Strong dramatic moments are key building blocks in story.
Even in an action oriented spectacle, moments of high drama engage the reader and develop the empathetic bond to the characters. In a drama genre story, the drama itself drives the narrative. No matter how you crack it, it’s dang important to understand how to effectively convey drama in the scene.
While establishing and expressing drama relies on bringing together many (if not all) of the writing fundamentals, here are two not-so-obvious considerations that will inject your dramatic moments with “high-octane, crazy blood.” <For you non-Mad Max fans, that’s a good thing!>
First and primarily, time.
Second, consequences of actions/decisions.
Technically, drama is a loaded word in the creative writing world.
It can mean different things, at different moments, to different people. After all, “dramatic” is an adjective, meaning sudden, striking, exciting, impressive, etc. And such descriptors apply to so much of writing an engaging script.
Before we go on to define drama, let’s take a look at a close, important cousin, that sometimes masquerades as drama, I speak of course, of tension.
In the writer’s guide I define tension as “heightened emotional state derived from an immediate danger or threat.” The reason why tension often gets labeled drama is revealed in the first part of the sentence–heightened emotional state.
Heightened emotional state is the core of good drama.
Think about it when was the last time you read or saw a really good dramatic scene where the characters involved were indifferent? I’m gonna guess, no time recently.
So for this article and for your future writing, consider the following definition of drama;