When you’re new to writing novels or screenplays, you believe that each of your stories is 100% unique. As you write more and become more experienced at looking at the bones of stories and screenplays, you begin to realize that there are patterns in your work.
The same applies to readers. Some patterns are easier to see than others: The hero gets the girl or The underdog becomes the hero. Other patterns are more difficult to see. But the more you read, the better you get at picking up clues as to where the story is headed. Personally, when I read, I can tell you within the first couple of chapters not only how the book will end but what obstacles will occur along the way. Sometimes the only reason I keep reading is just to see if I’m right!
So, the more experienced you become as a writer the more you acknowledge that there are only a finite number of story structures and settings. Eventually you realize that just about all of them have already been done a thousand times. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write an intriguing story.
If you’re new to writing, if you’re still figuring out those plots and those methods, then writing software like DramaticaPro may be able to help. In this DramaticaPro review we’ll take a quick look at whether this software is worth the hefty price tag and whether it can standup to other popular word processors for writers.
DramaticaPro Review: Bringing Those Stories Together
Writing a novel using DramaticaPro is similar to reading those make your own adventure books. It isn’t going to write a novel or screenplay for you, but it will help you to make sure that the bones of your story have everything needed to support the layers of intriguing detail that you weave into it.
When it comes to writing a novel, everyone needs something just a little bit different. If you’ve got something in mind for a novel or even a script and have been searching for writing software that can help bring your idea to fruition, DramaticaPro may be one of the better options. For those who don’t have the patience for basic outlining, as well as those who prefer to “wing it”, multiple choice prompting may be too restrictive.
DramaticaPro is available for Windows and Mac and is priced at just over $200. As a result, so it’s not the best option for the casual writer. For those who are spontaneous, or those who want to write a story quickly and just get it down on the page, DramaticaPro may seem needlessly complicated.
The biggest complaint users of DramaticaPro have had is that the terminology can be frustrating. DramaticaPro Version 4, however, has added a toggle switch that transforms technical terms into layman’s language and makes it easier to use and understand than previous versions.
There is a steep learning curve with DramaticaPro. But it’s not in how the software works, it’s in the theory of story writing. The co-authors have done their best to provide tutorials as well as a three-hundred-page manual. When you purchase the software you also get a tips and tricks book and about 18 hours of video to help you understand all the components and theory behind it.
DramaticaPro Review: How it Works
DramaticaPro is like a virtual writing instructor that is with you every step of the way. From the first kernel of a story idea, all the way through to the production of your rough draft, DramaticaPro walks you through step by step. The first thing the software has the writer do is to bring all the players together and get the basics of plot, theme, and characters worked out.
Once you’ve worked through the questions to set the stage, you begin to work through a three-step process that includes:
- Storyforming or Structure is the first process and deals with characters’ problems and choices. Storyforming helps you to formulate the dramatic elements of your novel. The questions you are prompted with change based on the answers you provide to previous questions.
- Story Illustrating is the second process. It involves all the layers that move the story forward such as “time vs option” formulas.
- Storyweaving is the third process and this is where you weave together the different actions and decisions of the characters.
There are over fifty questions in the short version and more than two-hundred questions for the longer version. Character development questions walk you through the physical characteristics, personality and other activities for each character. DramaticaPro forces the writer to thoroughly think through conflict. It forces them to think about the structure of the story. The intent is to ensure that every essential element is covered and there are no gaping holes.
DramaticaPro Review: The Plus Points
- Four stars from Writers Digest magazine
- Working in tandem with the software to solve plot, theme, or character issues.
- Saves time by helping you think things through so you aren’t writing stuff you’ll end up throwing away.
- Three buttons: Explain, Theory, and Usage walk you through the writing steps.
- Removes clutter
It does not have a traditional dictionary but it does define many of the DramaticaPro terms. Spell check, thesaurus or word count are also missing, so you’ll need to rely on other software for these functions. If your budget can support it and you’re a writer who could use some help with the more theoretical aspects of writing a story, DramaticaPro fits the bill.
If our DramaticaPro review turned you away from this software, whether because you prefer something more intuitive or cheaper, then be sure to checkout our other articles on writing software. Like this DramaticaPro review, we have used all of these programs ourselves. We are therefore perfectly placed to provide an honest opinion on them.
Our pick of the bunch is Scrivener, which I am able to recommend personally. You can see what we had to say about this on our Scrivener review page. You should also take a look at our Word vs Pages guide, as well as our Writers’ Workshop guide.