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Rule of Drama
"And once again, Probability proves itself willing to sneak into a back alley and service Drama as would a copper piece harlot."

If the potential for conflict is visible, then it will never be passed over.

Without drama and conflict, There Is No Show. A show where everyone gets along and nothing unpleasant happens will bore everyone. This is the reason for the Rule of Drama.

Does everything look conflict-free? Not so fast. Something new and unpleasant must be introduced out of the blue. This is why happy couples tend not to last (unless writers can find good conflict without breaking them up).

Raymond Chandler once described this sub-rule:
"When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand."

Essentially, when the writers run out of drama, they must invent ways to force drama into undramatic situations. When handled poorly, this leads to unusual, irrational, or highly improbable scenarios which only exist for the sake of prolonging the conflict.

To determine if a trope is a product of the Rule of Drama, ask yourself: If this trope weren't used, would this much crap even be happening?

The only place where the Rule of Drama does not apply is the Dénouement; the show is supposed to end there. But even then, you can wind up with a Sequel Hook.

Compare Acceptable Breaks from Reality (video games following what makes them fun instead of realistic).

Related to Rule of Funny in comedy. See also Anthropic Principle.


Tropes That Quickly Come To Mind For Their Roots In This Rule, But Honestly, 90% Of All Tropes Might Fit Here:


Contrived Stupidity TropesNarrative TropesPlots
Rule of CuteRule of IndexRule of Empathy
Rule of CuteLaws and FormulasRule of Empathy
Romance on the SetReality TV TropesThe Runner Up Takes It All
Rooftop ConfrontationDrama TropesRunaway Train
Rule of ScaryEmotional TorqueRule of Romantic
PlotsConflictVillains

alternative title(s): Drama; The Rule Of Drama
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