From the Intent to the Story

According to the stigmergic model every single agent can be oriented to act for the good of the system as a whole, if subjected to the correct stimuli. The social function of stories has always been to help the public to recognize certain choices that it could be called upon to make and to be able to assess their consequences and their impact in advance. In particular, if there is a story of change, it means that there is a dilemma, a choice between old and new. Not only that: if there is a happy ending, there is a success story to tell. Starting from these assumptions and from the dilemma and intent defined in the previous phase, the second step of the Art of Crowddreaming consists in teaching to write success stories of changes in such a way as to:

  1. stimulate the individual to seek his/her own personal response to the dilemma;

  2. engage enough people for the effect of change to be appreciable.

To do this, there is no need to invent anything new: it is sufficient to study how Hollywood has been building its blockbuster movies for decades. Almost all Hollywood blockbusters are stories of individual change in the face of big dilemmas. Their standard structure has four phases:

  1. The Abandonment

  2. The Research

  3. The Fight

  4. The Renunciation

The phase of the Abandonment describes the initial condition of normality of the main character and introduces the catalyst that forces him/her to abandon it. Here his/her process of change begins. In the Research phase the main character tries with every energy iota a solution to his problem or people who can help him solve it. At the end of this phase he identifies a solution that appears reasonable based on his current knowledge. In the phase of the Fight the main character tries in every way to realize the solution he has identified, but he is condemned to inevitably fail, as his evaluation derives from the old self that has not yet understood the nature of the change that involved him. This dramatic phase always ends with the moment of Crisis, in which failure appears inevitable. The crisis unequivocally demonstrates the inadequacy of its previous approach and raises awareness of the need to adopt a new perspective. In general, the main character has difficulty in noticing this new truth, which ex-post will appear obvious, because it will force him to break away from a key element of his life and identity. When the Change happened successfully, the main character sees the world with new eyes and understands the need for the Renunciation to embrace the new and a solution to his dilemma that is very different from the one that seemed correct to him in the beginning. The previous structure is perfectly suited to stories that need to function as a stimulus for individual behavior. It is very important to help the agent of change to honestly and thoroughly evaluate the choices from all possible points of view, both rational and emotional. To allow the identification of the agent all these points of view are assumed by characters of history and determine their interaction. Any character can be constructed starting from eight archetypes: Protagonist, Antagonist, Reason, Emotion, Companion (Security), Skeptic (Doubt), Protector (Consciousness) and Contagonist (Temptation). Defined the development of the story from the status quo to the desirable result and the characters that represent the different elements of evaluation that come into play for the decisions to be taken, the script of the story is built around the intersections of four narrative lines: the evolution of the context in where the story takes place, the point of view of the main character, the point of view of the character that acts as a catalyst for his change, the point of view of their relationship. Finally, the authors of the "Dramatica" theory suggest twelve questions to verify the completeness of the conceived story:

  1. What is the Main Character Resolve?

  2. What is the Main Character Growth?

  3. What is the Main Character Approach?

  4. What is the Main Character Problem-Solving Style?

  5. What is the Story Driver?

  6. What is the Story Limit?

  7. What is the Story Outcome?

  8. What is the Story Judgment?

  9. What is the Overall Story Throughline?

  10. What is the Overall Story Concern?

  11. What is the Overall Story Issue?

  12. What is the Overall Story Problem?

The elements introduced so far provide a structure that is not too complicated to create a history of change that is well structured and credible. Of course, narrative talent makes the difference in terms of capacity for involvement, but it is possible to obtain clear narratives, using the basic scheme described in this paragraph. For those who wish to learn more, we recommend reading "Dramatica: a Theory of Story".