April 30, 2012
I am down to 8 possible storyforms, which seems like a lot, but what makes Dramatica great is that the questions you ask to find the answers are probably more useful than the actual answers. Right now I have a pretty solid understanding of the Main Character Throughline (the story from Hermann's POV) and am circling around an understanding of the Overall Story problem (basically, where's the conflict coming from from a birds-eye view, what started it and what will resolve it? What is affecting all the characters?)
Hermann becomes more appealing the deeper you go. He represents the story's desire to eliminate chaos (in cards and in life), and he just doggedly pursues that goal armed with logic, a vibrant imagination and a lack of conscience. And still in the end the Queen of Spades gets the last laugh. I wonder if you could think of the story like a hand of poker. Hmm
Here are all the other important characters:
Lisaveta- young and pretty but poor and dependent on the Countess, ignored by men for uglier women. Desires freedom in the form of a savior, fate gives her Hermann, who kills (morally?) the Countess and breaks her heart.
Countess- was young and promiscuous and desired, now goes to great lengths to surround herself with reminders of older times and maintain her fading beauty. Alleged possessor of St Germain's secret.
St Germain- according to Tomsky, 60 years ago Count St. Germain bestowed the secret on the Countess. Pushkin describes him: "You know that he represented himself as the Wandering Jew, as the discoverer of the elixir of life, of the philosopher's stone, and so forth. Some laughed at him as a charlatan; but Casanova, in his memoirs, says that he was a spy. But be that as it may, St. Germain, in spite of the mystery surrounding him, was a very fascinating person, and was much sought after in the best circles of society."
Tomsky- a prince, faro player, friend of Hermann's. His grandmother is the Countess, and he tells the story of her secret at Naroumov's card game.
Naroumov- soldier, gambler. Hermann frequents his card games (which are less like home games and more like parties) because he's basically a creepy railbird, and it's at one of those games that Tomsky tells the story of his grandmother and the secret.
I am again liking the idea that the new Hermann character is a soldier (he could even still be an engineer) who was injured on the battlefield. I think this event could be a great way to make him more likable at first, and it could be a means of showing where his motivations might come from. Also works on a thematic level.
I'm also now unsure about New Orleans as the choice of setting. Pushkin's story seems timeless and placeless, whereas choosing New Orleans seems to lock us in to having something to say about New Orleans. I think you can make it imaginative, suspenseful and creepy anywhere you set it. Some good things to start thinking about here would be where/how can you have the most visually interesting locations? Where are the coolest looking places to play cards? Where could you imagine finding the magnificent estate of the creepy old Countess?