11.42: Elemental Drama as a Sub-Genre

Focusing on elemental drama can be tricky. Remember, elemental drama is basically “character change.” A great many stories use character change in some way—it’s almost ubiquitous. In this episode we’ll pick at the ubiquity, and look at the many different ways in which character change can be featured, and what sort of tools we have at our disposal to make this happen in our stories.


Take two scenes, each with a different conflict—a logistical one, and an emotional one—and blend them into a single scene.

Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal, narrated by the author. In two weeks, Episode 11.44 will be a Project In Depth on this book, so if you want to do the homework, now’s a good time to start.

4 thoughts on “11.42: Elemental Drama as a Sub-Genre”

  1. What part of Saving Private Ryan made you cry but did not earn it? The part where Tom Hanks dies or the 50 years hence ending?

    I’m really curious, I have a love-hate relationship with that movie myself.

  2. It was a long story, but the dog didn’t bark. Even when the weather started getting rough. But then, as the flawed foursome sat in the galley of the ship, they discovered that (Don, don, don!) vanity, pride, awesomeness, and tardiness might not be the fatal flaws they thought they were, as long as they all worked together! So they went on with their cruise! And the audience cheered!

    Meanwhile, our flawed foursome dug out some diamonds about using drama as a subgenre, and you can see them in the transcript, available in the archives and over here


    Just don’t cut yourself on the edges, okay?

  3. Talking about charachter change (great episode btw, as usual!), what do you do when you get attached to a character you created long ago and now you just can’t think of objectively? It really bothers me because I find those characters hard to kill ’cause they are necessary to the story but difficult to play with.

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