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Melanie Anne Phillips
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Co-creator of Dramatica, writer, composer. I think, therefore so what?
Co-creator of Dramatica, writer, composer. I think, therefore so what?

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Characters reflect real people in a purified or idealized state. And so, we can see in them qualities and traits that are hard to see within ourselves. One of the most difficult challenges we face every day are exemplified by characters in virtually every story – the inability to confidently understand “what is truth?”

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It's easy to fix a bad story, but how can you improve a good one?

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As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated. But what is drive, and where does it come from?

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Story structure is not an artificial construct imposed upon fiction. Rather, it is our best attempt to describe how human beings think, feel, and interact.

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Ritner Creek Covered Bridge

I grew up in California, so covered bridges were beyond my horizon. Whenever I saw them on television they seemed like an exotic throw-back to an early day. When we moved to Oregon in the late 2000's we visited several of these sterling examples of folk-architecture. This particular bridge has been (obviously) restored. In fact, from the look of it, the original may have been completely reconstructed. And as I recall, it was also moved from its original location, which makes sense because to look at the pictures you ask yourself, "What the hell is that doing here?" Nothing too spectacular about these shots, other than the subject, but on several of them I tried to impose some compositional dynamics, and in one of them I was playing with the soft shadows to try and capture the shades of darkness which ranged from pure black to brilliant white. If you like covered bridges, as I do, I suppose these are worth a look.
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11/4/18
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Only Ashes

I originally wrote this song as a poem in my teens. Later in my thirties, I decided to put it to music - one of the rare times I wrote the tune after the lyrics. It's a message song about letting go of the past. At the time, my grandparents were about the same age as I am now, so they were reminiscing quite a bit about what had been and what never was. Like any self-righteous teenager who knows everything, I penned this poem as a warning against that kind of behavior, and then, by the very posting of this song, engage in it myself. Go figger.

https://youtu.be/fGBv9ZOazLs
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"Ability" and Story Structure

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DVWRFHU

This one of my books will break your head, man. It's not about the ability to write but about how the word "ability" is actually one of the most essential elements in structure. There are four "bases" in DNA and there are four bases in story structure: Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire. These are the internal or psychological equivalents of Mass, Energy, Space, and Time, and in fact they work together much the same way, even in having a mental equivalent to E=MC2. That's why we named this part of our theory Mental Relativity. Yep. So, check out this little booklet of mine if you are into some head crunching and self-abuse, and you won't be disappointed.
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True story: I was meeting with folks from the CIA, NSA, and Joint Chiefs a few years ago. We had a long and productive talk. At the end of the meeting the chairman asked, "Does anyone else have anything they'd like to talk about?" "I'd like to talk about puppies!" I contributed. You haven't lived until you've seen a general spit out his coffee. True story.
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Archetypes: Characters, Narrative, and Mind

Here's another book I wrote on narrative psychology. I suppose it is an opening salvo to move beyond Jung and Campbell to what I feel is a more cogent theory of characters in Dramatica.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495912191
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Straight As An Arrow

This is kind of a social statement piece about doing your part (or NOT doing your part) that I wrote in the self-centered Yuppie 1980's, but I think it is even more apropos these days. Straight As An Arrow was the original title for this one, and I was thinking of social conservatives when I came up with that title. At one point I entitled it Tarnished Karma, but then I took that name for my fictional band in which I'm the only member, so Straight As An Arrow is the title once more.

https://youtu.be/4gnzIq_5dbQ
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