered before progressing to the next section. This is particularly handy for those writers who forget (or even prefer to avoid) answering the questions that prove essential to good storytelling.

A major criticism of the software and Dramatica paradigm is that it comes with a steep learning curve and it is a criticism that has been acknowledged by its creators. Many of the terms used will be unfamiliar to students of other storytelling paradigms and if given a cursory glance, be off-putting. The best advice I can offer is to stay with it; study brings with it a new reward and understanding of story which will feel different to that usually experienced by writers, but one that works with precision nonetheless.

The program comes with a comprehensive package of helpful goodies such as wallcharts, online and printable theory books and even a rather engaging comic book that explores this 'new theory of story' in an entertaining manner.

The Writer's Dreamkit is a pared down version of the more heavyweight Dramatica Pro, but certainly has all the essential elements present within DP. Writer's Dreamkit represents excellent value for money and with perseverance acts as a useful workbench for the writer looking for a reliable environment in which to shape their story.
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on 1 July 2007
What can I say? This program is the worst I've ever tried. It starts off with character development which amounts to a load of checklists and you end up with a printout of what you've selected - not at all inspiring. The plot development consists of a list of plotlines from published films so you have to already know what you are looking at in each case to know whether to select that one or not. The whole thing is incohesive and awkward. I certainly would not have spent £36 on this had I known what it was like. I'd recommend you spend your money on several books instead or some software that's more stimulating than this - it is dull!
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on 3 August 2005
I cannot compare this software with any other products on the market as it is the only one I have ever used. It has been of some use to me in terms of forcing me to answer questions about the plot and characters for a draft screenplay which I have now completed. I have also used it to help me write a short story, but probably won't use it for this purpose in future as I ended up with notes that were longer than the resulting story, which still had to be written. Alot of preparation has to be done mentally before using the software, which is not terribly helpful in terms of generating ideas, as it is based on a theory involving archetypes rather than realistic characters. Also, the templates for a screenplay, novel and short story are virtually identical. Having said this it is easier to complete the task of writing a longer work if you break it down into shorter stages, and this software helps you to do that. My overall feeling is that this is a helpful tool if you want to write a screenplay, and want to write something classic rather than something quirky or original. The rather stereotypical approach is unlikely to produce a convincing novel, so if you want to write a novel or short stories, you might be better off trying something else. Exporting my notes to Microsoft Works was difficult but not impossible.
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