Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations--Part 2

I should tell you all that The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations has been reprinted, and is now easy to buy from amazon.com for under $16.00. A much better deal than I got.

And now . . . more situations:

10. Abduction. Abductor, abducted, guardian. This one can stray into some others (as numerous of the situations can) and shouldn’t be confused with #35—Recovery of a Lost Loved One, which focuses more on the one who is seeking the lost. This one seems to focus more on the one abducted. How about somebody supplying an example?

11. The Enigma. Interrogator, seeker, a problem. Can be seeking a person or thing on pain of death. Example: Turandot. Or can be about tests to understand a mental condition. Example: Seven.

12. Obtaining. Solicitor, refusing adversary; or an arbitrator and opposing parties. This presents an end to be attained, but at what cost and by what means? Can be a contest between reason and passion. Can include temptation. Examples: Screwtape Letters, Gump.

13. Enmity of Kinsmen. Malevolent kinsman, hated or reciprocally hating kinsman. The closer the bonds, the greater the thing that cuts them, and the greater the resulting hatred. Example: Kramer vs. Kramer.

14. Rivalry of Kinsmen. Preferred kinsman, rejected kinsman, the object. This situation can lead to Murderous Adultery, Adultery Threatened, or Crimes of Love. Example: Legends of the Fall.

15. Murderous Adultery. Adulterers, the betrayed. Example: Diabolique.

16. Madness. Madman, victim. Example: Psycho.

17. Fatal Imprudence. Imprudent, victim or object lost. This includes causing one’s own misfortune or dishonor through imprudence (Example: A River Runs Through It) or through curiosity (Example: the Greek myth Cupid and Psyche). Or one character’s imprudence can cause the death or misfortune of another.

18. Involuntary Crimes of Love. Lover, beloved, revealer. Focuses on the discovery of loving one’s own relative. Example: Oedipus. This one, and #19, says Polti, are the most “fantastic and improbable” situations. The situation can be put forth in one of two ways: (A) the fatal error is revealed simultaneously to the reader and character, only after it is irreparable (as in Oedipus) or (B) the reader knows the truth while the character doesn’t, and watches the character walk into the deed.

19. Slaying of Unrecognized Kinsman. Slayer, unrecognized victim. The blind premeditation is the focus and pathos of the story. Example: Anybody got one?

20. Self-Sacrificing for an ideal. Hero, ideal, creditor or thing sacrificed. Example:
Joan of Arc.

I’ll finish listing the situations tomorrow. Then we’ll look at how they’re used and mixed to create story. Anyone writing a wip based on one of these today? Or anyone have more examples for us?

Read Part 3


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm not sure where my three novels fall in place, but I am confident that they are there somewhere, but here's some info.

This is the free site expounding on George Polti's 36 dramatic situations:

Cara Putman said...

Wanda Dyson's book, ABDUCTION, is a great example of #10.

Domino said...

I read #10 and thought of a Bette Midler comedy I saw. I think Danny DeVito was her husband and refused to pay the ransom when she was abducted. Can't think of the title, but a very funny movie.

Stuart said...

I'd guess my book is a bit of 9 and 11. Possibly. :)

For 13 The Count of Monte Cristo comes to mind. Not sure if it's the right fit though.

Camy Tang said...

I was just about to say, I saw The 36 Dramatic Situations reprint in my Amazon Gold Box, but you beat me to it. :)

1 L Loyd said...

I believe the Bette Midler movie was titled RUTHLESS; and it was Danny DeVito who played her husband.

I didn't think of it for #10, but it fits in a twist.

Dineen A. Miller said...

I can see my current WIP in #12. And the one I finished in # 35. LOL! Yes, posting a day late.